We arrived outside the Cardiff courts to press teams and a strong demonstration in support of our case for a more sustainable future in Wales and the UK—one that cannot have coal in it. Welsh people are standing up to say they want to carve out a future that doesn’t carve up more of their land for coal mining, and don’t want Wales to fuel further climate chaos – the effects of which are already being felt there with flooding and storms.
Recommended background: illustrated guide to how a coal mine gets permission in the UK.
Coal Action Network’s Barrister, Estelle Dehon KC—with Richard Buxton Solicitors—opened on the morning of 15th March with a blistering argument laying out what has happened and why:
In the afternoon, the Welsh Minister’s Barrister set out their argument for why the Welsh Government’s approval is not required for the Aberpergwm extension full licence to be valid, and that the Wales Act 2017 cannot be applied.
If the judge accepts that the Welsh Government’s approval (or lack of) applies to the authorisation, then the Wales Act 2017 is applicable, and the Welsh Government’s approval will be needed for the Aberpergwm coal mining licence to be valid.
If the judge instead decides that the Welsh Government’s approval applies to the original conditional licence, then Welsh Government approval isn’t required as the conditional licence dates back to 1996 prior to the Wales Act coming into force.. That would mean that the Aberpergwm coal mine can mine under the new licence, adding up to 100 million tonnes of CO2 and 1.17 million tonnes of methane to our atmosphere.
If the judge accepts that the Coal Industry Act does indeed give the Coal Authority the power to apply other considerations to a coal mine application. The Coal Authority may have to redecide the Aberpergwm application, and it would then be hard for the Coal Authority to ignore that the Welsh Ministers have stated the coal mine extension would be incompatible with Welsh climate targets.
If the judge decides, however, that the Coal Authority can only consider a narrow list of criteria when deciding a conditional or full licence as wider considerations were given in 1996 or 2013. UK law would need to be changed in Westminster to bring the Coal Industry Act in line with the UK Government’s own climate commitments.
A Coal Action Network staff member present at the hearing described said: “It was a real privilege to watch our legal team, Barrister Estelle Dehon KC of Cornerstone Barristers and Matthew McFeeley of Richard Buxton Solicitors, perform with such skilful articulation and clarity in the courtroom today. The case presented showed the flaws in the Welsh Ministers’ and the Coal Authority’s arguments and the barrister for the Welsh Ministers was reduced at one point to arguing to the judge that “her lady should not get caught up on the wording of the law and licence…” (this is literally what the law is based on). We feel confident that our legal team has made convincing and consistent arguments rooted in the law to persuade the judge to find in favour of our claim. We want to thank everyone that supported our crowdfunder to make this hearing possible—we couldn’t have done it without your support”.
We are an environmental organisation dedicated to ending coal mining and use in the UK for the sake of our collective climate and ecosystems. So you’d think we’d celebrate the claim by Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd that it will finally stop mining coal today at Ffos-y-fran in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. But we’re not. Because the abject failure of Merthyr County Borough Council to stop…
People hailing from Cumbria to London, and everywhere in between, descended on the Mines and Money Conference in London across two days (28th-29th Nov 2023). We demanded that investors stop pouring cash into the mining sector, and instead invest in our collective future. Together with Fossil Free London and other groups, we greeted investors with…
The insurers that have ruled out underwriting the mine are AEGIS Managing Agency, Argenta Syndicate Management, Hannover Re and Talanx. These are the first financial institutions to rule out any involvement with the project, and the win represents a new phase in the campaign to stop the project from going ahead.
Today’s global actions focused specifically on the state-owned China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure), the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim), and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). Sinosure is said to be in advanced talks with the Ugandan government about providing credit for the project.
On 18th October dozens of protesters staged a sit-in occupation of the plush City of London offices of ten Lloyd’s of London insurers demanding they rule out insuring the proposed West Cumbria coal mine and East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
Global mining companies are coming to London soon attempting to find investors in their ruinous projects at the Mines and Money Conference (28th to 30th November). Join our protests against it!
01 September 2022: Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd applies for a S.73 time extension to mine coal from Ffos-y-fran, and to accordingly delay and vary restoration works.
06 September 2022: Planning permission ends for coal mining at the Ffos-y-fran site, after 15 years and 3 months of operations.
12 September 2022: first reports to MTCBC have been made by local residents of coaling beyond the end of planning permission.
Over 30 Welsh NGOs and businesses have signed a letter to Welsh Minister Julie James and Deputy Minister Lee Waters, demanding they draw a line in the sand and announce ban on any further coal mines on Welsh soil. The letter was delivered on 11th October 2023.
On 15th September 2023, The Guardian reported that Tata Steel accepted Government funding to avoid closing its steelworks in Port Talbot, South Wales, by decarbonising it instead – but at a loss of up to 3,000 jobs. The UK Government is providing £500 million, and Tata Steel is expected to provide another £725 million…