Gwynedd Council has welcomed the First Minister’s support for their work to nominate the historic Slate Industry of North Wales as Wales’ next World Heritage Site.
Council leaders and officers discussed the bid with Carwyn Jones during his recent visit to the Penrhyn Quarry and Zipworld in Bethesda.
Gwynedd Council is leading the bid to gain the UNESCO inscription on behalf of a number of partners including the Welsh Government, National Museum of Wales and the National Trust.
The Chair of the Steering Group, Councillor Mandy Williams-Davies said that she was delighted that the First Minister, Carwyn Jones has given support to the bid which is of local and national interest
She said: “He obviously appreciated the possible economic benefits of a new industrial World Heritage Site for North Wales.
“Slate has had an enormous influence on Gwynedd’s communities, landscape, heritage and culture, and it has also played an important role in the history and development of the Industrial Revolution in Wales as well as in countries all over the world.”
Looking to the future
The First Minister said: “Our existing World Heritage Sites here in Wales, including the castles of Edward I in North Wales, are a great asset to the country bringing us international recognition and drawing visitors from all over the world. Achieving this status is very challenging but if successful can be a significant boost for the local area and wider economy.
“The story of how the slate industry in North Wales developed from small workings to an industry that exported to all parts of the globe is one that has worldwide relevance. The Welsh Government will continue to support the work done so far by Gwynedd Council and its partners in working towards world heritage status and I look forward to its progress.”
During his visit to the Welsh Slate sheds at Penrhyn Quarry, the First Minister was able to see how slates are currently split using modern machinery as well as by hand.
The First Minister was also able to hear about the important economic role the Quarry has and how slates from Penrhyn are still used the length and breadth of Britain and exported to Europe and beyond.
Zipworld, which is located at the edge of the quarry, has developed into one of Wales’ foremost tourist attractions, giving visitors the opportunity to speed across one of Penrhyn’s deep quarries by zipwire.
The First Minister saw the plans for the new company headquarters which is expected to open on the site later this year.