Aberthaw pollution case: UK defence "untenable"

The UK’s defence of Aberthaw power station’s sky-high pollution levels has been described as “untenable” by a senior legal advisor at the European Court of Justice. Environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth Cymru claim that the coal-fired power station costs society in Wales £950 million in environmental and health pollution every year.

Director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, Gareth Clubb, said:

Just two months ago we expected that RWE would announce full and final closure of Aberthaw power station within months. We also highlighted the Welsh Government’s total lack of action on retraining of workers seeking to leave this defunct industry.

“Now an Advocate General has described the UK’s defence of Aberthaw's pollution as untenable. Since at least 2001, Aberthaw power station has had no legal justification for emitting horrific amounts of toxic pollution into the atmosphere. This judgement spells disaster for Aberthaw. It’s very difficult to see how it can avoid permanent closure once the Court of Justice reaches its final verdict.

“But serious questions need to be asked of the Welsh Government, which has been sleepwalking on the implications for people’s livelihoods at Aberthaw. The Welsh Government must begin a programme of retraining for the workers both at Aberthaw power station and the coal mines in Wales that supply it.

“So while we’re delighted that Aberthaw - a polluter of European scale - is about to close, we need action from the Welsh Government to enable the workers to participate in the flourishing green economy”.

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