World heritage site
A World Heritage Site is a site that has been inscribed by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) on its World Heritage List. In order to qualify, it must be of outstanding universal cultural or natural value (or both). The age of a site is irrelevant.
 Current list
As of 2015, there are 1031 sites listed which includes:
- 802 cultural.
- 197 natural.
- 32 mixed.
 Inscription process
The first stage to becoming a World Heritage Site is the inscribing of the site on the prospective list held by the government. Each year, every country is eligible to propose a single site from the prospective list for consideration for inscription onto the Wold Heritage List.
This requires extensive preparatory work, as the inscription process means that a site has to demonstrate how it meets one or more of UNESCO’s ten criteria for eligibility. If a site is successful, it means that it is recognised as being of outstanding value to humanity as a whole.
 Monitoring and management of a site
Any sites listed on the World Heritage List are monitored by UNESCO to ensure their preservation. If a site is considered to be under threat, for example from neglect or wilful destruction, it can be added to the World Heritage in Danger List. This highlights the site to the international community and also means the site becomes eligible for financial support from the World Heritage Fund. It is also possible, in severe circumstances, that UNESCO can revoke World Heritage status if it has lost the qualities that made it outstanding.
Through being designated as a World Heritage Site, no additional statutory controls are afforded the site. However, the planning system gives protection, as well as other designations (listed buildings, scheduled monuments etc).
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) defines a World Heritage Site as a designated heritage asset and therefore weight should be given to its conservation and development that results in substantial harm or loss to the site should be avoided wherever possible. It may also be necessary to protect the setting of a site, for example through a buffer zone where there are restrictions on development.
Where a development is proposed that may affect a World Heritage Site, information will be required with an application to enable an assessment of impact on Outstanding Universal Value. This could include a visual impact assessment, archaeological data or historical information. It is often part of an Environmental Statement.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Conservation area.
- Conservation in the heritage cities of Venice and Liverpool.
- Designated areas.
- Edinburgh world heritage site valued at over 1 billion.
- Heritage definition.
- International heritage policy.
- Landscapes of human exploitation.
- Listed building.
- Natural resource.
- Scheduled monuments.
- Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI).
- Sites of special scientific interest SSSI.
- Special areas of conservation.
- Special protection areas.
- Stonehenge tunnel.
- Types of land.
- Urban Heritage, Development and Sustainability.
 External references
Over 500 historic places have been added to the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) in 2019 and Historic England (HE) has showcased 21 highlights.
The K2 prototype telephone box situated outside the Royal Academy in London – built as part of the 1924 competition that gave rise to the iconic design and first listed at Grade II in 1986 – has had its listing upgraded to Grade II*.
The second in a series focusses on developing the Asset Information Model (AIM).
Reflecting issues that will be encountered across the IHBC’s June 2020 Brighton School, think tank Centre for Cities argues for High Street success.
City A.M took a tour of the first apartment to be completed within the original grade II*-listed power station with designer Tim Boyd of Michaelis Boyd – which also designed the interiors for Soho House and the Groucho Club – and Battersea Power Station’s UK sales director Georgia Siri.
A conversion of a locomotive hangar into a public library is the first retrofit to win the top prize at the World Architecture Festival (WAF).
New guidance and research includes: Lightning Protection, Church Roof Replacement using Terne-coated SS, the conservation of Fibrous Plaster, and more.
The non-affiliated group aims to galvanise climate action in the heritage sector.
A ‘Methodology for Moisture Investigations in Traditional Buildings ‘ has been agreed between RICS, Historic England and the service provider PCA, a trade body, which should help raise professional standards and consumer confidence.
The Templar Hotel on Vicar Lane has been listed at Grade II by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England.
Government has announced a new Champion for Modern Methods of Construction as part of the government’s drive to make the UK the global leader in housing standards.
Planning is about so much more than the number of applications approved and the speed of processing them so the RTPI is commissioning research aimed at producing a toolkit that can demonstrate a wider range of outcomes.