Petition for UNESCO recognise Notting Hill Carnival heritage site

An online petition created by the local activist group, Green Westway, is requesting that UNESCO includes the historic west London carnival on its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.

The calls come after the emergence of recent analysis published by Lady Borwick revealing that 9 out of 10 people living nearby move out during the carnival weekend.

Crowds at Notting Hill Carnival / By Diliff
Crowds at Notting Hill Carnival / By Diliff

In the wake of this news, many have already called for the Notting Hill Carnival parade to be moved, especially citing the unwanted increase of anti-social behaviour during the parade.

Lady Borwick primarily suggests changing the overall format of the carnival. Suggesting instead that a music festival in Wormwood Scrubs or Little Wormwood Scrubs parks could provide all the carnival atmosphere without causing as many problems for residents.

Analysis compiled by the MP also shows most businesses in the area did not benefit from the event, as only 6% claimed to notice any uplift in profits. Moreover, the majority of businesses actually bemoaned the costs incurred as a result of having to clean up or close their businesses during the event.

She said: “In the long term, lessons could be learnt from other big events in London, such as Pride in London, which holds the street parade in one area and the music festival a short walk away.”

However, the petition argues that the carnival deserves UNESCO recognition as “a symbol of change and multiculturalism in the UK”and believed that receiving this status will help to secure the historic event’s future on the streets it was born in.

Notting Hill carnival 2014 / By David Sedlecký
Notting Hill carnival 2014 / By David Sedlecký

“The carnival was born in local social movements from the burning ambers of hatred and racism,” the Petition states, adding that: “Over the years, its marriage of Caribbean culture to West London streets has turned this situation on its head and momentary carnival experiences have led to lasting social unity, which as recent days have shown us, should certainly not be taken for granted.”

This year’s Notting Hill Carnival is due to begin on the 28th August. The petition can be viewed by visiting: www.change.org

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