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Community’s despair as another 25 years of quarrying begins

28 Mar 2024 5 minute read
Craig-Yr-Hesg Quarry at Glyncoch, about a mile from Pontypridd.

Martin Shipton

A former nurse who has lived virtually all her life in the shadow of a quarry has provided eloquent testimony to the health fears it provokes in her community.

The expansion of Craig-Yr-Hesg Quarry at Glyncoch, about a mile from Pontypridd has left Jayne Davies and her neighbours in despair at the prospect of 25 more years of stone extraction.

She wrote to Nation.Cymru saying: “Please can you help us all living around this quarry. We have fought years for no expansion as the area has already endured 50 years of silica dust. The stone quarried poses the highest health risk.

“The quarry is currently taking away our land and preparing for expansion. Wildlife such as skylarks lay dead, barn owls too. The area is 10 acres and once was a haven for all to walk and enjoy.

“The generation who have lived here over the quarry years have lung disease and cancer – silica from this stone is highly carcinogenic and although the quarry monitoring may produce emission levels within the law, the law doesn’t measure exposure of this dust over time. No one living here is free from seeing a member of their family suffering lung disease.

“The lorries travel along a narrow B residential road that is a school walkway and route to town. The lorries are 44 tonnes in weight and have to mount our pavements as they are huge to pass buses, other lorries and cars.

“We appealed – however it was overturned by Julie James [then Climate Change Minister]. Rhondda Cynon Taf are also Welsh Labour so they do not allow us to speak. We are getting nowhere but having the quarry granted another 25 years means 75 years of silica exposure, which is second to asbestos in causing cancer and lung disease. This silica kills more than emissions. 35 thousand people living around quarries die a year from it.

“Our homes are ruined with cracks from blasts and it’s too late for the older generation now as most have lung disease. It’s too late for myself as I’ve been exposed daily to it for over 40 years. I have two young adults and a teenager who no doubt will suffer lung disease when older.

“The monitoring system used does not speak truth because even at safe levels it’s the duration of exposure that causes death and illness. Please can we get heard as time is running out.”

The site before quarrying took place.

Noise

When we called Jayne, she was playing her radio loud in a bid to drown out the noise from the quarrying. She said: “It’s awful. I’m 55 now and the fact that quarrying is going to be permitted for another 25 years is absolutely appalling. There are no measures they can take to make things better. It should be closed down.

“The quarry that has taken our lovely mountain away employs only 17 people so it doesn’t even help give jobs. Also all the stone that is quarried is taken to England, with the majority used for airport runways and motorways.

“Wales does not have any of the stone they take from our mountain. The huge 44 tonne lorries are from Scotland and England, and there are also some with foreign number plates.”

Heidelberg Materials UK, which is mining the quarry, maintains that residents’ concerns were not substantiated by the technical evidence put forward and that inspectors concluded that the proposals “would comply with the development plan and relevant Welsh planning policy.”

The planning inspector had ruled that the decision was in accordance with the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and that Julie James, Minister for Climate Change at the time the quarry expansion was approved, agreed with this.

Craig-Yr-Hesg Quarry at Glyncoch.

Concern

On the issue of health concerns, the company insists that the sector is highly regulated, and that it works hard to minimise any potential impacts from its operations on its neighbours.

All environmental issues raised had been thoroughly examined by the planning inspector, with strict conditions on the control of vibration from blasting, as well as ongoing air quality monitoring in Glyncoch being carried out independently by the local authority were in place.

According to the company, the eventual restoration of the site would lead to an increase of woodland and improved habitat connectivity within the landscape and that it had also put up 20 bat boxes and 20 bird boxes.

While there had never been any public rights of access over the quarry extension area, the company would be creating a permissive path over land to the north of the extension area, allowing pedestrian access from Glyncoch to the Lan Woods to the west.

It said several wildlife surveys had been undertaken and that no bats had been found to be present, adding: “We are keeping the skylarks under observation and are working with our ecologist to ensure that our ongoing works have no impact on that species going forward.”


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Mozart
Mozart
12 days ago

Shameful – Wonder if this is one of Guessing’s mates businesses?

Glwyo
Glwyo
12 days ago

Sending 40 ton lorries down narrow streets is pretty absurd when the quarry is right next to a railway line. Do we not have decades of overtures towards encouraging rail freight behind us now? Surely transport considerations like this were made when permission for quarrying was granted? In fact, requiring the company to invest in local railways ought to be a precondition of quarrying being allowed. Looking on a map, the quarry seems to be surrounded by a forest so presumably the site was originally a forest and it’s hard to see how the site’s restoration will lead to any… Read more »

Last edited 12 days ago by Glwyo
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
12 days ago

As it’s Wales loves India year…

see ‘India’s Sandstone, how child labour makes the paving stones beneath our feet’ on today’s Guardian…

Pete Cuthbert
Pete Cuthbert
12 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Yes indeed. Surely if England wants hardcore then we have plenty of former coal mine tips that coud usefully be removed, most of which could easily be attached to the rail network since the mines once were. Are they asleep at the wheel in the Senedd?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
12 days ago
Reply to  Pete Cuthbert

Did they fit it with a wheel or a compass?

A ship of fools stranded on the dock in Desolation Bay…

Rob
Rob
12 days ago
Reply to  Pete Cuthbert

Approved by Julie James no less – member of Senedd for Swansea West with membership of Greenpeace, RSPB and other green related organisations for good measure. She was also, at the time, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Climate Change – I think she misunderstood her remit.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
12 days ago

So a German company extracting wealth from Wales for use in England and Scotland. Whats in it for Wales apart from 17 jobs? Whats in it for local residents aside from pollution and early death? Nothing.
Yet another rip off

TomTom82
TomTom82
12 days ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

Wealth is created by those who invest the money. Until someone mines the minerals they are nothing more than landfill. You talk about extracting wealth but it sounds to me you have little to no understanding of how it’s created. You probably think the world is a zero sum game.

Karl
Karl
11 days ago
Reply to  TomTom82

No you do, few jobs,Stone littered on roundabouts and more traffic congestion. That’s on top of the now hollow hill that exists and how close parts get metres from homes on on a man made cliff now. It brings little to the community, trucks come and go, not even spending in the town. Its wealth for somebody else and destruction tion for us.

Pen
Pen
11 days ago
Reply to  TomTom82

Stop apologizing for greedy grasping corporations.

The benefits should go towards Wales for its resources

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
11 days ago
Reply to  TomTom82

Your post doesn’t make sense. How is unmined quarry stone a landfill? Its countryside surely

David Parry
David Parry
11 days ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

Grow up for Pete’s sake. Do you want nothing in this country? Absolutely nothing? Well,you probably do.

Pen
Pen
11 days ago
Reply to  David Parry

So a few people who live outside of Wales gain all the wealth and yet we are meant to grow up.
Do you ever self reflect on the utter irrational nonsense you spew David. The utterances of bankrupt cowardice

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
11 days ago
Reply to  David Parry

No, this quarry is giving nothing to Wales but pollution and early death. All the benefits are outside Wales.

Ap Kenneth
12 days ago

Anyone living next to an ex-quarry that is now a tip has sympathy with this situation as in 25 years time there is a big hole that will be filled with filth. Have a little sympathy with the politcian as if all the advice and reports they receive says in effect “no problem” then grounds for refusal are difficult to argue with a lawsuit pending. I am sure the lady is right but without scientific evidence it is even then a difficult fight. Can they enlist the help of the local university or students doing a doctorate for controlled local… Read more »

TomTom82
TomTom82
12 days ago

I’m quite certain that quarry has existed longer than any living resident in this area. It’s like moving to Chernobyl and complaining about feeling ill.

Mel
Mel
12 days ago
Reply to  TomTom82

Yes the quarry been there for over 100 years so why would you buy a house by there then cry about it the Quarry as none slip stone for our roads you don’t mind driving on them do you

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
11 days ago
Reply to  Mel

For roads in England and Scotland with no benefit or profit for Wales. Your ok with that?

Pen
Pen
11 days ago
Reply to  TomTom82

There’s always people willing to apologize for wealth exploitation.
But who is paying you to do this? You have a limited life and you are spending your time defending something. If they aren’t paying you for this ,you are losing out

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
11 days ago
Reply to  TomTom82

People have lived in the area for generations

Myfanw
Myfanw
10 days ago
Reply to  TomTom82

This quarry is on a council house estate, these people had no choice! The quarry also promised to close a long time ago

Pen
Pen
11 days ago

I bet no profits benefit the local communities.

Exploitative colonialism without end

Glenn cook
Glenn cook
10 days ago

Should be happy that this brings jobs and secure employment

Jon
Jon
10 days ago
Reply to  Glenn cook

17 jobs for serious health implications of a village…
Did you even read the article?

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