Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

House of Lords written question – answered on 20th October 2014.

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Photo of Lord Patten Lord Patten Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the role of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, as a World Heritage Site.

Photo of Lord de Mauley Lord de Mauley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government has reviewed the status of the World Heritage Site as part of its responsibilities since the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (“Kew”) was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Sites on the World Heritage List are of outstanding universal value to humanity and for the conservation of mankind's cultural and natural heritage. Kew was included as a result of its scientific and economic exchanges throughout the world; contribution to scientific advances; outstanding examples of landscape gardens; and the edifices created by celebrated artists.

UNESCO requires all sites to have a comprehensive Management Plan. Management Plans are generally revised every five years or so. These identify what is important in a World Heritage Site, the threats to the site, and measures to mitigate them; and set out a strategic vision for the future with time measured action plans. The Kew World Heritage Site Management Plan was last revised in 2011 and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport confirmed that this met UNESCO’s requirements. Kew, along with other parts of the Government, continues to keep the status of the site under review.

Government support, coupled with Kew’s other income streams, enables Kew to exercise its duty of expert care over its historic assets, which are available as a resource for the nation, and for the benefit of scientific research. One of the Management Plan’s priorities for 2011-2016 is the building maintenance programme with special priority to Temperate House. A major £35 million restoration of Temperate House has begun, for which Defra is underwriting £10 million.

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