Still no decision on Varteg open cast mine plan
4:36pm Thursday 3rd January 2013 in News
PLANS to open cast mine in the Varteg still hang in the balance, a year after the public inquiry.
It is now approaching 12 months since the inquiry was heard into Torfaen council’s rejection of plans for an open cast mine, leaving opponents to the scheme in the dark as to whether they will need to continue the fight.
Member of the No Campaign, who are against open cast mining in the area, Rev Priscilla Pearson, said: “We were originally told we would have the decision in the summer but it has just gone on from there.
“Weare just left wondering. If the delay means that they are thoroughly going through information presented then we welcome this. But all involved would like to see a decision made as we have been waiting so long.”
Torfaen’s AM, Lynne Neagle, has also written to the minister for the environment and sustainable development, John Griffiths, raising concerns about how long the Varteg planning appeal is taking.
In January 2011, the council rejected the planning application from Glamorgan Power to extract 325,000 tonnes of coal at Varteg, near Pontypool, because of concerns over dust and noise pollution.
The firm appealed against the decision, sparking the public inquiry, which was held at the end of January and early February 2012.
The inquiry lasted around eight days, overseen by Welsh Government appointed officer Clive Nield, who heard arguments for and against plans for opencast mining. Glamorgan Power said the proposal is the only way to achieve reclamation of the land.
But hundreds of local residents opposed the proposals including teachers and parents from Ysgol Bryn Onnen, just 120 metres away for the planned site.
A spokesman for the Welsh Government said work is progressing but they are not in a position to say when the decision is likely.