The Slate areas of North West Wales could join the likes of the Taj Mahal, the Egyptian pyramids and the Great Wall of China, by securing UNSECO World Heritage Site Status – that is the aim of an ambitious Gwynedd Council led project.
The council-led bid includes seven sites within the county of Gwynedd and Snowdonia National Park:
- Penrhyn slate quarry, Bethesda and the Ogwen Valley to Port Penrhyn in Bangor
- 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
- Aberllefenni slate quarry
As part of the detailed work involved in securing UNESCO status, Gwynedd Council
is keen to hear the views of local people on a draft Plan which outlines how it would manage the area’s slate landscape.
The Management Plan 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.
In October 2018, the UK Government announced that the application to recognise the area’s impressive slate landscape was its preferred nomination to be presented to UNESCO for consideration.
Councillor Gareth Thomas, Gwynedd 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, 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.”
The publication of a draft Management Plan is an important step towards submitting the final application to UNESCO in the autumn and a final decision is expected in the summer of 2021.
Councillor Gareth Thomas added: “The draft of the Management Plan is being published following years of hard work involving several organisations who have come together to develop the application.
“Achieving World Heritage Site Status could bring millions of pounds to the local economy, create new jobs and the status could elevate Gwynedd and its historical significance in the eyes of the rest of the world.
“Although only seven sites would form World Heritage Status, it is hoped that it would encourage visitors from far and wide to hop from one location to the other – spreading the economic benefit to communities across Gwynedd.
“Of course, it is our duty as a Council to ensure that we manage and protect the landscape and work with the local community and businesses to bring the best benefit to the area. The Management Plan that has been prepared outlines how we intend to do this.
“There is an opportunity for Gwynedd residents to read the document in full and offer any comments or suggestions. During September, we will also be holding drop-in sessions in each of the seven areas – Dyffryn Ogwen; Dinorwig; the Nantlle Valley; Cwmystradllyn and Cwm Pennant; Ffestiniog; Bryneglwys and Aberllefenni.”
A draft of the Management Plan and the questionnaire are available on Gwynedd Council’s website www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/ManagementPlan and paper copies are available to view in all of the county’s Libraries and Siopau Gwynedd. The consultation is open until 30 September 2019.