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MSs call for tougher stance on controversial opencast coal mine

03 Aug 2023 3 minute read
Ffos-y-Fran opencast coal mine in Merthyr Tydfil.

Two MSs have called on authorities to take a tougher stance on the last remaining opencast coal mine in the UK.

The Ffos-y-Fran colliery in Merthyr Tydfil has continued operations despite its licence expiring more than 10 months ago.

Plaid Cymru’s Peredur Owen Griffiths and Delyth Jewell have welcomed the intervention of the Good Law Project, who plan to take legal action over the continuation of operations at the opencast mine.

The mine’s owner Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd has faced a number of campaigns demanding the site’s closure by both locals and climate campaigners.

Last year, Merthyr Tydfil Council rejected an application to extend the mine’s permission to operate – a decision which was welcomed by the First Minister, Mark Drakeford.

Expired

Speaking during a visit to the site, Peredur Owen Griffiths MS said: “It’s 15 year licence expired in September 2022 and that was supposed to be the end of it. As you can see from visiting the site, things are far from quiet and they are far from clean.

“The misery for local residents and the huge carbon footprint of this site goes on.”

He also said that the fact that the mine has remained open has “undermined public authorities and has potentially set a dangerous precedent for companies to ride roughshod over the will of the people and of the planning authorities.”

Delyth Jewell MS said: “The company behind this operation have serious questions to answer, and major problems have been exposed with our planning process by the fact that operations are still ongoing – 10 months and counting past the date they should have ended.

“This has been detrimental to the environment and it has been detrimental for local residents.

“We need tough action from the local authority and the Labour-controlled Government of Wales to bring this operation to an end.”

Ms Jewell also said the episode was reminiscent of Wales being exploited during the height of the coal industry.

“The mountains of our beautiful valleys bear the scars of industries and wealthy capitalists that exploited our mineral wealth, exploited our landscapes and exploited our people,” she said.

Mr Griffiths added: “We must also ensure that this site behind us is restored as was originally promised by the open cast company. No ifs, or buts.

“We cannot let history repeat itself. This is why we are pleased to see that the Good Law Project has taken on this matter and gone where the public authorities have been unable – or unwilling – to go.”


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Ap Kenneth
8 months ago

Does the Welsh Government know the meaning of their own Climate Emergency declaration – April 2019 ?

hdavies15
hdavies15
8 months ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

They are complicit in all this. Lots of rhetoric about net zero, climate, environment blah blah but they enjoy schmoozing with corporate top cats, makes them feel important. Sooner we turf this idle bunch of poseurs out of their cushy numbers then the sooner you’ll get some kind of prompt resolution.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago

It’s just getting farcical now. This company continues to mine with impunity for coal even though its license expired nearly a year ago? And to add to the locals of Merthyr’s misery. This company has also questioned its commitment to restore the landscape damaged by this colossus sinkhole. Why hasn’t the Welsh Government sent in the police to stop this illegality beggars belief?.

Jason
Jason
8 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Everyone involved probably having their pockets lined so why would they worry

Jason
Jason
8 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

You try leaving a dog poop and you’ll feel the full force of the council, destroy the countryside no problem

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
8 months ago

If nothing is done, by politicians, to force the immediate closure of this mine – what message will it give to other unscrupulous companies? Without regulation many businesses will exploit us in the name of profit. That is one of the reasons why Brexit was utter crap – the brexit ideal of virtually totally unregulated business just hurts us. That mine must shut now.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve A Duggan

Perhaps the police need to arrest the Directors of the Company and bring them to court. They are mining illegally, so a prison sentence does not seem to me to be too harsh a punishment. Do we need a petition to draw the attention of the Crown Prosecution Service to this felony?

hdavies15
hdavies15
8 months ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

Or have Drakeford arrested for sleeping on the job ? and while you are at it the local authority big wigs and the assorted agencies who should be on this case all need a thorough rinsing for this piece of negligence. Perhaps one day we’ll that this opencast operation for showing us how feeble our authorities really are.

The original mark
The original mark
8 months ago

This company is operating without a licence, so how does this work with the health and safety exec? This site could be shut down overnight, if the council, hse, or Welsh government deemed it appropriate, too many brown envelopes being passed around presumably

Doctor Trousers
8 months ago

You can guarantee that the police would show up quickly enough if anyone took it upon themselves to physically prevent this crime from continuing to be committed.

Tony Moncrieff
Tony Moncrieff
8 months ago

There all about the exploitation of our landscape and people when there no longer making money from it.. but giant wind farms across our mountains is ok. Before you say but there a cleaner benefit.. they may be but our energy companies still charge us the coal and gas fuel prices not the price to run the wind farms so we’re massively overcharged AND we lose our beautiful countryside so what’s the point!

Sikejsudjek
Sikejsudjek
8 months ago

How much C02 are you going to save by importing coal for steel production? Go on tell us. I’d love to know!

Sue
Sue
8 months ago

We will still be importing coal helping other countries economies sure it will not nelp us to net carbon zero drakeford needs a kick up the backside help your own country not others until every country stops using coal

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