Torfaen community ‘left in limbo’ by long wait for Varteg mining decision
3:10pm Thursday 31st January 2013 in News
THE long wait for a decision on a Pontypool opencast mine has been branded unacceptable by Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle.
Ms Neagle said: “Everyone is growing increasingly fed up at the amount of time this is taking, it’s totally unacceptable.
“Local people, and pupils and teachers at nearby Ysgol Bryn Onnen, have been left in limbo.”
After the council refused the application to extract 325,000 tonnes of coal at Varteg due to concerns over dust and noise pollution in January 2011, the developers, Glamorgan Power, launched an appeal.
The appeal inquiry, overseen by Welsh Government-appointed officer Clive Nield, was heard in January last year.
The Welsh Government, which will have the final say over the application, originally indicated a decision would probably be taken late last June, after the planning inspector submitted his report in April, but the decision has yet to be made.
Ms Neagle, who spoke against the plans at the inquiry, has written to the minister responsible, John Griffiths, on several occasions.
Mr Griffiths responded to Ms Neagle on January 17, he said: “This case has been delayed due to the many and competing demands within the planning division.
“This case will, however, be decided in the very near future.”
Commenting on the letter, Ms Neagle said: “People understand that these things take time to work through the system, but the community has been waiting long enough, we need a decision soon on the future of the Varteg.”
Ysgol Bryn Onnen head teacher Ryan Parry said: “The school remains fully opposed and thinks it will have a negative effect on the school and the local community.”
A member of the campaign group set up to fight the plan, Elaine Sargent, said: “I can’t understand why it is taking so long.
“I have real sympathy for those living so close to the proposed site as the worry must be a great strain on them.”