BIRKENHEAD Park is among seven sites in the UK and its overseas territories in the running to win Unesco World Heritage status.

York City Centre and an iron age settlement in Shetland are also among the locations being put forward by the government to join the prestigious list.

The globally-recogniSed designation is given to places of cultural, historical or scientific significance.

There are already 33 World Heritage sites in the UK, including Stonehenge.

The sites on the list overseen by the agency of the United Nations, include Australia's Great Barrier Reef and historic areas of Cairo.

Five new site have been added to the government's "Tentative List". It sets out the locations it is felt have the best chance of succeeding in being included.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport confirmed the new sites are:

  • Birkenhead Park, which opened in 1847 and inspired the development and creation of parks across the world including Central Park in New York
  • York
  • The Zenith of Iron Age Shetland, a collection of three ancient settlements dating back thousands of years
  • The East Atlantic Flyway, a migratory bird route over western parts of Europe including Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent.
  • The Little Cayman Marine Parks and Protected Areas have also been put forward for their exceptional importance to marine biodiversity and their incredible natural beauty

Two other sites submitted their full nominations to Unesco earlier this year, and remain on the government's Tentative List.

They are The Flow Country, a large area of peatland across Caithness and Sutherland in the north of Scotland which plays a crucial role in supporting biodiversity, and the Gracehill Moravian Church Settlement in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.

Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: "All the locations being put forward would be worthy recipients of this accolade - and we will give them our full backing so they can benefit from the international recognition it can bring."