A bid to receive World Heritage Site status for the former quarrying communities of the north west has reached its final stage.
The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has recommended that the 'Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales' be inscribed on the World Heritage List as a 'Cultural Landscape'.
If the bid is accepted, the post-industrial quarrying area will be become the fourth UNESCO World Heritage Site in Cymru, alongside 'Blaenafon Industrial Landscape', 'Pontcysyllte Aqueduct', and the 'Castles of King Edward in Caernarfon, Biwmaris, Harlech and Conwy'.
ICOMOS said that the 'Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales' "represents an outstanding example of a stone quarrying and mining landscape which illustrates the extent of transformation of an agricultural environment during the Industrial Revolution."
Siân Gwenllian, the Plaid Cymru MS for Arfon (the constituency in which much of the site is located) said: “I was delighted to hear the news that ICOMOS will recommend that the World Heritage Committee approves the bid.
“As do many of my constituents, I have a direct link to our industrial past as my great grandfather was a quarryman in the Cilgwyn Quarry in Dyffryn Nantlle.
“I know too well that the loss of the quarrying industry dealt a massive blow to the Arfon area.
“The economic legacy of that era still casts a shadow over the area.
“This recent announcement is welcomed, and I hope that becoming a World Heritage Site would revitalise our slate valleys whilst protecting our rich local heritage."
Hywel Williams, the Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon described the announcement as a “boost for local pride.”
Mr. Williams said: “I know that this announcement is the result of many years of hard work.
“It is a reminder of Arfon’s rich past, and its immense contribution to the world.
“Arfon’s slate quarries were once an industrial epicentre of the world.
“It’s fantastic to see that contribution recognised.”