Minister pledges to answer Varteg questions
7:12am Friday 6th December 2013 in News
VARTEG campaigners have welcomed the news that a Welsh minster has agreed to answer questions on their calls to introduce a 500m buffer between opencast mines and homes.
Minister for housing and regeneration, Carl Sargeant, has agreed to appear before the National Assembly’s Petitions Committee in February to answer questions about the petition entitled Make the Minerals Techincal Advice Note (MTAN) law.
Those who have campaigned against opencast mining at the Varteg have been calling for the guidelines of a buffer between opencast mining and homes to be made law and submitted a petition to the Assembly.
The hope is that if it is made law, then opencast mining will never be able to proceed in the Varteg as there are homes within this distance of the proposed mine.Ysgol Bryn Onnen is just 120 metres away.
Campaigner, John Cox said: “Its welcome news as it has previously been postponed twice, but this is a step in the right direction.
“If it is made law then it would not only affect the future of the Varteg, but the whole of opencast mining in Wales.”
The news follows Mr Sargeant’s decision to dismiss the appeal by Glamorgan Power Company Ltd and refuse to grant outline planning permission for land reclamation and coal recovery scheme at Varteg Hill.
The decision came after Welsh Government-appointed inspector Clive Nield had recommended to the minister earlier this year that the appeal from Glamorgan Power against Torfaen council’s rejection of plans for the opencast mine, be allowed.
Reasons given include that a unilateral undertaking submitted raises the question of whether realistic assessments have been made with regards to the likely cost of the restoration works.
The report, signed by the minister, states that the undertaking proposed for an initial security sum of £2,870,775 to be put in an account held by the council in its name to carry out restoration works, site clearance and aftercare works.
But the report states the sum is larger than that proposed at the inquiry and that there is little information provided on the justification for the levels of costing for some parts of the restoration works.
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