Author Topic: UNESCO - what does it mean for Welsh mines?  (Read 411 times)

Offline mesospheric

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UNESCO - what does it mean for Welsh mines?
« on: January 10, 2022, 02:39:22 pm »
Interesting exchange with someone involved in the management of the new North Wales slate landscape UNESCO designation past days.

The designation includes Cwmorthin in its entirety, which was always an obvious and widely-known mine to include.  But other mines, which are in arguably much more stable condition overall than Cwmorthin, are not included, either because they were overlooked/unknown to the bureaucrats, or because they were already granted a planning consent to extract.

I asked specifically about Maenofferen. Whilst I'm not aware of any work to untop what is there now, nor do I claim there is any intention to do so (though there may be), it seems that the planning consent already in place means the entirety of the mine could legitimately be destroyed to recover slate. Some already-exposed chambers to the west have already been blasted some years ago, which was itself a great pity, not least for the way they clearly illustrated on the surface how mining was undertaken.

Well, I accept this is a man-made landscape of a destructive nature, and that it's under private ownership. But I'm not at all persuaded that Maenofferen is something that should be lost if - and I stress the if - there might be plans at some stage to untop it further.  The only element of this mine known to be considered by the owner and the authorities as being of historical value is the back vein incline and associated structures. I'd hate to see that maybe turned into an incline to an open-air cafe at its foot, called something awful like 'Rock Bottom' or 'Floor B', etc...

I wonder if others have views? 

Online Tomferry

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Re: UNESCO - what does it mean for Welsh mines?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2022, 03:29:54 pm »
All mines deserve protection   :thumbsup:

Online AR

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Re: UNESCO - what does it mean for Welsh mines?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2022, 03:51:30 pm »
Although I don't know the specifics for NW and the UNESCO designation, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that mines not specifically mentioned are ones where there's an existing planning permission for further work. To remove that planning consent through some form of heritage protection would open up the question of compensation for the holder of the extraction consent for loss of income for the mineral they now can't extract.
Dirty old mines need love too....

Offline Graigfawr

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Re: UNESCO - what does it mean for Welsh mines?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2022, 11:51:50 pm »
The World Heritage Site designation would have been confined (or mostly confined) to sites which already had statutory protection through listing or scheduling or both.

Cadw is responsible for listing and scheduling sites and is generally unable to confer statutory protection onto sites which have planning permission for continued exploitaiton or are otherwise commerically active or likely to resume being comercially active, otherwise site owners could claim substantial compensation for loss of potential future revenue through working the sites.  Within Welsh Government, Cadw possesses much less influen ce than agencies concerned with economic development and hence Cadw tends to be cautious in what sites it lists or schedules.

So - UNECSO designated as part of the World Heritage Site only selected sites that already possessed statutory protection and which met criteria for importance / typicality, public access, and heritage mangement (a few World Heritage designations have been withdrawn due to lack of heritage management). UNESCO did not confer protection, instead it classed selected sites on which Cadw had already confered statutory designation, as elements of the World Heritage Site.

Offline ChrisJC

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Re: UNESCO - what does it mean for Welsh mines?
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2022, 08:09:13 am »
I agree that some of the external structures at Maenofferen are worthy of protection. The problem is that the management of the site is already financially onerous, and adding another burden is not likely to be welcomed.

The other issue is one of employment. Places like Blaenau need all of the jobs they can get, rather than shutting it all down so it looks nice in photos.

Chris.
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