WALES: World heritage bid to save breakwater.
A CAMPAIGN was under way yesterday to get a North Wales crumbling breakwater international recognition and save it for future generations.
In an ambitious move Holyhead campaigners want to persuade Welsh Assembly ministers to back their efforts to gain prestigious World Heritage site status for the port's historic structure.
It is more than 1,100 metres and one of the longest in the UK but it in danger.
"If you like, this is our very own wall of China," said local county councillor Bob Llewelyn Jones, who has launched a petition which already has 600 signatures.
"Details have also been posted on a local website Holyhead.com," said Mr Jones last night.
He added: "You can't overstate the importance of the breakwater to Holyhead.
"Seven million tonnes of local stone was used in its construction and it is an engineering masterpiece. Its shape and finish is unique."
But a survey by port owners Stena responsible for the breakwater, which opened in 1873 after 26 years construction and cost the lives of 48 workers, has found its base is being undermined.
Mr Jones said: "The breakwater is a real gem. People locally know all about it but it deserves worldwide approval.
"If we can get heritage status from the United Nations it could open the door for major funding to make sure it is still standing in another 130 years."
He has been in touch with Ynys MOn MP Albert Owen and is backed by the Holyhead Breakwater Railway Company which is planning to re-establish the breakwater's former rail link as a tourist attraction.
HBRC chairman Jennifer Horsfield said: "The breakwater has a major role to play in the economic regeneration of Holyhead and we are right behind this."
Ms Horsfield, has written to Assembly enterprise minister Andrew Davies looking for his support.
She said: "The breakwater needs urgent funding for repairs and future maintenance to preserve its vital role in protecting the bustling port.
"It is a magnificent structure." She added: "People are interested in the breakwater and what we are doing.
"Our own company website has had over 100,000 hits over the last six months. We want people to come forward and support the bid for world heritage site status."
The World Heritage Convention, adopted by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in 1972, provides for the identification, protection and conservation of natural and cultural sites of outstanding universal value
There are more than 800 across the world and these include 628 cultural, 160 natural and 24 mixed properties in 137 countries
Cultural examples on the list include the Taj Mahal, the Tower of London and the Great Wall of China
Holyhead breakwater is one of the longest in the UK