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UNESCO strips Liverpool of World Heritage status over waterfront developments

UNESCO strips Liverpool of World Heritage status over waterfront developments
UNESCO has stripped Liverpool of its World Heritage Status over “irreversible loss of attributes” caused by the redevelopment of the city’s docklands and the construction of a waterfront football stadium.

At a meeting of its heritage body on Wednesday, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization concluded that Liverpool’s waterfront had been damaged by a £5.5-billion ($7.48bn) redevelopment of the city’s derelict waterfront areas and the building of a £500-million ($680mn) stadium on the site of the old Bramley-Moore Dock.

The decision was made “due to the irreversible loss of attributes conveying the outstanding universal value of the property,” UNESCO said, in a statement posted to its website.

Liverpool called the decision to remove its status as “incomprehensible,” arguing that the “World Heritage site has never been in better condition” due to the hundreds of millions invested throughout the city. 

Despite Liverpool’s protestations, UNESCO claims it had warned Liverpool in 2012 that its status was at risk of removal if it proceeded with planned waterfront developments. However, the city chose to go ahead with its building projects regardless of the risk to its World-Heritage-site title. 

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Liverpool was granted the coveted status in 2004 in recognition of its history as a trading hub during the British empire, and for its architectural landmarks. When awarding the city its title, UNESCO specifically referenced the docklands, which had played a significant role throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

The decision to delist Liverpool makes it the third city to lose its status, alongside the Elbe Valley in Dresden, following the construction of a four-lane bridge across the landscape, and the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman, after it reduced the size of its protected area by 90%.

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