WORLD HERITAGE PLEA FOR ARBROATH ABBEY.
FOUNDATION OF DEMOCRACY SHOULD BE RECOGNISED
FEARS UK REFORMS WILL BLOCK WORLD ENTRY
Calls for Arbroath Abbey to be given World Heritage Status are set to be stepped up amid concerns that reform of UK Government procedures could block the bid.
SNP MP Mike Weir will later this week make the plea at the SNP’s spring conference which coincides with UNESCO World Heritage Day (18th April) as it recognises Scotland’s central place in World Heritage.
Sites already recognised in Scotland include St Kilda, the City of Edinburgh, the Antonine Wall, Neolithic Orkney and New Lanark.
Mr Weir believes Arbroath Abbey should receive World Heritage Status for its role in the Declaration of Arbroath – internationally recognised as one of the foundation stones of modern democracies and constitutional politics.
However, a controversial consultation process by the UK Government could result in no further UK sites being put forward for World Heritage status.
Mr Weir, the MP for Angus, said:
“Scotland’s role in world history is acknowledged in the recognition of sites covering the Neolithic, Roman, Enlightenment and Industrial eras. Arbroath Abbey would be a valuable addition to that list.
”There has been an all-party community campaign pushing for the granting of this status and obviously we all have grave concerns about the implications of the UK Government’s review.
“The Declaration of Arbroath has a special place in the heart of Scottish nationalists but it is also internationally recognised as one of the foundations of the American Declaration of Independence.
“Only this week the anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath has seen America celebrating Tartan Day as part of a now week long celebration of Scottish heritage and culture.
“The influence of the events that took place at Arbroath on 6th April 1320 and the words of that declaration is a global one. Democracies around the world can find their founding principles in the Declaration of Arbroath.
“In this year of Homecoming it is only right that Arbroath Abbey has the opportunity to win full international recognition as a World Heritage site.
“It is unacceptable that changes to UK Government procedures could mean Arbroath is denied the opportunity to apply for this status.
“This review could mean that no more UK based sites are put forward for World Heritage status or that significantly fewer UK applications are made. For Arbroath to miss out would leave what is a major site in world history without the international protection and recognition it so richly deserves and would only highlight the need for Scotland to be an independent member of UNESCO.”