Ask David Dickinson, flood the market with too much of something and – like all those Jubilee coins and collectible limited edition Franklyn mint cat plates, the bottom drops out of the market.

But what of World Heritage Sites? Does their ever increasing number signify and devaluation in their currency?

UNESCO’s latest list, submitted by the World Heritage Centre (WHC), based in the vast UNESCO building behind the École Militaire in Paris – adds a further 26 sites to their club this year.

The list was set up in 1972 and, in the first six years only 12 sites were added.

What’s happening? Are more world heritage sites being discovered? Is the bar to entry lower? Are sites getting chucked off, to be replaced by new ones? Are they working harder in developing nations (which have been shockingly under represented – because they simply don’t have the funds to preserve and protect them, in many cases).

The number of sites on the World Heritage list is approaching 1,000, with most of the sites located in Europe and North America, while the number of sites in developing countries remains small.

We have no answers. All we know it that this year’s list contains coal slag heaps in France.

Europe’s largest spoil tips, now on a par with the Taj Mahal, the Great Barrier Reef, Mont-Saint-Michel and Liverpool’s Maritime Mercantile City, cover 1200,000 hectares of mining-scarred landscape, dominated by the towering “Twins of Loos-en-Gohell.

So, even if Liverpool does lose its listing, don’t worry, we’re optimistic that, next year, the scrap-metal mountains of Wallasey’s East Float docks will make the grade.

4 Responses to “Seriously, UNESCO, you’re kidding, right?”

  1. You imply that it’s absurd that the spoil tips (it’s not technically ‘slag’, I don’t think, but could be wrong) should be recognised? By UNESCO or by anyone else. The livelihood of this region of France was inseparable from mining, and the process produced something of strange, immense beauty.

  2. Far be it from me to accuse UNESCO of living in the past but the main picture of the Pier Head on their website seems to be at least 10 years out of date.

  3. T Sheridan

    To be honest, the point of World Heritage Sites is not just to mark them out as places to visit but also to afford them some protection from development, and I don’t really see the problem in having loads of them. Better to preserve everything that deserves it, surely? And that’s why Liverpool is at risk, because UNESCO feel planned developments may irrevocably change our World Heritage Site.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.