Decision : CONF 201 XII.36-40
Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast (United Kingdom)
XII.36 A detailed report on the site has been provided via letter and electronic mail from the Department for Culture, Media and Sports dated 11 February 2002. IUCN stated that the report noted that the management plan for the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which has the World Heritage site as its core, is now under preparation. An issue paper was prepared for public consultation by March 2002, which will be followed by a draft plan in June 2002. A final version of the plan is then to be lodged with the Department of Environment of Northern Ireland (DOENI) in November 2002. DOENI intends to publish the agreed AONB management plan in January 2003. Through the United Kingdom Observer, DOENI undertakes to keep the Bureau informed on progress on the plan.
XII.37 In early 2001, the Moyle Distric Council had offered the site for development. The State Party report noted that a number of planning applications had recently been lodged relating to the area immediately adjacent to the World Heritage site. These applications will be determined under the Northern Ireland planning process. IUCN received some reports expressing concern with threats to the integrity of the site, and more specifically on the following issues: ongoing piecemeal development/applications and poor control on development; absence of an integrated management plan; lack of a statutory development plan which recognises the unique nature of the World Heritage site; concern that the current planning system only considers each application on its own merit, but does not consider cumulative impacts.
XII.38 One of these reports noted that the bid for tender for the visitor centre is the same developer who is already undertaking development in the land adjacent to the site (conversion of a listed building to a public house), and has three other applications pending (Arts, Crafts and Cultural Centre; 60-room hotel and separate tea room). The Bureau noted that the State Party letter of 11 February stated that the decision to sell the land was again reversed by the Moyle District Council on 6 February 2002, and that the Council intended to take the lead in redeveloping the visitor facilities.
XII.39 The Bureau reiterated its concerns about piecemeal development and the absence of a clear buffer zone with special planning provisions that would prevent such development occurring. There is potential for cumulative impacts which could cause irreversible damage to the setting and environmental context of the site. The Bureau noted that the State Party report in December mentioned that the DOENI “has commenced preparation of the Northern Area Plan which will provide the statutory planning framework for development in the area up to 2016. The plan will formulate local planning policies accordingly. As an interim measure, and in advance of the planned adoption of this plan in 2003, the current policy provides for a 4-km radius around the World Heritage site within which all development proposals will be subject to particular scrutiny.”
XII.40 The Bureau expressed its concern that knowledge of the two planning processes underway may be intensifying development proposals around the site, and requested information from the State Party as to whether the AONB and normal planning processes provide sufficient protection of the area adjacent to the site. The Bureau encouraged the State Party to delineate a buffer zone as part of the Northern Area Plan and AONB management plan processes. Finally, the Bureau urged the State Party to implement the 4-km special zone during the drafting period of the Northern Area Plan, and to consider a moratorium on commercial development until such time as both the AONB management plan and the Northern Area Plan are further advanced".
Context of DecisionReport of the twenty-sixth session of the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee" class="box-span"> WHC-02/CONF.201/15
2002 Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast