Campaigners against a proposed opencast mine at the top of the Rhymney Valley have vowed to fight a planning appeal by the developer behind the scheme.
In August last year Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Planning Committee rejected an application for the Nant Llesg mine by developer Miller Argent in the face of strong local opposition.
The planned mine would have seen six million tonnes of coal mined over at least 14 years on a 478 hectare site, offering up to 239 jobs.
But a campaign led by residents, environmentalists and climate change activists urged councillors to go against the local authority’s planning officers and reject the application on the grounds of visual impact.
Miller Argent has now lodged an appeal with the Welsh Government’s Planning Inspectorate to build the mine between Fochriw and Rhymney.
United Valleys Action Group vice-chair Eddy Blanche said campaigners were ready for the fight.
He said: “We are more than prepared as we knew there would be a very good chance Miller Argent would put their appeal in.
“We will continue to fight them. The council don’t want the mine and nor do we.”
In a written statement to Caerphilly Observer, Miller Argent confirmed it had submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) on December 23 last year.
It said: “The decision to refuse was against the advice of the council’s own professional officers, who recommended that the planning committee accept the proposal with particular regard to the significant economic and social benefits it would bring.
“We know that many local people were disappointed by the refusal. However, Miller Argent are fully committed to the Nant Llesg project which could bring up to 239 highly paid jobs and considerable inward investment to the Rhymney Valley, as well as millions of pounds worth of additional benefits to the local community.
“A copy of the documents submitted to PINS was sent to Caerphilly County Borough Council.
“This matter is now primarily the responsibility of the Planning Inspectorate and they will make it clear over time what the process and procedure will be for the consideration of the appeal.”