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Aberpergwm coal mine extension debated in court

Today, 6th February 2024, Coal Action Network was back in court, this time appealing last year’s decision by the court that the Welsh Government couldn’t prevent an extension at Aberpergwm coal mine. Our legal team believes the Welsh Government can, and we believe it should, stop the Aberpergwm extension—keeping 42 million tonnes of coal underground. At stake in this case is an additional 1.17 million tonnes of methane and up to 120 million tonnes of CO2 would be released.

Barristers Estelle Dehon KC and Asitha Ranatunga (Cornerstone Barristers), supported by Matthew McFeeley (Richard Buxton Solicitors), argued that there is a difference between the authorisation for a coal mine and the licensing for one, particularly in the conditional form.

While the specific legal argument is complicated, the case is really a question of whether the Wales Act (2017) means the Welsh Government, rather than the UK Government’s Coal Authority, gets the final say on whether the Aberpergwm coal mine extension can go ahead.

A much debated section reads:

Aberpergwm deep coal mine supplies 70% of its coal to Port Talbot steelworks, which is expected to significantly reduce its coal demand as it decarbonises.

Welsh Government policy, while not without loopholes, does make a stand against the extraction of coal. Should the 3 appeal judges decide that Coal Action Network’s legal team is correct, the Welsh Government will need to decide whether to allow the extension to happen. A ruling is expected in the next 6—12 weeks.

Published 06. 02. 2024

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Roger Geffen
Roger Geffen
13 days ago

Good on you for fighting this. Although I only have your account of the legal arguments to go on, they look convincing to me. Fingers crossed for a positive outcome!

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