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Blueprint published for managing Welsh slate area World Heritage Site

Words: Roger Milne
Llechwedd Maenofferen quarry near Blaenau Ffestiniog / Shutterstock_1061708360

Gwynedd Council has published a draft management plan for the slate areas of north west Wales, which are a UK candidate for potential UNESCO World Heritage status.

The blueprint explains how the council would deal with change in the area following the designation, and use the status to protect, promote and improve the area for the benefit of local communities and visitors.

The council-led bid includes seven slate area sites within the county of Gwynedd and Snowdonia National Park:

  • Penrhyn slate quarry, Bethesda and the Ogwen Valley to Port Penrhyn;
  • Dinorwig slate quarry mountain landscape;
  • Nantlle Valley slate quarry landscape;
  • Gorseddau and Prince of Wales slate quarries, railways and mill;
  • Ffestiniog's slate mines, quarries, "city of slates" and the railway to Porthmadog;
  • Bryneglwys slate quarry, Abergynolwyn village and the Talyllyn railway; and
  • Aberllefenni slate quarry.

Proposed in the draft blueprint are a slew of local area plans, the establishment of buffer zones, the publication of supplementary planning guidance and the production of place-based regeneration strategies for key communities with community-led regeneration at their core.

Also in prospect would be bans on quarrying in some areas alongside the revocation of all extant mineral working permissions.

Gareth Thomas, the council's cabinet member for economic development, said: “Securing a World Heritage Site is a very ambitious scheme – it would mean that the area's slate landscape received the same designation as wonders such as the Taj Mahal, the Egyptian Pyramids and the Great Wall of China.

“Our aim is to celebrate our history, but also to use the opportunity to regenerate communities through heritage and create exciting new opportunities for businesses.

“We want to do this by working with communities and businesses, and hope that the bid is an opportunity to reinforce or reconnect people with their local heritage and create high-quality job opportunities locally.”

Image credit | Shutterstock