The International Advice team at English Heritage is the UK Government’s principal advisor on the application and implementation of the 1972 World Heritage Convention and works with Cadw, Historic Scotland and DOE Northern Ireland to identify, promote, protect, preserve and sustainably manage World Heritage Sites.
Protection of World Heritage Sites in England manifests the UK’s international obligations under the 1972 World Heritage Convention which the UK ratified in 1984.
Guidance on the Convention is produced by UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre in collaboration with its advisory bodies IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature), ICOMOS (International Committee on Monuments and Sites) and ICCROM (International Centre for the Study and Restoration of Cultural Property).
The advisory bodies also produce guidance and develop policy on certain aspects of cultural heritage protection such as authenticity, integrity or on particular topics such as canals.
By signing up to the World Heritage Convention the UK government promised to promote, interpret and protect World Heritage Sites and their Outstanding Universal Value and to transmit them onto future generations. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport is the lead government department on World Heritage and works closely with UNESCO, with other parts of the UK government and with the Devolved Administrations.
In the UK, World Heritage Sites are protected by individual designations and through the spatial planning system. Each World Heritage Site has its own regularly updated Management Plan.
There are currently (January 2010) 28 World Heritage Sites in the UK, 18 of which are located entirely or in part in England.Further details of the UK’s World Heritage Sites can be found on the DCMS World Heritage Portal.
English Heritage is responsible for managing parts of eight World Heritage Sites (Hadrian’s Wall, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, Ironbridge, Canterbury, Westminster Jewel Tower, Ranger’s House at Maritime Greenwich, Portland Castle in the Jurassic Coast and Stonehenge).
English Heritage, in collaboration with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Communities (DCMS) and local government has developed guidance on the protection of World Heritage Sites which accompanies circular 07/09 Circular on the Protection of World Heritage Sites in England.