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Councillors urged to reject proposal to extract from opencast coal mine

12 Sep 2023 3 minute read
Glan Lash open cast coal mine – Nigel Davies is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Councillors at Carmarthenshire County Council will this week decide whether to back a recommendation to reject a proposal for further extraction from the Glan Lash opencast coal mine.

If approved, up to 95,000 tonnes more coal could be extracted from the mine near Ammanford.

Council officials have recommended the plans are refused on environmental grounds with campaigners warning an extension of the mine could threaten the delicate ecology and wildlife of the surrounding area, especially the Caeau Mynydd Mawr Special Area of Conservation.

Residents and environmental campaigners will gather outside Carmarthenshire County Hall ahead of the planning meeting on Thursday (14 September) to show their opposition and call for an end to all fossil fuel extraction in Wales.

More than 600 people have written to the council to voice their objection to the mine.

While the mine’s operator has claimed that the coal will not be burnt, campaigners say any further extraction of coal would release harmful methane into the atmosphere – one of the main greenhouse gases that contributes to the climate crisis.

Policy

Magnus Gallie, a planning specialist at Friends of the Earth, said: “We urge councillors to follow the advice of their council and say no to this application to mine more coal at Glan Lash.

“We are in a nature as well as a climate emergency. As the ecologist’s report makes clear, digging up this coal would be a serious threat to wildlife and biodiversity in Carmarthenshire.

“Future generations will not thank us if we allow veteran trees to be pulled up, irreplaceable habitats to be obliterated and endanger rare marsh fritillary butterflies.

“Most of the coal, we’re told, will be used for water filtration and other uses. But digging up coal is damaging, even if it’s not being burned, because it adds to global supplies and releases more harmful methane. We also cannot be sure this coal won’t end up being burned.

“Welsh Government policy prohibits the licensing and permitting of new coal mines, except in ‘wholly exceptional circumstances.’ As alternatives to coal-use in water filtration are readily available, the application fails to meet these strict policy requirements.

“It’s vital that councillors make the right decision and send a strong message that Wales is a globally responsible nation.”

Heritage

In April, councillors in Merthyr Tydfil decided unanimously to reject an application to continue mining at Ffos y Fran opencast mine.

Campaigners are now urging councillors in Carmarthenshire to make the same decision.

Haf Elgar, Director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, said: “It’s hard to believe that, in 2023, when the effects of climate change are being felt so deeply by so many, here in Wales, and across the world, that we’re even considering digging up more coal.

“Heatwaves, wildfires, flooding – extreme weather is becoming part of our lives. Now is the time to be bold and think of the generations that follow us.

“By saying no to more coal at Glan Lash, the last opencast mine in Wales, we can finally put an end to open cast mining in Wales – for good. Let’s use this opportunity to make coal part of our heritage, not our future.”


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Frank
Frank
7 months ago

Nigel Davies has been mentioned in the caption under the photo, whoever he is, but what I want to know is if this company is Welsh owned or part of a huge UK or global coal mining operation?

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