Glan Lash extension to be decided

What's at stake?

Markets and CO2

The Planning Officer’s Report lends much weight to Bryn Bach Coal Ltd’s (BBCL) claim that most of the coal will be sent to non-burn end-use. BBCL has increased the proportion of coal it claims will go to non-burn end-use in successive versions of its application, without justification for these shifting proportions. The reality is that market conditions and the highest price would determine to which industry the coal would be sold. BBCL could at any time sell the mining rights to another company, as occurs at many coal mining sites, and that new company might choose to sell to other industries or export the coal as the Whitehaven proposal intends to. According to the BEIS Conversion Factors 2022, industrial application of the 94,900 tonnes of coal could total up to 229,000 tonnes of CO2.


Fugitive methane (a potent climate change accelerant) is released from directly from coal mines. Methane that escapes from coal mines globally must fall 11% each year until 2030 to meet IEA’s Net Zero 2030 Roadmap and avoid climate chaos. For each year of the proposed extension, researchers at Global Energy Monitor estimate 108 tonnes of methane will be released into the atmosphere at Glan Lash – totalling some 659 tonnes of methane. Increasing rather than decreasing this globally significant source of methane emissions breaches the IEA’s Net Zero 2030 Roadmap and does not conform to a globally responsible Wales.

Local ecology

The Planning Officer’s Report correctly identifies the shortcomings of the proposed replacement habitats, not least that new plantings are not commensurate with established habitats and the ecosystems they support, but the report stops short of pointing out that the habitats are unique and are not interchangeable and the criticisms of bio-diversity offsets. By way of crude analogy; someone who’s always lived in Carmarthen would not consider it the same if they had their house destroyed in Carmarthen but told they could move into another house in Merthyr Tydfil. We also highlight the Report’s reference to CCC’s independent ecologist’s point that equivalent biodiversity support from a newly planted woodland habitat (assuming it flourishes) will never catch up to that of the destroyed 2.48 Ha woodland habitat, had it not been destroyed – and that it would take 137 years to achieve what is currently supported. We question what the species of animals currently living in the existing habitat are to do for over a century in the intervening period. In a time of widespread habitat pressure, there isn’t clear evidence that animal life can be supported by neighbouring habitats to return later. Local populations, once wiped out, may never return. Growing climate change stresses on ecosystems necessitates established and robust habitats, existing biodiversity cannot wait 137 years for an established habitat. We do welcome the Planning Ecology Department’s determination that permitting this mine would be incompatible with both the Welsh Government and Carmarthenshire County Council declarations of a Climate and a Nature Emergency, as well as their respective responsibilities under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

Local opinion

Over 600 letters from Carmarthenshire residents have been sent to the Council in opposition to the opencast coal mine application and a demonstration is planned outside the Council building on the day of the decision meeting to show local support for a greener, kinder future.


The Planning Officer’s Report refers to the company’s claim that the washery and coal mine would employ 11 staff (3 new jobs) for the duration of the proposed extraction and the restoration period following cessation. We want to emphasise that 8 of those jobs, as well as the indirect jobs, are not dependent on the proposed coal mine extension but rather on the washery which has been operating without Glan Lash coal for years. So just 3 new, time-limited, jobs in a declining industry are at stake, and these would be required to restore the site for a period anyway. Jobs planting trees over jobs ripping them up.


What we're doing

  • We've created a form and encouraged Carmarthenshire residents to share their feelings about the proposed coal mine extension with Councillors through it. This can be used up until the meeting on morning of the 14th September 2023.
  • We've obtained drone footage showing the full scale of the coal mine to help residents and Councillors visualise it.
  • We've created a key facts and figures run-down of the coal mine so anyone can get clued up on the numbers around the Glan Lash opencast coal mine proposal.
  • We've emailed each Councillor who'll be deciding the fate of the Glan Lash opencast coal mine application, highlighting the weaknesses and flaws in the Planning Officer's Report.
  • We've worked with local residents to gather a crowd outside the Carmarthenshire County Council offices at the time of the decision meeting at 1000 on 14 September 2023.

Published: 13/09/2023

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