Gwynedd's World Heritage Site Mockery:
Abusive Planning Applications and Mineral Extraction in
Dyffryn Nantlle Used as Cover for Bio-Diversity Habitat
Destruction and to Exclude Areas from World
Heritage Site Application
Crushed Slate Loads
[ - lockdown ended - click here for the situation during lockdown
All of the sites listed on the main article page appear to be being worked by the same team of 4-6 contractors1
, who rotate from one site to another according to current site requirements, and who also transfer materials. Currently there is a local infrastructure project, the Bontnewydd Bypass, being developed en-route
from Penygroes to Caernarfon and this is where the bulk of crushed-slate material is being transported (especially that derived from workings at Tŷ Mawr East), direct from the main Tŷ Mawr West quarry and transit site. This in spite of assurances to the contrary by Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK of Ruthin, Denbighshire (those responsible for developing the bypass in conjunction with Balfour Beatty) in a letter to Hywel Williams, MP, around 5 weeks ago, where they stated:
"Thank[-]you for your enquiry regarding the use of slate waste for the construction of the A487 Caernarfon and Bontnewydd Bypass. There is currently no requirement to import any stone or aggregate materials from sources outside of the project for the construction of the bypass. The rock excavated from the Plas Menai cutting at the Northern end of the site, is being sustainably processed on site to produce the various aggregates required.
Normally the quantity of material being transported would not be as much of an issue if the loads were being moved by a HGV aggregate dump truck, as would be expected from a quarry and transit site; except that (as at 30th. November) these loads of material were being taken out by the trailer-load using high-powered tractors towing 14-20 ton construction dump trailers ...with round-trip journeys to and from the Bontnewydd site every 40-50 minutes throughout the day. It is also of note that these loads are being run out of Tŷ Mawr quarry using the usual team of contractors plus several freelancing local farmers.
On some days there is little being taken out from the site; although it is not unknown for the loads to be removed via the very narrow back lanes of Talysarn and then down past two schools (including an infant school) with parked cars, numerous traffic hazards, and regular traffic congestion or out along Lon Ddŵr to Llanllyfni. Why such stupidity? Several possibilities come to mind, including:
- waste management at the Bontnewydd Bypass site: waste coming onto the site via direct site transfer (in this case crushed slate for re-use in construction of the road) has to be allocated to wherever it is needed...
...which is supposed to be managed via a transit point on the site, but which would be inconvenient, as it would involve transferring material to a transit point stockpile (which would be via high-capacity quarry aggegate dump trucks) and then re-distributing it to where it is required; so a corner-cutting method would involve using (in this case) a fleet of tractors and trailers to ferry the material direct to wherever the work is happening, which would be both in contravention of waste management code of practice in addition to being highly unprofessional.
- ...or, possibly:
- laziness and greed on the quarry side: why go to the expense of using quarry dump-trucks when a whole fleet of freelancing local farmers, plus a couple of the usual contractors, can be used instead?
Either way, these trailer loads of material being taken out by tractor are adding a serious traffic burden to local roads, in addition to congestion and dangerous hazards to roads and lanes that the vehicles and loads in question should not even be using, additional heavy pollution, and considerable wear and tear to our local roads (which have already been badly degraded by heavy vehicle loads in some places as it is).
...and then you get situations like this..
Note the dark-coloured car which was forced - dangerously - to abandon their attempt to access the road. The tractor is a very powerful tractor especially suited for working on quarry and construction sites, whilst the trailer (of which there is a blue trailer of the same design being towed by another, similar, tractor [vi]) is a construction dump trailer with a capacity of (typically) 14-20 tons.
Location: junction of Ffordd-y-Brenin and Ffordd-y-Sir, Penygroes, Gwynedd. Friday 24th January 2020, 16:41.
Allowing for at least two tractors being involved in this operation (the usual situation), this equates to around 30-40 movements a day, totalling 420-800 tons, along the B4418 into Penygroes, through a residential area (with reduced road width and both infant and junior school children), then out onto the A487 via a road junction already made dangerous with the current volume of quarry traffic without the addition of a further 30-40 heavily loaded large tractors ...except that many of these tractors are not going via the roundabout and onto the A487, but up through the top of Penygroes and a further housing area, before continuing along a minor road (with speed bumps and signposted as being for Local Access Only) to join the A487 further north, instead.
So why the connection? - All the quarries detailed above, with exception to two sites, are currently supposed to be being used soley for the deposit of soil and other inert materials mainly with a view to final stage restoration. Curiously enough, though, both the remaining sites (Tyn y Weirglodd Quarry, Talysarn and the Lon Tyddyn Agnes site) not only became operational or, in the case of the former, successfully secured an extension for mineral extraction this year, but are being worked in conjunction
with the other sites, and are not only being extensively worked, but are being opened up into old abandoned quarries (many of them flourishing bio-diversity sites and micro-sites) in order that they, too, may be worked; although the bulk of the crushed slate is currently being taken from the Tŷ Mawr East quarry.
These tractors also regularly collect loads from the Tomen Lechi Taldrwst site (typically last thing in the evening) before heading out along Lon Ddŵr in the direction of Llanllyfni and are particularly averse to being seen on the site (or leaving it with trailer loads of slate, for that matter) in the process.
1 the assumption by many people that these sites benefit areas through local employment is simply no longer true: it is considerably cheaper to simply employ a small number of people (who may not even be local) and to rotate them according to where they are required.
this site is undergoing ongoing changes and amendments as further details and evidence is gathered and added to the site, so please feel free to use the contact details given at the foot of this page should you have any questions or should you wish to submit further details or evidence of your own; but please do not send attachments without first contacting me, as the attachments will simply be deleted by the mail server otherwise.
All the media material on this site is available by request, including copies of the original .jpg
files and additional material that is not currently part of the online article; likewise all letters and emails where referenced by this article.
For anyone wanting to make their own reports of similar activities in their area, please contact me via my secure email address, and via a Protonmail account (free accounts available), if possible. Field numbers and postcodes can be determined via MAGIC [
Interactive Map >
Where Am I? top menu-bar button) >
click on relevant area on the main map for the field number after zooming-in on, or searching for, that area) ]
If you are a fellow tree-hugger, one of those "old crusties", local twitcher, or just someone wanting to know what is so special about these quarry workings and the Dorothea Quarry-Llanllyfni ridgeline, I am happy to show you in person and free of charge, with no running commentary or any tour-guide nonsense. You will need good (waterproof) footwear, a sense of adventure, and a passion for rough terrain.
Free surveillance from a lay-by opposite the junction of Ffordd Hyfrydle is sometimes provided by people connected to the sites from the cosy safety of a layby off the B4418, along with occasional interesting encounters with some of the locals, on anyone passing through the vicinity of the ridgeline quarries (especially those in the vicinity of Tŷ Mawr quarries or the area above the quarries). All walks are along public rights of way wherever possible and should normally not exceed more than a couple of hours. My email address is as shown below.
- @: Ex5NY27U corequery.uk
- secure email address as detailed above -