Monday, 15 June 2009

Made in Portugal - the highest point in Wales

It was with much anticipation and long-awaited excitement that Rhodri Morgan banished the "highest slum in Wales" to memory and unveiled the brand new visitor centre on the top of Snowdon last week.

It was also with much interest and intrigue that John Bufton was elected as Wales' fourth MEP. He of course hails from the euro-hostile UK Independence Party.

And it was with much irony that these two events took place within such a small space of time.

You may remember the controversy surrounding the announcement that the new centre's roof would be formed of granite imported from Portugal - despite there being plenty of granite laying about on the peaks of Snowdonia.

This is because under EU rules, it is illegal for contractors to insist on using locally sourced material when the material's cost goes above a certain threshold.

Back in 2006 the Snowdonia National Park's chief executive, Aneurin Phillips, said:

"Under European law the Authority cannot insist that local people use local materials only. The Authority encourages people to use natural materials wherever possible and preferably from local sources.

"Up to the 1980s it is true that the Authority required only Welsh slate but it lost a legal case and the advice that we received from solicitors in this case is that we would be in breach of European treaty principles if we stipulated in the contract that the contractor must use local materials only," he added.

Ironically, granite was chosen by the architects in the first place because it would blend in with the Snowdonian surroundings!

And curiously Mr Bufton and his researchers seem to have missed out on their first opportunity to do some Europe-bashing - and it is surely doubtful the MEP will ever be offered a higher stage to perform on!

Dewi Dau


1 comment:

Pelagius said...

Hasn't anybody noticed that this British nationalist's middle name is Andreas? Is he a Greek immigrant or something?