Protesters say no to Nant Llesg open cast mine in Rhymney Valley
News | | Published: 10:59, Wednesday April 23rd, 2014.
Last updated: 12:10, Wednesday April 23rd, 2014
A protest against the proposed Nant Llesg open cast mine near Rhymney attracted 200 people outside Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Penallta House offices.
A ‘funeral procession’ took place on April 22 symbolising what protesters see as ‘the death of the valley’ should the mine go ahead.
The planned mine would be located north of Fochriw and west of Rhymney and developers say up to 239 jobs could be created.
Company Miller Argent said up to six million tonnes of coal would be extracted over 17 years and £12.9 million will be invested annually in the local area.
But campaigners from the ‘Green Valleys Alliance’ argue that the environmental impacts of dust, noise and light pollution would outweigh the economic benefits of job creation.
The group commissioned a report by the Welsh Economy Research Unit at Cardiff University that said although up to 260 jobs could be created, current companies located in the area could loose investment and relocate.
The report claims this will create a loss of over £28 million to the local economy.
Mitchell Field employs 140 people at Richards and Appleby Ltd in Rhymney and said: “The evidence we have found from looking at similar mines across the UK indicates the impact of a mine like this would not just be on people’s quality of life and health.
“It would also have a significant effect on the environment and the long term economic future of the area.
“As the UK government has recently announced funding to help close two of the UK’s remaining deep coal pits, it seems ludicrous that we are having to fight proposals for a ‘safer’ open cast coal mine when it is clearly an energy form that has had its day.
“We hope that Caerphilly Council listens to the concerns of local residents and local businesses and sees sense when it reviews the proposals as this is going to have nothing but a negative impact on the area.
Neil Brown, Managing Director at Miller Argent said: “Similar concerns were raised by protestors when we started work on our Ffos-y-fran site, which have proven to be groundless.”
“As part of our planning application we have undertaken in-depth studies into potential environmental, health, economic and social impacts and are confident our scheme meets the stringent standards required by government organisations.
“The scheme will bring huge benefits to the area, including hundreds of new jobs, a multi-million pound community benefit fund and much needed investment into the local economy.”
A spokesman for Caerphilly County Borough Council, said: “We appreciate the strength of feeling in the community and we are happy to accommodate any group of residents who wish to show their objections by taking part in an organised, peaceful protest outside our premises.
“We would like to assure those involved that all objections will be carefully considered as part of the detailed determination of the planning application over the coming months.”