Slate quar­ries land Unesco nom­i­na­tion

Caernarfon Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Owen Evans

ALARGE swathe of Gwynedd which “roofed the 19th Cen­tury world” could be­come a World Heritage site.

The ‘slate land­scape’ of the county, which is made up of for­mer slate quar­ries and in­fra­struc­ture through­out the area, will be the UK’s next pre­ferred nom­i­na­tion for Unesco World Heritage site status.

The land­scape was as­sessed for World Heritage status by a UK panel of ex­perts this sum­mer and it will be for­mally pre­sented to Unesco next year.

Just one for­mal nom­i­na­tion for World Heritage site status is made by the UK each year.

Michael El­lis, the government’s min­is­ter for arts, herit- age and tourism, said: “Gwynedd’s slate land­scape is hugely im­por­tant.

“Its vast quar­ries and mines have not only shaped the coun­try­side of the region but also count­less build­ings across the UK and the world.

“This is a cru­cial mile­stone on the road to be­com­ing a World Heritage site and the global recog­ni­tion that brings.

“While the Unesco nom­i­na­tion process is very thor­ough, I be­lieve this unique land­scape would be a wor­thy ad­di­tion to the list.”

The pro­posal will be con­sid- ered by the In­ter­na­tional Coun­cil of Sites and Mon­u­ments fol­lowed by the World Heritage Com­mit­tee in 2021.

Should it be ap­proved, the slate land­scape will join the likes of Grand Canyon Na­tional Park, The Great Bar­rier Reef and the Lake District as a des­ig­nated World Heritage site.

The site was the world’s great­est ex­porter of slate dur­ing the mid 19th cen­tury, be­com­ing a key part of the so­cial and eco­nomic fab­ric of North Wales.

The slate mined from the area also had a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on global ar­chi­tec­ture with its ma­te­ri­als used on a vast range of build­ings, from ter­races to palaces all around the world.

The UK Government’s min­is­ter for Wales, Mims Davies, said: “It gives me great plea­sure to see that the worl­drenowned slate land­scape of Gwynedd has been se­lected as the UK Government’s pre­ferred Unesco World Heritage Site nom­i­na­tion.

“An accolade such as this not only high­lights the im­mense beauty and his­tory that Wales has to of­fer but also acts as a cat­a­lyst to in­vest­ment and tourism.”

Ms Davies added: “The status, which is glob­ally recog­nised, would help to re­vive and grow the econ­omy of the slate areas that have had such a sig­nif­i­cant in­flu­ence on the com­mu­ni­ties and heritage of North West Wales.”

The slate land­scape is made up of areas in­clud­ing Pen­rhyn Slate Quarry, Nantlle Val­ley Slate Quarry Land­scape and Di­nor­wig Slate Quarry Mountain Land­scape. The UK has 31 other World Heritage sites.

● Clock­wise from main: Pen­rhyn Slate Quarry, Nantlle Vale Slate Quarry Land­scape, Di­nor­wig Slate Quarry Mountain Land­scape and Blae­nau Ffes­tin­iog slate mines and quar­ries

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