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Last Updated: Friday, 11 January 2008, 12:00 GMT
Aqueduct's World Heritage entry
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
The aqueduct was built by Thomas Telford and William Jessop
An aqueduct near Wrexham could soon join the likes of the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China as a World Heritage Site.

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal has been named as the UK's 2008 nomination for the prestigious status.

The nomination was put forward by Westminster's Culture Secretary James Purnell, who said it was "a masterpiece from the canal age".

A decision will be made by Unesco, which awards the status, in July 2009.

The 200-year-old aqueduct, built by Thomas Telford and William Jessop, was picked as a possible contender for the UK nomination in 2006 - along with the Antonine Wall in Scotland, and the Monastery of Wearmouth and Jarrow in Northumbria.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and its canal are loved and admired by the people of Wales and others from across the world
First Minister Rhodri Morgan

It has now been chosen to be the UK's sole nomination for 2008 and supporters believe it could be picked as there are few structures like it on the current World Heritage list.

"The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal is truly a masterpiece from the canal age in the UK," Mr Purnell said.

"It is also a magnificent example of our living heritage, remaining one of the busiest stretches of canal in the UK, with some 15,000 boat crossings every year."

Tourist attraction

First Minister Rhodri Morgan added: "Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and its canal are loved and admired by the people of Wales and others from across the world."

Only one British bid for Unesco World Heritage status has ever failed, and that was on a technicality.

There are currently 27 UK World Heritage Sites, including Stonehenge, the Tower of London, Blenheim Palace and Blaenavon in the south Wales valleys.

Opened in 1805, the aqueduct cost 45,000 and was built to improve transport links. It was seen as a pioneer of cast iron construction during the industrial revolution.

The 1,000ft long (305m) structure, which carries the Llangollen Canal above the Dee valley, is one of the region's biggest tourist attractions bringing in around 250,000 visitors a year by boat or on foot.

The Pontcysyllte bid is being jointly co-ordinated by Wrexham Council and British Waterways.

Councillor Bob Dutton, OBE, Lead Member for Economic Prosperity, Asset Management and Culture at the council, said: "A tremendous amount of work has gone into this nomination and we are confident that everything that could be done in terms of the nomination has been done."



SEE ALSO
Walkers urged to enjoy waterways
23 Aug 07 |  North East Wales
Aqueduct set for heritage status
10 Oct 06 |  North East Wales
World heritage hopes for aqueduct
27 Jul 05 |  North East Wales
Aqueduct's big bicentenary party
27 Nov 05 |  North East Wales

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