Unesco awards Lake District World Heritage site status – BBC News

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Image caption About 18 million people visit the Lake District each year

The Lake District has joined the likes of the Grand Canyon, the Taj Mahal and Machu Picchu by being awarded Unesco World Heritage status.

The national park was one of 33 sites around the world to be discussed by the Unesco committee in Krakow, Poland.

The committee praised the area’s beauty, farming and the inspiration it had provided to artists and writers.

It is the 31st place in the UK and overseas territories to be put on the Unesco World Heritage List.

The committee suggested the impact of tourism be monitored and requested improvements in conservation efforts.

The delegates heard the 885 sq-mile (2,292 sq km) Lake District had been trying to obtain the Unesco status since 1986.

Lord Clark of Windermere, chairman of the Lake District National Park Partnership which put together the bid, described the decision as “momentous”.

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Image caption Windermere is England’s largest natural lake

“A great many people have come together to make this happen and we believe the decision will have long and lasting benefits for the spectacular Lake District landscape, the visitors we welcome every year and for the people who call the National Park their home,” he added.

Steve Ratcliffe, director of sustainable development at the Lake District National Park, said the application had been a “long time in the making” and he was “incredibly proud” of the landscape which has been shaped by nature, farming and industry.

He told the committee: “The Lake District now becomes an international and global property and we look forward to working with you and our communities to make sure this site inspires future generations around the world.”

Image caption Steve Ratcliffe said it “has taken millennia to become the evolving masterpiece it is today”

About 18 million people visit the Lake District each year, spending a total of 1.2bn and providing about 18,000 jobs.

It is home to England’s largest natural lake – Windermere – and highest mountain – Scafell Pike.

Image caption The Lake District has inspired artists and writers

Nigel Wilkinson, managing director of Windermere Lake Cruises, said he was hopeful the Unesco status would put the Lakes on an international level.

“What we really hope is it will act as an economic driver and will grow the value, not the volume, of tourism by giving people more… reasons to make day visits and sustained visits.”

Harriet Fraser, a writer and patron of Friends of the Lake District, said: “It’s the most beautiful district but it has a very deep culture which is largely hill farming but also conservation.”

Other UK Unesco sites include Stonehenge, Durham Castle and Cathedral, and the city of Bath.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-40547691

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