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UK Government ‘riding roughshod’ over devolution by not vetoing Welsh coal mine expansion

05 Jan 2022 3 minutes Read
Coal. Picture by the Welsh Government

The UK Government have been accused of “riding roughshod over devolution” by failing to veto the expansion of a coal mine in the Neath Valley.

The Coal Authority is expected to decide soon whether the conditions have been met to allow work to begin at the Aberpergwm Coal Mine in the Neath Valley.

The Welsh Government has accused the UK Government of ignoring its wishes on the permit for the mine, which would see the company Energybuild Ltd dig up 7.3m tonnes of anthracite coal, which has the highest carbon content.

Deputy Climate Change Minister Lee Waters has previously said that they were opposed to the UK Government on the matter but the decision was out of their hands.

“We want to keep this coal in the ground, but the UK Government, because of the powers in place, threaten to sit by and watch this coal being extracted in the face of our wishes.,” he told the Senedd in November.

Today the Liberal Democrats also called for the UK Government to veto the plans, saying that it would be an affront to devolution not to do so.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said the project was totally unsuitable for a modern Wales” that was seeking to stop climate change.

“It is shameful that once again the Conservatives are riding roughshod over devolution in this case,” she said.

“The people of Wales now must unite in the campaign against this mine and show the Conservative Government that Wales deserves to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change and the green economy, not saddled with relics from the past.”

The UK Government have said that the Coal Authority and Welsh ministers are continuing to discuss the matter “but no decisions have been made yet on whether the mining project can progress.”

‘Harmful’

Jane Dodds, a Senedd member for mid and west Wales, added that it was “absolute madness” that the UK was potentially going ahead with the scheme after hosting the COP26 climate summit.

“Coal remains the dirtiest form of power on the planet and a new mine will result in new emissions being released at precisely the vital moment we are urgently trying to cut them,” she said.

“The pollution caused by coal mining and the burning of coal is utterly is unacceptable in the 21st century when a whole range of cleaner alternatives exist.

“Not only is coal a pollutant, but the process of mining also contributes heavily to water pollution and can lower water tables, damaging surrounding wildlife, farmlands and drinking water supplies.

“We also know that coal mining and the burning of coal is harmful not only to our planet but also to our health, with a clear link between pollution from the burning and mining of coal to lung cancer and a range of respiratory illnesses.”


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Marc Davies
Marc Davies
6 months ago

What a ridiculously biased article. Why have you excluded people who are not politicians who understand the need for allowing production at Aberpergwm for purposes such as water filtration and to supply our steel industry. Possibly speak to people operating the mine, and some of the miners whose livelihoods these virtue signalling politicians blithely dismiss. Welsh Government’s obsession with being seen as a green champion, and spending up to 60% of their budget on this chimera, is nothing but an absolute disgrace.

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago
Reply to  Marc Davies

It is becoming evident that Welsh government is determined to achieve zero carbon even if the rest of the world is chugging out smoke and dirt for ever. It is sad too because there were major developments in the technology pipeline aimed at extracting effluent streams in industrial and powergen processes and using those compounds for downstream second life products. This is the same madness that wants to kill off our agri and import faddish foods from other continents despite all the chatter about food miles. I guess avocado and other components of an elitist diet are exempt from criticism.… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
6 months ago
Reply to  Marc Davies

Are seriously saying you are happy for Whitehall to overrule the Welsh Government to impose a licence to mine? With this, they in the future could reopen former coal sites, for example in Merthyr, against the wishes of the Welsh Government & locals for opencast mining. Flood more valleys in Mid-Wales to supply water to English cities. Boris Johnson is an advocate having suggested creating new dams in Wales to supply the SE. This will happen. Wake up and take your head out from the sand. And whether those points you highlighted have merit or not, and how Welsh Labour… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Y Cymro
Y Cymro
Y Cymro
6 months ago
Reply to  Marc Davies

Whether the Welsh Government zero carbon aspiration for Wales is a pipe dream , and seeing likes of America , China & India continue to pump out greenhouse gases while expecting others to cut their emissions to save the planet,
but are you telling me with a straight face that you are at ease that Whitehall is imposing this on Wales and tramples over Senedd competency?

Last edited 6 months ago by Y Cymro
Dewi Williams
Dewi Williams
6 months ago
Reply to  Marc Davies

Marc your concern for the livelihoods of miners is worthy of you. However, the UK government is simply practising a deception again on the anticipated Welsh workforce in the belief that it will provide long term prosperity. One thing is certain, with the present demands set by global governments any renewed mining activity will be for the short term only. In the meantime dumped it on Wales they are use to doing the dirty work for the benefit of others. Coal mining has brought no long term benefits to Wales. Reputedly, our hard work in the most dangerous of industries… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago

There seems to be a bit of confusion in the UK Gov when it comes to coal mining, it put a stop to a deep mine in Cumbria last year and “called in ” the plans, with Kwasi Kwarteng saying there were “compelling reasons ” amid environmental concerns, to stop the project. How will they act here ?
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-17/minister-sees-compelling-reasons-to-block-new-u-k-coal-mine

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
6 months ago

More evidence that Europe was our friend and Westminster our enemy. Recently hypocrite Boris Johnson attended COP26 in Glasgow and warned about Global Warming and threat to the environment even though the Tories were pondering opening a new coal mine in Cumbria, and now this. How can this be? Our Senedd rejects this permit but the English Tory Government overrules our democratically elected government by again imposing itself on Wales. This action must be stopped either by the Welsh Government taking the Tory Government to court or the last resort direct action. Our rights are under threat. No part of… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
6 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Sorry, my mistake. You don’t do democracy. But I do. Hence my hostility to a Conservative idiocracy imposing its will on Wales when it’s not warranted or warranted If you read my post properly would realise that I was complaining about Senedd competency and how Boris Johnson’s Tory Government was effectively overruling Welsh Government wishes. The merit of the project, good or bad, is debatable, but it should not be foisted by Tory decree. That decision lies with Wales and the Welsh Government, and them alone. Oh, and it baffles me too how some Welsh people, I use that loosely,… Read more »

Royston Jones
6 months ago

We are down the rabbit-hole when the Left wants to deprive working class people of jobs and impose higher electricity bills while supporting foreign companies covering Wales in (no jobs) wind farms and hedge funds buying up farms for the carbon capture scam.

Truly, the Green-Woke-Left has abandoned the (white) working class and is now only interested in promoting issues that weaken the West.

Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago
Reply to  Royston Jones

Why has the fascist right wing UK Gov put a stop on a new coal mine in Cumbria England. Right wing fascists happy to see unemployment in England denying work for coal miners( of all skin colour)

Royston Jones
6 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

That’s another reason the Green-Woke-Left has become a self-parody – everybody’s a fascist!

Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago
Reply to  Royston Jones

Not everybody are fascists, just the UK Gov and its supporters..

Royston Jones
6 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

That’s nonsense. You cannot label everyone you disagree with or don’t like a ‘fascist’. It suggests either immaturity or lack of an argument. Possibly both.

le Charbonnier
le Charbonnier
6 months ago
Reply to  Royston Jones

100%

The article says. 1. The decision hasn’t been made yet. 2. It is a permit to extract more coal from an existing seam for the local steel industry – back story : as opposed to outside Wales

I am struggling as to how this is a bad thing.

Brian Clement
Brian Clement
6 months ago
Reply to  le Charbonnier

Exactly. Trouble is that a lot of the people who are opposing Aberpergwm are themselves from outside Wales, or are recent arrivals. They despise the indigenous proletariat, and are blinkered green acolytes. They do not understand our communities, and our traditions, and just want to alter us to favour their salvationist ideologies.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
6 months ago
Reply to  le Charbonnier

I assume you voted for Brexit with your anything goes attitude? Brexiteers voted to leave the EU on the premise they stole our power & sovereignty, a lie by the way, powers were freely given and all in the EU had a veto and Britain created many EU rules . Also , it was claimed by Leave & UKIP/Brexit Party how the EU foisted rules & regulation on Britain. And as soon as we left, the same Brexit supporting Tories imposed themselves on both Wales & Scotland with its power grab and intrusion into areas already devolved with their leveling… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Y Cymro
le Charbonnier
le Charbonnier
6 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

What does my voting persuasion matter?

If it gives Welsh people and allied industrie jobs for coal that would be bought from somewhere else who cares if the cast of Ru Paul’s Drag Race or Goebbels’ grandson makes the decision?

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
6 months ago
Reply to  Royston Jones

The rhetoric you use is the language of a fascist. Don’t like the truth? Tough!

Remember, It was you who referred to the (white) being abandoned. Right out of the fascist manual, Mein Kampf. Attack minorities by blaming societies Ills on them.

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago
Reply to  Royston Jones

,,,”the Green-Woke-Left has abandoned the (white) working class……”. I don’t think that that the diverse ethnicities that feature in the real working class rank particularly high in the priorities of the Green woke nihilists either. The only time they merit any consideration is when they are “adopted” for a convenient cause otherwise they too are abused or just ignored. This is the kind of faux superior thought leadership that is going to wreck Wales and the wider UK because it has reduced major issues to a remote subsidiary level while engaging in expensive virtue signaling and symbolic gesture politics.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
6 months ago
Reply to  Royston Jones

What are you oinking on about? Since when has privatisation meant cheaper electricity or water for Welsh working classes. You Conservative porkbellies have had your snouts in too many troughs to see over the swill. Who owns & controls most of the Dams in Mid- Wales. Not Dwr Cymru or our Senedd Cymru. Those dams are owned by English water companies and money made leaves Wales and goes into shareholders pockets & Whitehall Government coffers. You are a joke aren’t you. Most fascists are. The “Left” supporting foreign companies, lol. It was the Tories who sold off our utilities to… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
6 months ago

The right wingers on this postboard are ignoring the Point, which is about Johnson’s Brexit Gov. overriding our Senedd. Sure we want Welsh jobs for Welsh workers, but we want to achieve it by our own hands, and siding with Westminster to take it out of our Senedd’s hands is depressing when one considers some have recently called for unity
for Yes Cymru.

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago
Reply to  j humphrys

J H, the situation is becoming desperate. This is not a Right – Left issue at all. Indeed it’s high time that false dichotomy was binned permanently as the extremes of both polarities are monsters with similar stripes. With a Senedd only recently re elected with a majority only “by agreement” there is very little if any scope for democratic influence. Opposition is mainly occupied by Unionists who are engaged in their own diversionary and destructive agendas. The current ruling regime is far too wedded to an idealistic dogma to the exclusion of any rational examination of alternatives. At this… Read more »

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