Friends of the Earth ask Welsh Govt to stop ‘unlawful’ mining at Ffos-y-Fran
The climate emergency charity, Friends of the Earth have written to the Climate Change Minister, asking the Welsh Government to use its powers to stop mining at Ffos y Fran, an opencast mine on the outskirts of Merthyr Tydfil.
On 30 June 2023, the organisation wrote to Welsh Government and Merthyr Council requesting a stop notice be issued without delay.
As the council have not issued a stop notice to date, Friends of the Earth are now urging Welsh Ministers to do so as soon as possible.
The letter to Julie James MS states: ‘It is imperative [Welsh Ministers] take this action immediately to stop any further extraction and to limit any further, irrevocable, harm to the climate.
“As you will know we are in a worsening climate emergency. The continued coaling will only add to this, to the detriment of current and future generations.”
Even though the permission to mine coal ran out on 6 September 2022, the mining continues to this day, even after councillors at Merthyr Tydfil Council planning committee unanimously rejected their application for an extension in April.
Photographic evidence taken by residents, and multiple drone footage, demonstrates that coal is still being mined at Ffos y Fran, despite the mine operator, Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd, no longer having permission to do so.
An enforcement notice against the operator of Ffos-y-Fran was due to take effect on Tuesday 27 June, which would have given them 28 days to stop mining, but at the last minute the operator appealed the enforcement order.
The appeal process could take many months and the Friends of the Earth have warned that if action isn’t taken, mining will continue at the site.
In their letter, Friends of the Earth state that if action is not taken it will send a “terrible signal that unlawful coaling is tolerated in Wales, despite your climate policies to the contrary”.
Haf Elgar, Director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, said: “It is disgraceful that mining is being allowed to continue at Ffos y Fran, against the wishes of the local community and to the detriment of the planet.
“For Wales to be seen as a climate leader, Welsh Government must act now to stop the mining, and use their powers to stop the mining without delay.”
Magnus Gallie, Planning specialist, Friends of the Earth, said: “Unless Welsh Government ministers rise to the challenge and serve the stop notice it seems inevitable that the unlawful mining will continue over the coming months and even years.
“Ministers must act now to protect the climate and to demonstrate to other mineral operators that ‘gaming’ of the planning system will no longer be tolerated.”
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