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Assessor arrives23.09.05
Assessor Arrives To View Proposed World Heritage Site Areas

Members of the bid team at Wheal Coates (left to right): Nick Johnson (Head of the Historic Environment Service), Roxana Bruno (Receptionist, New County Hall), Deborah Boden (World Heritage Site Co-ordinator), Alejandro Rodríguez (Translator) and Jose Maria Garcia de Miguel (Assessor)

An assessor from the International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has been appointed by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) to inspect management proposals for the proposed Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site Bid.

Members of the bid team spent this week showing the assessor key sites included in the bid across a wide area, from Tavistock and the Tamar Valley in the East, through Bodmin Moor, Charlestown, Camborne Pool and Redruth in mid Cornwall, to Trevarno, Godolphin, Hayle and the St Just area in the West. The visit also included a helicopter tour to view the whole site from the air. Meetings with top level officials, experts, planning officers and bid supporters took place through out the week, ending with a reception at Geevor Tin Mine this evening.

The assessor, Professor José Maria García de Miguel, must then submit a report to ICOMOS by October 2005. An ICOMOS panel will then consider the report and will submits its final report and recommendation in early 2006. Professor José Maria García de Miguel holds a doctorate in mining engineering and is Professor of Petrology at the Polytechnic University of Madrid.

The purpose of the assessor's visit, as part of the overall bid process, is to:

Become familiar with all aspects of the nominated property;

Review the proposed boundaries;

Evaluate the management regime and review management effectiveness;

Review real and potential threats to the property; and

Evaluate local support for the nomination

Cornwall and West Devon supplied much of the western world's tin and copper for substantial periods over the last 4,000 years and for a time during the 18th and 19th century the area was the world's greatest producer of tin and copper. It contributed substantially to Britain's industrial revolution and influenced mining technology and industrialisation throughout the world.

Deborah Boden, World Heritage Site Co-ordinator said, "The assessor's visit was focused primarily on establishing whether the key management issues are being addressed, and whether the Site, if inscribed as World Heritage Status, will be protected and enhanced. We also needed to demonstrate the degree of survival and coherence of the mining landscape. I have been delighted by the degree of support and co-operation we have received from all involved in hosting the visit, and am very grateful to all who took part. The assessor has met over 100 people from Cornwall and West Devon in the last five days and I am sure that the enthusiasm and commitment they have all demonstrated will have impressed him. Whilst the assessor's visit is only one more step along the road to inscription as a World Heritage Site, it was important to communicate the wide body of support that the Bid enjoys, and this was achieved."

David Andrew, Assistant Environment Director for Devon County Council, said "We, and our partners, have been very pleased to contribute to this important and influential part of the inscription process. The assessor has been able to see first-hand the outstanding qualities of the areas and knows we have in place the appropriate measures to ensure their future conservation and use for education purposes as well as visitor destinations. We now look forward to next summer when we hope to hear that our bid has been successful."

Cllr Robin Pike, West Devon Borough Council's champion for the World Heritage Bid, said "This is a critical stage. If successful, the economic and environmental opportunities and benefits will be enormous. This is especially true for Tavistock which, situated at the eastern end of the bid area, is perfectly located to exploit the "gateway" role to the whole of the World Heritage Site."

The Bid has been in preparation for nearly five years due to the sheer scale of research and writing involved, and has undergone extensive public consultation including scrutiny by a wide range of subject specialists, consultants, the World Heritage Site Partnership and district and parish councils.

Expected benefits of World Heritage Site Status include: the preservation of the nominated sites, the preservation and enhancement of cultural distinctiveness and the promotion heritage-led regeneration within former mining communities.

For further information please contact Monica Field of Cornwall County Council on 01872 322257 or 07973 813647 or email: mcfield@cornwall.gov.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the World Heritage Site Bid through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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Editor's notes:

The Bid is available to view on: www.cornish-mining.org.uk

The proposed Site includes mine sites and mining landscapes where there has been an exceptional survival of the physical remains. These are largely late 18th century, 19th century and in a few instances, pre-1914 mining remains.

It does not include those widespread areas of tin streaming that survive in Cornwall and West Devon, associated with a pre-Industrial Revolution technology and therefore not considered representative of the 19th century boom years.

Ten areas have been identified as best representing the many difference facets of Cornish mining: St Just; Hayle; Camborne/Redruth; Caradon; Godolphin/Tregonning; Wendron; St Agnes; St Day/Gwennap; Luxulyan valley and Charlestown; the Tamar Valley and Tavistock.

Nominations for inscription on the World Heritage List are made by the appropriate States Parties. And are subject to rigorous evaluation by expert advisers to the World Heritage Committee, International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) for cultural sites and/or the World Conservation Union (IUCN) for natural sites. Decisions on the selection of new World Heritage Sites are taken by the World Heritage Committee at its annual summer meetings. There are currently 788 World Heritage Sites in 164 countries. Some 611 are cultural sites, 154 are natural and 23 are mixed.

Inclusion in the World Heritage List is essentially honorific and leaves the existing rights and obligations of owners, occupiers and planning authorities unaffected.

A prerequisite for World Heritage Site status is, nevertheless, the existence of effective legal protection and the establishment or firm prospect of management plans agreed with site owners to ensure each site's conservation and presentation.

The UK's World Heritage Sites are currently:

Cultural
Ironbridge Gorge
Stonehenge, Avebury & Associated Sites
Durham Castle & Cathedral
Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey
Castles & Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynned
Blenheim Palace
City of Bath
Hadrian's Wall
Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey & St Margaret's Church
Tower of London
Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey & St Martin's Church
Old and New Towns of Edinburgh
Maritime Greenwich
Heart of Neolithic Orkney
The Historic Town of St George & Related Fortifications, Bermuda
Blaenavon Industrial Landscape
Derwent Valley Mills
Saltaire
New Lanark
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City

Natural
Giant's Causeway
St Kilda
Henderson Island
Gough and Inaccessible Islands
Dorset and East Devon Coast

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk