Cllr. Gareth Roberts - Aberdaron

Gareth Roberts is a Plaid Cymru Councillor representing the people of Aberdaron


Name: William Gareth Roberts Age: 54

Tell us about your background?

I was bought up at Penllech, Bryncroes, Pen Llŷn but when I was 15 years old we moved to Garreg Fawr, Uwchmynydd. We bought Garreg Fawr, a small 48 acer farm, but Dad was not only a farmer, he was also a lobster and crab fisherman. I have had some varied roles over the years, including a sheep shearing contractor, a shearing instructor for the Wool Marketing Board, a youth club leader and a National Trust Warden here at Pen Llŷn. In 1996 I secured the tenancy for Cwrt farm in Aberdaron from the National Trust, a 214 acre farm, and my family and I continue to live here. More recently I was given the opportunity to farm Bardsey Island’s 450 acres, and employ family to live on the Island to look after the day to day running of the farm.

Do you have a family?

Yes, I’m married to â Meriel and we have 3 daughters. Meriel is busy holding the fort at home whilst I carry out my Gwynedd Council duties. Our eldest daughter Angharad Mair, 23, works with children; Gwenllian, 20, is working on her Certificate of Education at Bangor to become a secondary school teacher and Siân Heulwen, 17, is studying for her A Levels at Coleg Meirion Dwyfor. My father, who is 81 continues to live at Garreg Fawr and continues to help out here on the farm too.

What do you love about being a Councillor?

I really enjoy trying to make a difference! Assisting people to try and improve the quality of their lives and the environment in which they live, is a great attraction for me. Since I was awarded the Gwynedd Council Environment Portfolio, I have developed from being a quiet Councillor representing Aberdaron and working in the background to a Councillor who leads, plans and prepares the County‘s environmental direction. I am a man of the land and it is environmental issues that make me tick. I am extremely proud to be able to make those well-known places people see on a daily basis better and secure the future of our environment for our children and the next generation.

What do you hate about being a Councillor?

I believe it’s important that Councillors remember we have a dual role to play – representing the residents of our Ward but also promoting Gwynedd as a county. Meetings can be a burden but we must all ensure we contribute to the work, which sometimes means we have to prepare, read and digest reports before arriving at meetings. Otherwise we are not able to contribute fully to the work of forming policies and moving Gwynedd forward.

What is your greatest achievement as a County Councillor?

I believe standing 3 elections and winning all 3 has been a personal achievement for me. On top of that taking on the Senior Portfolio Leader for the Environment has meant I have had to earn the respect of my fellow Councillors, which makes me very proud. When the National Trust bought Henfaes and the car park in Aberdaron, a former hotel which is now a three flat holiday unit, and then announcement that a brand new Tourism of Excellence Centre was to be built in Aberdaron, I was very pleased. The Centre will bring in some economic benefits as well as practical benefits to Aberdaron. I worked quietly in the background on both these projects, and I am proud to have been able to assist and facilitate these new services for visitors to the area and attract new employment for local people.

Who is your hero / heroine?

The late Anthony Jones, Penmaen, Pwllheli. He lost his father at a young age and inherited the small Penmaen estate in Pwllheli, and developed a caravan site there. He was a yachtsman; he was a keen game shooter and was a shrewd businessman. I had great respect for him because although he turned in very different circles to mine, he was a Pen Llŷn man through and through and anything to do with Llŷn and its people was important to him, and he never tired of championing it. I learnt a lot from him and I feel a great sense of loss in his passing.

What is your happiest childhood memory?

A contented family life. We were a happy family and were very close. We weren’t financially wealthy, but we were blessed with love. That feeling of belonging continues in me today, and the values I was taught by my parents as a young lad are now passed on to my children.

What is you greatest fear?

Losing one’s health

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy bee keeping, growing vegetables and game shooting. There is a group of friends and neighbours from Aberdaron who come together occasionally to shoot pheasants and ducks. The kinship and socialising is great and we the birds are shot for our consumption. It’s good we are able to keep our old countryside traditions alive.

What is your latest project / issue?

I’m currently working on a new Anaerobic System for Gwynedd to dispose of our food waste. This system can digest our food waste and produce sustainable energy. The system would prevent harmful gases from escaping into the atmosphere, generate income for the county by producing electricity and produce fertilizer which we could use on the land. We are currently deciding which company will work with us on this scheme. I’m also working on another project, a north Wales project to dispose of our residual waste, the dirty waste that we are not able to recycle or re-use. Technology is moving apace which means that the residual waste can be burned and again used to create energy. But the technology is expensive, which means that working with all north Wales counties is an efficient and effective way forward for us to meet the Assembly’s targets.