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Monday, November 10, 1997 Published at 15:32 GMT


Coastline campaign for world recognition

The campaign hopes to gain recognition for the Dorset and East Devon coast

A campaign has been launched to have the coast of Dorset and East Devon declared a World Heritage Site.

Local councils are lobbying ministers to take their case to the United Nations.

[ image: This ictheosaur was recently found]
This ictheosaur was recently found
Only two such sites presently exist in the UK - the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland and St Kilda off the Scottish coast.

But scientists says that the 90-mile stretch of coast along the south of England can help unravel 100 million years of history and local people say it deserves global recognition.

"This place is just special," says Professor Denys Brunsden, a campaigner for World Heritage status. "Whatever criteria you take, record of life, record of time, the integrity of the site ... we match it. We must therefore have an obligation to the rest of the world to look after it."

[ image:  ]
Particularly unique are the site's fossils. Every year thousands of people visit the coast to search for evidence of dinosaurs, fish and amphibians from the pre-historic ages. So much so, that it has earned the title the Jurassic coast.

[ image:  ]
But opposition is likely to be stiff. The Government must be convinced to support the campaign and the rest of the world must be convinced that the coastline should take its place alongiside other areas of beauty such as the Grand Canyon in the US and Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

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