THE iconic Forth Bridge looks set to be named Scotland’s sixth Unesco World Heritage Site.
Members of the world heritage committee are in Germany to discuss the bridge’s merits and make their final decision, with the result expected tomorrow.
We are not really geared up for lots of traffic – there could be parking issuesJenni Meldrum
The structure has been recommended for approval, with inspectors describing it as an “extraordinary milestone in the history of bridge construction”.
Meanwhile, South Queensferry is bracing itself for a business boom, with visitors expected to flock to the area if the engineering marvel is accorded the prestigious status.
Jenni Meldrum, from the Queensferry History Group, helped research a book on the men who built the bridge and described the imminent award as “absolutely fantastic”.
Jenni, who runs antique shop Sea Kist in the shadow of the structure, said: “The bridge is so iconic that a lot of people – particularly visitors – assume it already had World Heritage status. It is tremendous that we have something with the potential to be awarded this status on our doorsteps. We are incredibly fortunate.”
However, she was also concerned that Queensferry might struggle to cope with the surge in visitors that this accolade would bring.
She said: “We are not really geared up for lots of traffic. There could be parking issues and the community will have to brace itself for a potential influx of lots of visitors.”
Keith Giblett, chairman of Queensferry Community Council, added: “The views of the community are very positive. As a community council, we have supported the application process.
“This would be good for businesses and good for the community. It is not just good for Queensferry but for the wider area. If we can develop the proper tourism strategy, the whole of the Forth Estuary can reap the rewards. It’s all quite exciting.”
The distinctive bridge opened in 1890 after eight years of construction work, and at 2529m long was the world’s longest multi-span cantilever bridge.
Supporters of its bid described it as a masterpiece of human creative genius and Unesco agreed with their assessment.
In their inspection report, they praised its “distinctive industrial aesthetic” and described it as “innovative” in design, materials, and scale.
There are 1007 World Heritage Sites, all deemed “internationally significant”, spread across 161 countries.
Other Scottish landmarks to have been given the status are Orkney’s Neolithic sites, the Antonine Wall, New Lanark, St Kilda and Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns.