Edinburgh's World Heritage Site worth over £1billion

EDINBURGH'S heritage has an economic value of over £1billion, a new report has found.

Thursday, 26th May 2016, 12:36 pm
Updated Friday, 27th May 2016, 1:07 pm
Edinburgh's heritage is worth over one billion pounds to the city's economy. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor/JPLicense

AN economic price tag of around £1.4 billion has been attached to Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site as the depth of public support for the area from residents, tourists and businesses has been revealed for the first time.

The figures were published in a report designed to capture the relationships that people have with the historic neighbourhood.

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The research – conducted by the charity Edinburgh World Heritage, which formed in 1999 by a merger of the Old Town Renewal Trust and the New Town Conservation Committee – used a Treasury-approved approach to calculate the economic value at between £1.2 billion and £1.4bn.

Around 1000 people were asked to imagine a scenario in which public spending was reduced, causing buildings to deteriorate and eventually be replaced.

Respondents were told that their contributions would be used to conserve, maintain and restore the Edinburgh World Heritage site.

Adam Wilkinson, director of Edinburgh World Heritage, said: “This pioneering report shows that the World Heritage Site is deeply valued, and that its long-term maintenance should be a priority for public spending. It also demonstrates a tremendous breadth of support with visitors, residents, and businesses all seeing the benefit to the city.”

The survey found that 96 per cent of respondents felt the city’s heritage was beneficial, and that this support was offered regardless of their economic or social background.

Residents, visitors and businesses all strongly supported the conservation of Edinburgh’s heritage, and saw the World Heritage Site as a public good and a long-term legacy for future generations.

Brian Lang, chairman of Edinburgh World Heritage said: “The World Heritage Site is a fundamental driver of the city’s economy, and plays a vital role in attracting over four million visitors every year.

“The research shows that this value is widely understood, with residents and businesses agreeing that investment in heritage has long-term benefits for the city.”

Councillor Gavin Barrie, convener of the economy committee, said: “This research is to be welcomed. The report spells out why millions of visitors are flooding to Edinburgh every year to enjoy the World Heritage Site.

“This is of great benefit as the Capital is heralded as the ‘gateway’ to the rest of Scotland. Our residents also take pride in the area and businesses report great benefits to the local economy.

“The evidence suggests that the economic value placed on the World Heritage Site drives investors’ financial decisions.”