Bridge is world contender

Forth Rail Bridge
Forth Rail Bridge

The Forth Bridge has been presented as the UK’s latest nomination for World Heritage site status.

The Forth Bridge has been presented as the UK’s latest nomination for World Heritage site status.

If successful, the site would join New Lanark, Stonehenge, The Tower of London and the Jurassic Coast on the list of UK World Heritage sites.

Worldwide it would be among a select group that includes the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon and the Great Wall of China.

UNESCO will examine the nomination and make a final decision next year.

The iconic Forth Bridge is recognised around the world as a feat of engineering which, at over a mile and a half long, was the first major British construction to be made of steel. At its peak, it employed over 4500 construction workers.

Already a major sightseeing attraction, if the nomination were to be successful, it would create a further boost for tourism in Queensferry.

UK culture secretary Maria Miller said: “World Heritage sites attract tourists from all over the world.

“Britain has some extra-ordinary places that have yet to be recognised by UNESCO.

“If the Forth Bridge bid is successful in achieving such prestigious international recognition, then Britain will have yet another iconic place by which to attract tourists to our shores.”

MSP Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s culture secretary 
added: “The Forth Bridge is an iconic symbol of technical creativity and engineering excellence.

‘‘As one of the world’s most recognisable landmarks, the bridge not only connects communities in a practical sense but also connects those who admire its design with Scotland’s proud industrial and cultural heritage.

“The Scottish Government is proud to support the Forth Bridge bid.

‘‘I am particularly pleased that the partnership approach that has led to this point has allowed the communities in which the bridge is based to have a direct input alongside local and national bodies.
This approach is to be applauded and ensures our bid is the strongest it can possibly be.”

With the bridge set to celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2015, Network Rail has proposed to open the rail bridge to the public, with a viewing gallery and bridge walkway on the south side and a dedicated visitor centre on the north.

It is hoped the proposals will be operational by the time the nomination status is revealed.