A long awaited victory against Welsh opencast

We did it, Nant Llesg has been saved from the ravages of opencast coal mining! This piece of land which above the villages of Rhymney, Fochriw, Bedlinog, Pontlottyn. Deri, Abertwsswg will not be blown into pieces to be tossed up into the wind and end up down to the valley, inhaled or to turn the landscape black once more. The Rhas Las pond will not be capped, the HGVs on the road to the Ffos-y-fran rail head terminal will not increase. This is an incredible result.


United Valley’s Action Group have won a hard fought five year battle. Their perseverance is commendable and their foe was once mighty.


On the 19th September 2018 the Welsh Government confirmed that the opencast would not go ahead, as the coal company failed to provide necessary documents to the appeal. Members of this community group have stayed up all night reading every legal document submitted and formed responses; demonstrated to the council and against Miller Argent; lost dear friends along the way; occupied the opencast along with Reclaim the Power and told everyone who will listen of the ills of opencasting.


Miller Argent’s 2015 opencast plans for Nant Llesg were unanimously rejected, by the council. The coal company then appealed, but wanted to change some of the details of the opencast and the appeal languished in uncertainty. Local people wanted a decision. Meanwhile Aberthaw power station, near Barry, stopped burning Welsh coal. The power station had been the main consumer of Ffos-y-fran’s coal and was expected to be the same for Nant Llesg. This made the viability of an opencast at Nant Llesg look less clear.


United Valley’s Action Group has shown the incredible power of small groups of people working with bigger networks. This is not their first major victory. They also stopped Covanta’s plans for an incinerator and have got the Rhas Las pond dam on the Nant Llesg site designated as a Scheduled Monument.


UVAG were joined by Reclaim the Power, Bristol Rising Tide, Friends of the Earth, Stop Climate Change Cymru, RSPB and Coal Action Network to bring about this result.


Coal Action Network’s response, to the amazing news that Nant Llesg was saved, has been slow. We found out on the same day that activist Steffen Horst Meyn died in the Hambacher forest occupation. This does not stop the protection of Nant Llesg being a significant victory, but does show that we fight against an international problem which sometimes has the most severe consequences.


Well done to all those who fought and won, keeping the coal in the ground!

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