UN threatens to put Tower of London on danger list

Unesco is threatening to place the Tower of London on its list of endangered World Heritage Sites because of the number of skyscrapers being planned for the surrounding area.

The fortress, which William the Conqueror started building in 1078 to dominate London, would be the only building in the developed world on the endangered list.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has got until the end of the month to demonstrate to the UN agency's World Heritage Committee why the Tower of London should not be included on the list. It is expected to say that the correct planning procedures were followed for the proposed developments.

These include the 306-metre-high "Shard of Glass" tower planned for London Bridge, which will be Britain's tallest building. Although plans for a second tower, the 200-metre Minerva building, have been scaled down, two other proposed buildings, a 324-metre high Bishopsgate tower and a 209-metre building at 20 Fenchurch Street, have also raised alarm at Unesco.

The World Heritage Committee said last year that it noted "with great concern" the proposed developments which failed to respect the significance of the site and "deeply regretted" that the Government had not yet examined the impact of such developments on the Tower. It also suggested that the developments would have a wider impact, affecting other World Heritage Sites, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

A joint team from the World Heritage Centre and the independent International Council on Monuments and Sites subsequently visited the site. The Government has been asked to respond to the criticisms by the end of this month, and give a timetable for "corrective action".

A culture department spokesman has admitted it would not be possible to "row back" on permission for the Shard of Glass. He stressed that permission for the development was granted after a public inquiry which considered the environmental impact, adding: "Our response to these criticisms will be that our planning controls are among the most sophisticated in the world. As a result we are pretty confident we will not be placed on the danger list."

Unesco will make a final decision in June.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it