Liverpool Removed From the UNESCO World Heritage List & Here's Why

Liverpool Was Removed From the UNESCO World Heritage List & Here’s Why

Did UNESCO just "cancel" Liverpool?

Liverpool is most popular for being the hometown of the greatest boy band in history — The Beatles. But did you know that it was also a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Emphasis on “was.”

Sadly, Liverpool was recently ejected from the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites due to urban developments that allegedly threatened the value of the city’s waterfront. Liverpool’s waterfront was a pivotal reason for its inclusion in the UNESCO list since the city is traditionally known to have been a major trading centre during the British Empire. The waterfront, along with Liverpool’s architectural landmarks, earned the city its UNESCO World Heritage status in 2004. 

liverpool unesco

Image credit: Conor Samuel

The decision for ejection was made during a World Heritage Committee meeting in China in June 2021. The committee cited the Liverpool Waters project and Everton’s New Stadium on Bramley Moore Dock as the primary reasons for Liverpool’s eviction from the list. According to the committee, these developments resulted in “irreversible loss of attributes.”

A decision like this requires a majority of the committee votes, and that’s exactly what happened: 20 votes were cast, with 13 in favour of removing Liverpool from the UNESCO World Heritage list while only five were against it. Two votes were invalid. 

Also read: Singapore’s Hawker Culture Has Been Officially Added to UNESCO’S List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

How Liverpool’s local leaders reacted to the news

Image credit: Atanas Paskalev

The city’s mayor, Joanne Anderson, was evidently unhappy with the result and is currently examining if Liverpool can appeal the decision. She also rebuked the notion of Liverpool’s cultural deterioration due to the new infrastructure. “Our World Heritage site has never been in better condition having benefited from hundreds of millions of pounds of investment across dozens of listed buildings and the public realm,” she shared with BBC. 

According to Liverpool’s Liberal Democrat leader Richard Kemp, the day they lost the UNESCO title was a day of shame for the city. They are now anticipating this loss to affect tourism and inward investment. However, they continue to fight for their rightful place among UNESCO World Heritage sites. “People come here because it’s an amazing city and, while I’m disappointed, as a city we are resilient and we will always fight back,” said Kim Johnson, the MP for Liverpool Riverside. 

Liverpool is officially the third place in history to be removed from the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It joins the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman and Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany. 

Also read: 14 Fun Things to Do in Liverpool on Your First Trip

Do you agree with the decision of the World Heritage Committee? Let us know and drop us a comment on our Facebook page!

Featured image credit: Atanas Paskalev | Unsplash

About Author

Therese Sta. Maria
Therese Sta. Maria

Therese's close friends know that if they haven’t seen her around recently, then she’s probably having an adventure with her luggage and camera in hand. Though she loves staying at home and spending lazy afternoons with friends, there are times when she has to be "away from home to feel at home," — that’s when she’s bitten by the travel bug. See her travels on Instagram @reesstamaria.


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