BRITISH Waterway leaders, council chiefs and local communities are today celebrating the news that Pontcysyllte Aqueduct has been given World Heritage Site status.
It all began in 1999 when it was put on the UK's list of potential World Heritage Sites, and culminated in Seville when UNESCO granted Thomas Telford's masterpiece equal status with the Great Barrier Reef, the Taj Mahal and the Acropolis.
Includes 11 miles of waterway
The announcement will mean a significant boost for the visitor industry in Wales, as the the status includes the 11 miles site from Chirk through to the Horseshoe Falls on the Dee at Llangollen to define this unique area.
General Manager for British Waterways Wales & Border Counties, Julie Sharman, says the award represented a fantastic opportunity to usher in a new era of prosperity for North Wales and the Marches, adding:
"Achieving this status means this wonderful leisure destination has achieved the recognition it deserves and bringing with it opportunities for increased economic prosperity to local communities."
The bid for World Heritage Site status has been led by Wrexham County Borough Council in conjunction with British Waterways and partner organisations.
Dr Dawn Roberts, economic development manager for Wrexham Council, stated that World Heritage status is a 'badge of honour' for Pontcysyllte, adding:
“We are absolutely over the moon. We have been working on this for so long and it means so much to those of us that are from this area.
“To have our aqueduct and our canal named as a World Heritage site is amazing. There is so much local pride and a lot of celebrations going on.”
A strong partnership
The nomination has seen a strong partnership develop between the bid partners Wrexham Council, British Waterways and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, supported by Denbighshire and Shropshire County Councils, Cadw, and English Heritage.
All key structures remain intact and the partners are committed to maintaining the highest standards of conservation, while ensuring the Nomination Site is managed in a way which brings tangible and sustainable benefits to local communities.
The site will be jointly managed by the partners, who will oversee its future and attract inward investment to manage the site and generate income. They will balance the needs of protection, conservation and access, with the interests of the local community. And of course attract visitors to the area as well as develop opportunities for education and learning.
Pontcysyllte is the 28th World Heritage Site in the UK.