Welsh Slate seeks permission to extend Penrhyn Quarry

Welsh Slate on a roof at Nansledan
Welsh slate from Penrhyn Quarry is pictured here on a roof at Nansledan, the Duchy of Cornwall extension of Newquay.

Welsh Slate is seeking planning permission to extend Penrhyn Quarry, part of the Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales World Heritage Site, to keep it operating beyond the end of next year and secure more than 100 jobs there.

There is ongoing demand for the slate from the quarry for roofing, architectural and hard landscaping products.

One of the projects Welsh Slate, part of Breedon Group, based in Derbyshire, supplies with roofing slate is Nansledan, the 218-hectare extension of Newquay on the north coast of Cornwall. This is another of the Duchy of Cornwall (Prince Charles) projects creating people-friendly sustainable new towns. Poundbury, the extension of Weymouth in Dorset, was his first.

At Nansledan, material options specified by the scheme’s master planners, Adam Architecture, to meet the Duchy’s requirements for local materials compatible with a Cornish vernacular wherever possible, have included natural stones from Trevillett Slate and Delabole Slate Quarry in North Cornwall, Burlington Stone in Cumbria, granite from De Lank Quarry on Bodmin Moor, and walling and stone for Cornish hedges from Callywith Quarry in Bodmin, as well as the slate from Penrhyn.

Welsh Slate’s planning application with Gwynedd Council is for a 2.3-hectare extension to the 318-hectare Penrhyn Quarry site in Bethesda, near Bangor. As well as roofing, the slate is used for cladding, flooring, paving, walling and hard landscaping.

The company will also be applying to extend operations by four to five years at its site in Blaenau Ffestiniog, which produces minerals for manufacturers of such products as roofing felt. This would secure the jobs of eight people.

The Penrhyn extension would  increase the amount of slate permitted to be quarried there by 250,000tonnes, increasing the life of the quarry by 12 years to the end of 2035.

Following a period of public consultation, the proposed area of extension has already been halved. There were also concerns about the disposal of waste, but slate has been extracted from Penrhyn for centuries and Welsh Slate says the waste from the extension can be accommodated easily within the existing quarry void without impacting on views beyond it.

The revised working and restoration schemes for Penrhyn can be viewed on bit.ly/PenrhynPlanning.