Forth Bridge to earn World Heritage Site status

Picture: Jane Barlow
Picture: Jane Barlow
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THE Forth Bridge is set to join international landmarks such as the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal by becoming a World Heritage Site.

The plans are set to be approved when the World Heritage Committee meets in Bonn, Germany, at the end of next month.

Picture: Kate Chandler

Picture: Kate Chandler

It has been recommended by Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) advisers, and papers for next month’s international meeting now include a draft decision to inscribe the Forth Bridge as a World Heritage Site.

The Scottish Government said it has worked with Network Rail and Historic Scotland to make the case for the rail bridge being awarded the status.

It would mean the rail bridge, which opened in 1890, would become Scotland’s sixth world heritage site after St Kilda, the Antonine Wall, the old and new towns of Edinburgh and New Lanark.

World Heritage Sites are considered to be important for future generations due to their natural or cultural significance.

Picture: Hamish Campbell

Picture: Hamish Campbell

More than 1,000 sites currently have the Unesco status, including the Acropolis in Athens, Mount Etna, the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Wall of China, the Kremlin, Vatican City and the Taj Mahal.

Scotland’s Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Together with Network Rail, Transport Scotland and the other partners in the Forth Bridges Forum, Historic Scotland has prepared a compelling nomination which presents a strong case for the bridge’s outstanding universal value.

“This is accompanied by a management plan which outlines how the bridge will be maintained in the future, together with ways in which the benefits of world heritage inscription can be maximised.

“To have the bridge inscribed as a World Heritage Site would be a tremendous accolade for the bridge itself, for the local communities it spans and for Scotland as a whole.

Spectacular view of the bridge lit up in the evening. Picture: Jacky Ghossein

Spectacular view of the bridge lit up in the evening. Picture: Jacky Ghossein

“The bridge was nominated by the UK for inscription last year - in itself that process was a celebration of our country’s incredible engineering pedigree and ingenuity. I look forward to Unesco’s final decision on the Forth Bridge bid in July.”

The 125th anniversary of the Forth Bridge was marked earlier this year in a week of celebrations.

A fly-past was staged by a replica Spitfire and an RAF Typhoon as the event was themed around the Forth Bridge Raid which happened a few months before its 50th anniversary on October 16 1939, just weeks into the start of the Second World War.

The raid was the German Luftwaffe’s first attack on Britain and the first time the RAF’s Spitfire engaged the enemy.

While the objective of the attackers was the naval vessels operating from nearby Rosyth, the battle took place above the bridge.