The Lake District’s quest for World Heritage status took a major step forward this week when 25 of Cumbria's leading organisations formally endorsed the nomination.

Partners including the National Trust, Cumbria Tourism and Natural England agreed the documents that make the Lake District’s case for being globally important and deserving its place on the prestigious World Heritage list.

Once finalised, these will be submitted to the UK government and Historic England ahead of formal submission to UNESCO in the ‘cultural landscape’ category in early 2016.

The bid is in two parts: the nomination document defines why the Lake District deserves the international status of World Heritage inscription and the Partnership’s Plan outlines the future management, development and conservation of the Lake District not only as a National Park but now also as a prospective World Heritage Site.

The Lake District National Park Authority says getting formal endorsement from so many Cumbrian organisations is the most significant milestone for the Partnership’s bid since January 2014 when the government confirmed the Lake District’s nomination.

“Caring for the future of this unique landscape is at the heart of the National Trust’s work here in the Lake District, but we work alongside many partners. "The strength of this plan is that each partner has contributed not just their expertise, but also their commitment to nourishing this iconic landscape for the long term, both for the communities that live and work here and for those who experience it as a visitor. The future of a healthy, vibrant Lake District is in good hands.”

Mike Innerdale, assistant director of operations for the National Trust in the Lake District

“World Heritage is a huge opportunity for global recognition that will finally, and rightly, put the Lake District on the global map. It will raise its cultural profile, showcase the special relationship between farming and this stunning landscape which will continue to evolve, and create a real sense of community pride that will inspire future generations.”

Steve Ratcliffe, director of sustainable development for the Lake District National Park Authority

Communities are being asked to get involved and share the journey to World Heritage status. Hundreds of Lake District schoolchildren have already started showing their support by collectively writing the ‘world’s longest letter’ in national stationery week in April, setting out the reasons why the Lake District is special to them. When complete, the 4800 metre long letter will be displayed at Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre.

The Nomination Dossier was formally endorsed at the Partnership meeting on 11 May 2015. Both documents will now be taken to authority meeting at the Lake District National Park Authority on 20 May 2015.