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Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Oil and gas
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

Development of a golf resort

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2014
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2014**

February 2003: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission; February 2013: IUCN advisory mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

On 21 February 2014, the State Party submitted a progress report in response to the issues raised by the Committee at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013), which is available online at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/369/documents/.

The State Party considers that there is no threat to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property arising from the golf resort development in its vicinity, and therefore considers there to be no justification for further consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN on potential modifications and alternatives to this project. It further notes that the implementation of most of the recommendations of the 2013 advisory mission is ongoing.

The State Party also states its intention to submit a proposal for a boundary modification of the property in 2015 or 2016 to include a larger portion of the cliff top.

By letter dated 27 June 2013, the World Heritage Centre transmitted to the State Party information received from a third party regarding a petroleum exploration license that was reported to overlap with the boundaries of the property. On 25 July 2013, the State Party confirmed that a five-year petroleum exploration license was awarded on 15 February 2011, also covering the area of the property. In subsequent letters dated 15 September 2013 and 7 March 2014, the State Party noted that the license would expire on 16 February 2016, and suggested that this could be an opportunity to exclude the property from the license area. The State Party also confirmed that no exploratory works have taken place within the property to date, and that no planning applications for such work within the property have been submitted. However, an Environmental Impact Determination for a planning application for exploratory works at a distance of 10 km from the property is currently being completed.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2014

The majority of the advisory mission’s recommendations are being addressed by the State Party on an ongoing basis, which is a positive development. However, it is also noted that the State Party does not intend to consider potential modifications and alternatives to the golf resort development project. It is recalled that the Committee had already previously expressed concerns about the golf resort’s potential adverse impacts on the property’s OUV related to the scale and location of the project, and in particular to significant potential impacts on important views within the property and towards its landscape setting. These findings have been supplemented by an assessment of its potential impacts on the property commissioned by the Department of the Environment of Northern Ireland (DoENI) and expressed in a letter dated 21 February 2012 to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), acknowledging “that the nature of the proposal is such that it will have a significant landscape and visual impact on the setting of the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast World Heritage property”. In view of the above, it is recommended that the World Heritage Committee reiterate its request to the State Party to consider potential modifications to the project in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN.

The World Heritage Committee is also recommended to reiterate its established position that oil and gas exploration and exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status and to urge the State Party to ensure that no exploration activities take place within the boundaries of the property, and to exclude the property from the license area. Furthermore, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure that any exploration activities taking place outside the property have no adverse impacts on its OUV.

The State Party’s intention to submit a proposal for a boundary modification of the property in 2015 or 2016 should be taken note of, and the State Party is strongly encouraged to take any proposed future boundary changes into account when reducing the area of the petroleum exploration license, in order to avoid a potential overlap if and when boundary changes to the property are adopted by the Committee.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7B.80
Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast (United-Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) (N 369)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.28, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Notes the information provided by the State Party that the majority of the recommendations from the 2013 IUCN advisory mission are being implemented;
  4. Reiterates its request to the State Party to consider, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, potential modifications and alternatives to the golf resort development project to avoid potential adverse impacts;
  5. Expresses concern that a petroleum exploration license was awarded in February 2011, which overlaps with the property, and that the State Party did not inform the Committee as required by paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  6. Also notes the confirmation provided by the State Party that no exploratory works have taken place within the property to date, nor that any planning applications for such work within the property have been submitted, and urges the State Party to ensure that no exploration activities will take place within the boundaries of the property and that any exploration activities outside the property do not have an adverse impact on its Outstanding Universal Value;
  7. Reiterates its position that oil and gas exploration and exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status, and also urges the State Party to exclude the property from the petroleum exploration license;
  8. Takes note of the State Party’s intention to submit a proposal for a boundary modification of the property, and strongly encourages the State Party to ensure that any planned modifications of the property’s boundaries would not result in a further overlap between the petroleum exploration license and the property;
  9. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2015, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property, including on the implementation of actions outlined above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.
Draft Decision:   38 COM 7B.80

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,

2.  Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.28, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),

3.  Notes the information provided by the State Party that the majority of the recommendations from the 2013 IUCN advisory mission are being implemented;

4.  Reiterates its request to the State Party to consider, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, potential modifications and alternatives to the golf resort development project to avoid potential adverse impacts;

5.  Expresses concern that a petroleum exploration license was awarded in February 2011, which overlaps with the property, and that the State Party did not inform the Committee as required by paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

6.  Also notes the confirmation provided by the State Party that no exploratory works have taken place within the property to date, nor that any planning applications for such work within the property have been submitted, and urges the State Party to ensure that no exploration activities will take place within the boundaries of the property and that any exploration activities outside the property do not have an adverse impact on its Outstanding Universal Value;

7.  Reiterates its position that oil and gas exploration and exploitation are incompatible with World Heritage status, and alsourges the State Party to exclude the property from the petroleum exploration license;

8.  Takes note of the State Party’s intention to submit a proposal for a boundary modification of the property, and strongly encourages the State Party to ensure that any planned modifications of the property’s boundaries would not result in a further overlap between the petroleum exploration license and the property;

9.  Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property, including on the implementation of actions outlined above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.

Report year: 2014
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Date of Inscription: 1986
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2014) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 38COM (2014)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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