1. ITV Report

Jodrell Bank observatory bids for Unesco status as a World Heritage Site

  • Video report by ITV News North of England Correspondent Damon Green

Jodrell Bank Observatory is bidding to stand alongside Stonehenge and the the Taj Mahal on the international heritage stage.

The University of Manchester's site in Cheshire, has been selected as the next UK candidate to go forward for nomination to Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) as a World Heritage Site.

The World Heritage program is Unesco's most well-known project, but the organisation was rocked on Thursday as the US announced its intention to withdraw from the agency due to perceived anti-Israel bias.

The US stopped funding Unesco in 2011 after it voted to include Palestine as one of its 195 member states, and said on Thursday it would withdraw totally on December 31, 2018 and seek "permanent observer" status.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel plans to follow suit.

  • Observatory home to 'an icon for science and engineering'

The observatory is home to the famous 60-year-old Lovell Telescope, which was the world's largest steerable telescope, when it was completed in 1957.

Sir Bernard Lovell led the team that built the telescope, which tracked the flight of the first-ever artificial satellite, the Soviet Union's Sputnik 1.

Professor Teresa Anderson, director of Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, said: "The Lovell Telescope in particular has become an icon for science and engineering."

"We look forward to showcasing the rich scientific heritage of this and the wider site on an international stage."

Professor Bernard Lovell (r) and engineer HC Husband who designed and built the telescope. Credit: PA

What is a World Heritage Site?

A site with World Heritage status is listed by Unesco as a place with cultural or physical significance considered to be of "Outstanding Universal Value".

Stonehenge's prehistoric stone circle became a World Heritage Site in 1986. Credit: PA

Stonehenge in Wiltshire was awarded World Heritage status in 1986 in recognition of its unrivalled "design and unique engineering" in prehistoric times.

It shares the prestigious status with a number of UK sites, including:

  • The Lake District

The Lake District secured World Heritage status in 2017 after its third attempt for the national park to be recognised.

Lord Clark of Windermere, who led the bid, described the decision as "momentous".

Lake Buttermere in the Lake District in Cumbria Credit: PA
  • Scotland's Forth Bridge

Scotland's striking red Forth Bridge joined Unesco's list in 2015. Completed in 1890 it was deemed a "masterpiece of creative genius".

The Forth railway bridge in Scotland. Credit: PA
  • Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey

The Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including St Margaret’s Church, joined the likes of the Grand Canyon and Machu Picchu on the World Heritage List in 1987.

The Palace of Westminster lies next to the River Thames in London. Credit: PA
  • The city of Bath

Bath's neo-classical buildings and Roman baths are renowned and so is its picturesque landscape.

The city is famed for its Roman baths and thermal spa. Credit: PA
  • Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire was designed by John Vanbrugh and has been recognised for its design and architecture.

Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. Credit: PA
  • Royal Botanic Gardens

The landscape gardens in Kew, London, were created in 1759 and are home to extensive botanic collections.

It joined the list in 2003 after being recognised for its role as "a national botanic garden and centre of plant research".

A view of Palm House at The Royal Botanic Gardens. Credit: PA

Other UK sites on the list include:

  • St Kilda, Outer Hebrides
  • Gorham's Cave Complex, Gibraltar
  • Ironbridge Gorge
  • Maritime Greenwich
  • Liverpool's Maritime Mercantile City