Liverpool waterfront is ranked with the Taj Mahal

LIVERPOOL'S WATERFRONT, the New Forest and parts of the Paddington to Bristol railway line are among 25 places in the UK nominated today for World Heritage Status.

If they join the United Nations list, the sites will rank alongside such places as the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon and the Taj Mahal.

Chris Smith, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, announced the final list of British nominations, which will be considered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) over the next five to 10 years.

Two of the 25 sites will be formally nominated this year - the Blaenavon Industrial landscape in South Wales, and the town of St George in Bermuda. The Dorset and East Devon Coast and New Lanark, south Lanarkshire, will be nominated in 2000.

Mr Smith said last August that Britain's industrial, cultural and scientific influence on the world was inadequately represented, and it is hoped that the final list of proposals will rectify that gap. The Cornish Mining Industry, the Forth Rail Bridge and the Chatham Naval Base in Kent are also on the list.

The World Heritage Convention was adopted by Unesco in 1972, and has been ratified by 147 states.

The first UK list was submitted in 1986 and there are now 17 British sites accorded heritage status, including Stonehenge, the City of Bath, Durham Cathedral and Castle, and Hadrian's Wall.

World Heritage status means the Government is answerable to the international community for ensuring that the sites are maintained to high standards.

Maria Glot, the publicity officer for the 19th-century village of Saltaire, near Bradford, which is also on the list, said she was delighted. "We have worked so hard for this and it is really deserved," she said.

Saltaire, on the banks of the River Aire and distinguished by cobbled streets, almshouses and period-piece public buildings, was established by the mill owner Sir Titus Salt in 1853. It receives nearly a million visitors a year.

But a spokesman for British Waterways, which had hoped that the 200-year- old canal system would be nominated, said it was disappointed by the decision: "Half the population of Britain lives within five miles of our historic canal network and, of all heritage structures, few have had - or continue to have - such a huge impact in shaping a country's landscapes and communities.

"We hope it is only a matter of time before Britain's canals are given the international recognition they deserve."

Mr Smith said that places which had not made the final list may be nominated when the list was up for review in five years' time.

Britain's Nominations for World Heritage Status

ENGLAND

Chatham Naval Base, Kent

Best-preserved of Britain's 18th-century dockyards.

Cornish mining industry

The birthplace of modern deep-mining techniques.

Darwin's home and workplace

Down House and environs near Downe village, Kent.

Derwent Valley, Derbyshire

An important centre during the industrial revolution.

Dorset and east Devon coast

A sequence of sedimentary rocks formed over 180 million years.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

The world's most famous centre for botany.

Lake District, Cumbria

Spectacular landscape of hills, valleys and lakes, with strong literary associations.

Liverpool commercial centre and waterfront

The greatest European port of the 19th century.

Ancoats, Castlefield and Worsley (Manchester and Salford)

The Bridgewater Canal in 1765 and the Liverpool to Manchester Railway in 1830.

Monkwearmouth and Jarrow monastic sites

Two monasteries in the North-east both built in the 7th century.

New Forest, Hampshire

A beautiful cultural landscape.

Paddington/Bristol Railway (selected parts)

Built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the 1840s.

Saltaire, West Yorkshire

Mill and associated settlement buildings.

Shakespeare's Stratford

Now home to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Swan Theatre.

The Wash and north Norfolk coast

This large expanse of water is known for its bird life and unique flora.

SCOTLAND

The Cairngorms, the Highlands

Home to the UK's only herd of free ranging reindeer.

The Flow Country

In Caithness. The largest "blanket bog" in Europe.

Forth Rail Bridge, City of Edinburgh and Fife

Completed in 1890, over the Firth of Forth.

New Lanark, South Lanarkshire

A 19th-century village and factory.

WALES

Blaenavon industrial landscape, Torfaen

The 18th-century ironworks is excellently preserved.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Wrexham

Built by Thomas Telford in 1805.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Mount Stewart, County Down

Home of the 19th-century statesman Lord Castlereagh.

OVERSEAS

Aguilla, Fountain Cavern, West Indies

A rare site with classic wall carvings.

Town of St George, Bermuda

The first English planned town outside Europe.

Gibraltar fortress

One of the great fortresses of the world.

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