International delegates will visit the Black Country next week on a fact finding mission about the region’s bid to become a UNESCO Global Geopark.
Earlier this year, the four Black Country authorities (Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils) submitted an application to become part of the UNESCO Global Geopark network.
A Global Geopark is an area of international significance that protects and promotes the geological and related industrial and cultural heritage for everyone to enjoy now and in the future.
There are many world-class features in the Black Country and the Geopark would link many different heritage sites and features across the area to tell the story of the landscape. In the case of the Black Country, the significant part it played in the industrial revolution is at the heart of the bid and the proposed Global Geopark.
UNESCO delegates from China and Finland will be flying in to Birmingham next week to spend time with the Black Country Geopark team visiting key sites across the region to assess our application and feedback to the international committee.
They will be carrying out an evaluation mission to find out more about the area’s internationally important geology and will visit sites including Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve in Dudley, Barr Beacon in Walsall, the geopark exhibition at the Bilston Craft Gallery and Galton Valley in Sandwell.
Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, cabinet member for planning and economic development, said:
"Next week is a big week for the Black Country as we showcase the many areas and features that we believe make the region a perfect example of what it is to be a Global Geopark.
"We are incredibly excited to take the UNESCO delegates on a whistle stop tour of some of the area’s highlights and we remain positive about the potential of our application.
"If we gain this international recognition, it would a great boost to the local visitor economy and something that would well and truly put the Black Country on the international map.”
This evaluation mission is the final step in the UNESCO scrutiny process. A decision about the application will be made early next year.
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Vikki Marshall, 01384 818332, email@example.com