A new raft of cultural and natural heritage sites are being backed by the Government to become UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Five new sites from across the UK and Overseas Territories have been added to the Tentative List, which is published around every ten years by the UK Government and brings the total list to seven.
The list contains sites which the Government believes have the best chance of succeeding in gaining World Heritage Status. It will now work with local authorities and devolved administrations to develop their bids.
Cultural sites on the list include York and its civic and religious buildings and Birkenhead Park, which opened in 1847 as a part of a plan to bring greenery to urban areas.
The Zenith of Iron Age Shetland, a collection of three ancient settlements dating back thousands of years, and the Little Cayman Marine Parks and Protected Areas in the Cayman Islands, have been put forward for their exceptional importance to marine biodiversity and natural beauty.
The East Atlantic Flyway, a migratory bird route over western parts of Europe including Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent,has also been put forward for its importance to bird populations and wildlife.
If successful, the seven sites would join the 33 other World Heritage Sites already based in the UK which include Stonehenge and Hadrian’s Wall.
Two sites which submitted their full nominations to UNESCO earlier this year also remain on the Government’s Tentative List. One is The Flow Country, a large area of peatland across Caithness and Sutherland in the north of Scotland, and the Gracehill Moravian Church Settlement in Northern Ireland.
Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said the sites will be given “full backing so they can benefit from the international recognition it can bring.”
Laura Davies, HM Ambassador to UNESCO, said the sites “brilliantly reflect the diversity and beauty of the UK and its Overseas Territories’ natural and cultural heritage, and I look forward to working with them towards World Heritage listing.