Thursday 13 April 2023

Legal action considered against Welsh coal mine

Legal action considered against Welsh coal mine

Climate protestors are considering legal action, after coal mining has continued at a site where it was meant to stop last September.

Planning permission for digging coal at Ffos-y-Fran in South Wales ran out six months ago after 15 years – but the operator applied for an extension on this and is awaiting a response.

The UK’s largest opencast mine, Ffos-y-Fran is operated by Merthyr Ltd, which did not comment on the proceedings – stating it would be “inappropriate” to do so at this time.

Local residents and climate campaigners have slammed the continued mining, alleging the company has approved their own extension application without it having been given the green light by appropriate body.

Coal Action Network has also blamed the Welsh government and local council for not stepping in to prevent this from happening.

Since the approval ended in September, the UK Coal Authority released data showing that more than 100,000 tonnes of coal has been removed from the mine.

Daniel Therkelsen from Coal Action Group said: “If the application for extension that the company has filed is unsuccessful, then that coal isn’t going back into the void – it’s been sold, it’s gone. We cannot afford that in the midst of a climate crisis and it makes a mockery of the environmental commitments that the current Welsh government has been celebrated for.”

The application is set to be discussed by Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council this month, which would see mining continue until March 2024.

The council said: “It has been brought to the council's attention that coal production has continued at Ffos-y-Fran without the benefit of planning permission.”

A Welsh government spokesperson added: “Local planning authorities have powers to investigate claims of unauthorised development and are responsible, in the first instance, for considering enforcement action.”

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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