World Heritage list to be announced soon

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ARBROATH Abbey will have to wait just another two months before finding out if it has made the tentative list of UK sites bidding for World Heritage status.

The Abbey is one of 38 sites hoping to be picked as contenders when the list is announced by the Department for Culture, Sport and Media at the end of March.

One of the sites on the tentative list will then be chosen to be promoted as a UK World Heritage Site in 2012.

The independent panel of nine experts that will decide if Arbroath Abbey will make the final cut have already met once at the end of November, and will meet on a further two occasions to discuss the sites bidding to be on the list.

This includes a meeting on Monday when they will discuss the bids individually before another meeting on February 17, where they will agree which sites should be chosen.

A report will then be submitted to ministers detailing which sites they recommend should be on the tentative list before it is announced and sent off to UNESCO by the end of March.

In July last year, the Arbroath Abbey World Heritage Campaign announced their bid to be on the tentative list had been submitted.

And now a timetable showing when the tentative list will be published has been released, vice-chairman and treasurer of the campaign Harry Ritchie says he is happy they won’t have to wait much longer to find out if the Abbey makes it.

He told the Herald: “I was delighted to see that we now have an idea of the timings of when the tentative list will be announced.

“Before it was up in the air somewhat as we only knew it could be sometime in 2011 it would be announced.

“But now I am quite pleased to see some dates mentioned so we know exactly when we can expect to hear if the Abbey will be on the list.”

But as the independent panel who will decide on the Abbey’s fate are still in discussions, all the campaign group can do is wait until March to see if their hard work has paid off.

Mr Ritchie added: “Since submitting all the papers to be on the list, there hasn’t really much else we can do. “Now it is just a case of playing a waiting game until we find out more at the end of March.”