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Managing World Heritage Sites in Wales

World Heritage Sites are recognised as places of Outstanding Universal Value, as set out in the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Each World Heritage Site has a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, which explains why the site has been inscribed. This statement should serve as the foundation for all management decisions.

Our approach to the protection and sustainable management of our World Heritage Sites is based on three principles:

1. The designation of specific historic assets — scheduled monuments, listed buildings, registered historic parks and gardens, and conservation areas — within World Heritage Sites, together with the processes  to manage and control works to them.

2. The collaborative creation and implementation of World Heritage Site management plans which involves all key stakeholders.

3. The use of the spatial planning system to guide appropriate development.

Local planning authorities in particular have a key role to play in managing change. Although no additional statutory controls result from World Heritage designation, if appropriate, local planning authorities should include local policies for the protection and sustainable use of a World Heritage Site in the local development plan. These policies should apply both to the site itself and to its setting, including any buffer zone or equivalent.

Change is inevitable, but it needs to be managed carefully. This does not mean that change is prevented; simply, that it is managed to allow the sustainable use of the landscape, while retaining what is important from the past and protecting the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site.

Managing Change in World Heritage Sites in Wales sets out general principles for understanding and managing World Heritage Sites in Wales, including how they are protected through the planning system. It also includes a glossary to explain World Heritage Site terms such as buffer zone, authenticity and integrity. This best-practice guidance is aimed primarily at decision makers, including local authorities, statutory undertakers and prospective developers, to raise the profile of World Heritage Sites in Wales and to help them manage change without adverse impact on their Outstanding Universal Value. Managers and stakeholders of World Heritage Sites may also find it useful to inform management plans, alongside UNESCO’s Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

Managing Change in World Heritage Sites in Wales supplements the relevant sections of Planning Policy Wales and Technical Advice Note 24: The Historic Environment.

Setting of Historic Assets in Wales explains what setting is, how it contributes to the significance of a historic asset and why it is important. It also outlines the principles used to assess the potential impact of development or land management proposals within the settings of World Heritage Sites, ancient monuments (scheduled and unscheduled), listed buildings, registered historic parks and gardens, and conservation areas.