Residents outraged coal is still being mined at Ffos y Fran
Published: 23 May 2023
Photographic evidence taken by residents, and multiple drone footage, demonstrates that coal is still being mined at Ffos y Fran, despite the mine operator, Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd, no longer having permission to do so.
Coal Action Network have calculated that over 1000 tonnes of coal is being taken from the ground every day, which is 'the CO2 equivalent of burning 1.5 million litres of petrol'.
The planning permission to extract coal from the Ffos y Fran development ran out on 6 September 2022. Yet Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd continued coaling without permission, to the fury of residents and campaigners, while they waited for the outcome of their application to extend their planning permission until March 2024.
On 26 April 2023 Merthyr County Borough Council voted unanimously for mining to come to an end at Ffos y Fran for the sake of the planet, refusing to extend their permission.
This was a huge relief for residents like Chris and Alyson from Merthyr Friends of the Earth, who had been campaigning against the mine for over 20 years, but the victory ran hollow when they saw that nothing had changed. Coal was still being mined and removed from the site on a daily basis.
While Merthyr County Borough Council acknowledge that mining is still taking place at Ffos y Fran, to date, they have not taken any enforcement action, despite the power to do so lying with them.
This week Chris and Alyson Austin wrote to First Minister, Mark Drakeford, and all the Members of the Senedd, informing them of the situation and asking for their support.
Alyson and Chris Austin said:
'We're absolutely furious that coal is still being mined at Ffos y Fran, despite our councillors deciding, unanimously, to put an end to the coal mine last month. We know, because we see it with our own eyes every day! Truck after truck, laden with coal, loading and unloading. It's outrageous that it's still being allowed to happen. There shouldn't be a coal mine in Merthyr anymore. We are in a climate emergency and every single day matters. What is happening isn't right. We urge the Merthyr Council to put a stop to this now.'
Haf Elgar, Director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, said:
"It’s a disgrace that mining is continuing at Ffos y Fran despite the site not having had planning permission to extract coal for nearly 9 months now.
"Merthyr Councillors made it clear that this has to stop – they voted unanimously against giving further planning permission and made impassioned speeches about the impact on the climate and local residents. This must now be followed through, and the council must take immediate action to enforce their decision and stop the mining.
"This isn’t damage that can be undone – once the coal has been dug out and burned there’s no way of paying compensation to the planet. We’re in a climate emergency and have to act now."
Have your say
Ask Merthyr County Borough Council to take immediate action to enforce their decision to stop the mining at Ffos Y Fran. Email [email protected] today, quoting planning application reference P/22/0237 – Ffos y Fran.