Lake District UNESCO bid

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What is a World Heritage Site and who is UNESCO?

A World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as of special cultural or physical significance. The official term is World Heritage Inscription and would mean the Lake District will appear on the list of World Heritage Sites.

You can find out more about UNESCO and the World Heritage on the Partnership pages of the Lake District National Park website.

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Who is behind the bid?

The Lake District National Park Partnership is working on the nomination to the UK Government and UNESCO, and a wider group of organisations are supporting the bid. Find out more about supporters of the World Heritage bid.

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How is it being funded?

The Lake District National Park Partnership members, along with a range of organisations and private businesses have provided financial and in-kind contributions. These include:

  • Eden District Council
  • English Heritage
  • Forestry Commission
  • Friends of the Lake District
  • Lake District National Park Authority
  • National Trust
  • Natural England
  • North West Regional Development Agency
  • United Utilities.

In addition, a considerable amount of specialist support has been offered by almost every significant cultural and heritage organisation in Cumbria.

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When do we submit the bid?

The bid will be submitted in draft format to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and English Heritage for checking in May 2015, with a final application submitted in February 2016. Further dates are listed on the Timeline.

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When will we hear if we’ve been awarded inscription?

We expect to hear in July 2017.

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What if we are unsuccessful?

We'll obviously be disappointed as we are in a period when government funding for conservation is becoming more restricted; so an area that has World Heritage status would be in a better position to argue its case. Without World Heritage Site inscription, the Lake District will remain well protected and promoted by its national park status and, regardless of outcome, we believe the nomination process and community engagement activity alone will have long lasting benefits.

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What area is covered by the bid?

It is the Lake District National Park as defined by the 1951 boundary.

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Has the Lake District bid for World Heritage status previously?

Our bids in 1986 and 1989 were deferred because the Lake District did not easily fit into the categories of World Heritage sites that existed then. In 1993 UNESCO introduced 'Cultural Landscape' as a World Heritage Site category. This was in direct response to the Lake District’s previous nominations.

In the 1980s one of the principal questions raised by UNESCO was about Cumbria's ability to deliver a World Heritage Site Management Plan. This was remedied through the establishment of the Lake District National Park Partnership in 2006 - a unified approach to managing the Lake District and production of the Partnership's Plan.  

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Will it bring more tourists and over-crowding?

Being ranked alongside the Grand Canyon and the Taj Mahal is likely to make a wider audience aware of the Lake District's cultural landscape. But bringing additional visitors to Cumbria through World Heritage status is not a specific aim. It is more probable that World Heritage inscription will be useful in attracting higher spending, longer staying national and international tourists who respect the landscape and explore Cumbria more.

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Will World Heritage status mean more planning restrictions?

World Heritage Sites in the UK are protected by planning regulations which are actually less stringent than those of a national park. We are therefore confident that existing planning regulations will protect the Lake District. 

World Heritage Sites currently attract a very small number of restrictions to permitted development rights that do not already apply in national parks. These additional restrictions are confined to domestic developments of:

  • solar PV or solar thermal equipment (solar panels)
  • stand-alone solar systems
  • the flue of biomass heating systems
  • the flue of combined heat and power systems.

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What are the social media posts on the Your Story home page? 

We are using content curation software to pull social media posts through to the Your Story newsfeed on the home page. We follow a range of publicly available accounts and hashtag subjects, such as #lakedistrictbid, from open social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and Vine. This content is then curated, or ‘moderated’, by the World Heritage bid communications team, on a regular basis according to relevance and interest.

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Are the posts from people who support the World Heritage campaign?

The posts on the Your Story page are not from declared supporters of the bid, but the content does demonstrate the diversity of the identity, inspiration and conservation of the Lake District and this reinforces why we believe it is worthy of UNESCO World Heritage status.

We'd like communities, visitors, and residents to join the campaign and help us spread the message. We want people to get involved, show their support and raise awareness of the bid. One of the main ways they can do this is by using social media, the content will then be shared here.

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I’d prefer to keep my posts private, please can you remove them?

We value all the social media posts that help us promote the Lake District and its special qualities as part of the World Heritage bid. Your recognition and reward will come from helping the campaign’s success and potentially gaining new friends and followers who share the same interests as you.

If you do not wish to have your posts shared by please use the contact us form and we will remove your content. However, as your content is publicly available we cannot guarantee that your content will not be used by other curation platforms.

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How can I get involved?

There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the journey to World Heritage status. Take a look at our Get Involved page for ideas.

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Back the bid...

Don't forget to show your support and back the bid for World Heritage status by adding your vote: