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Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Oil and gas
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Buildings and development; Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure: Development of a golf resort
  • Physical resource extraction; oil and gas: Petroleum exploration license overlapping with the boundaries of the property
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2016**

February 2003: joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission; February 2013: IUCN Advisory mission 

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 26 November 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available online at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/369/documents/. The State Party also submitted a proposal for a Minor Boundary Modification, which will be examined by the Committee under item 8B of the Agenda. The State Party provides updates on the issues raised by the Committee at its 38th session as follows:

  • It is reiterated that the golf resort development proposal took full consideration of its potential adverse impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, which concluded that there will be no such impact, and this was confirmed by the High Court in Northern Ireland;
  • The land associated with the golf resort development project has been sold to a new owner, but the State Party has not received any indication on construction activities, nor received any modifications or alternatives to the existing project. Should no development work start, the consent will expire on 29 March 2017;
  • In October 2015, Rathlin Energy Limited gave notice to terminate the licence for the petroleum exploration project, which overlapped with the boundaries of the property.

The State Party is also in the process of reviewing a revised proposal for an extension to a listed building within the “Distinctive Landscape Setting” of the property, but it anticipates that any impact on OUV will be unlikely.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

It is recommended that the Committee welcome the State Party’s intentions to notify it, should the new owner of the land associated with the golf resort development submit any development proposal which may affect the OUV of the property. The State Party’s reaffirmation that the existing consent will not have any impact on the OUV of the property is noted. However it is proposed that the Committee recall that the development as was initially proposed and consented remains of concern regarding its impact. It is also recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to ensure that any new proposals submitted by the new land owner are assessed in terms of their potential impact on the OUV of the property, in accordance with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment.

It is noted that the petroleum licence has been withdrawn by the licensee, Rathlin Energy Limited, for the area that overlapped with the boundaries of the property and that no exploration work has been conducted or is proposed within the property or in its vicinity. It is acknowledged that the State Party will take the Operational Guidelines into account when granting future licences. Whilst this is welcomed, it is considered that tighter measures to prevent licences from being awarded in future for areas that overlap with the World Heritage property should be assured.

It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre and IUCN informed of progress made.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7B.102
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/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.80, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Notes the updated information regarding the planned golf resort development project that may affect the property, requests the State Party to ensure that the World Heritage Centre is informed if this development begins to be implemented, and welcomes the State Party’s intentions to notify the Committee if any new proposal is submitted;
  4. Urges the State Party to ensure that any new proposal submitted by the new land owner is assessed in terms of their potential impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property in accordance with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environment Assessment;
  5. Also notes that Rathlin Energy Limited has terminated the petroleum exploration licence, which overlapped with the boundaries of the property, and acknowledges that the State Party will apply Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines when considering future licences;
  6. Reiterates its position that oil and gas exploration or exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status, which is supported by the commitments made by industry leaders such as Shell and Total to not undertake such activities within World Heritage properties, and also requests the State Party to ensure that such activities will not be permitted to take place within World Heritage properties, and that any such activities taking place outside a World Heritage property do not result in negative impacts on its OUV;
  7. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above.
40 COM 8B.35
Examination of minor boundary modifications of natural properties already inscribed on the World Heritage List

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/16/40.COM/8B.Add and WHC/16/40.COM/INF.8B2.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.80 adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Approves the proposed minor boundary modification of Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast, United Kingdom.
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7B.102

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.80, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Notes the updated information regarding the planned golf resort development project that may affect the property, requests the State Party to ensure that the World Heritage Centre is informed if this development begins to be implemented, and welcomes the State Party’s intentions to notify the Committee if any new proposal is submitted;
  4. Urges the State Party to ensure that any new proposal submitted by the new land owner is assessed in terms of their potential impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property in accordance with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environment Assessment;
  5. Also notes that Rathlin Energy Limited has terminated the petroleum exploration licence, which overlapped with the boundaries of the property, and acknowledges that the State Party will apply Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines when considering future licences;
  6. Reiterates its position that oil and gas exploration or exploitation is incompatible with World Heritage status, which is supported by the commitments made by industry leaders such as Shell and Total to not undertake such activities within World Heritage properties, and also requests the State Party to ensure that such activities will not be permitted to take place within World Heritage properties, and that any such activities taking place outside a World Heritage property do not result in negative impacts on its OUV;
  7. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above.
Report year: 2016
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 (2015) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 40COM (2016)
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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