Controversial Varteg mine plan set for new bid

TORFAEN'S AM promised an energy company "the fight of their lives" over controversial plans to mine 256,000 tonnes of coal in the Varteg which could be going back before Torfaen council.

Following the news that Glamorgan Power Company Ltd, has informed the council that it is considering submitting a new planning application, just four months after the previous plan was refused by Welsh minister Carl Sargeant, a meeting was held to update people about the pre-planning application enquiry.

A seminar was called on Monday to update councillors, concerned residents and representatives of the school, Ysgol Bryn Onnen, who packed into the public gallery.

Leading the seminar was chief planning and public protection officer at Torfaen council, Duncan Smith.

He said that this type of enquiry was common practice, but said that “as it's on a controversial application, we thought it only right to let you know.”

Torfaen AM, Lynne Neagle, said: “Local residents have spent years in a state of limbo with the threat of this development hanging over their heads – it is just not acceptable.

“Of course we’ll have to await the detail, but what I do know, is that overwhelmingly people in Varteg simply don’t want this on their doorstep.

“ Working with local residents and campaigners, I will do everything I can to see these latest proposals defeated - Glamorgan Power are facing the fight of their lives.”

Mr Smith told the seminar that the council refused the application in 2011 due to its proximity to houses, this led to an inquiry in 2012, and the then minister John Griffiths sent a letter stating he was minded to allow it.

In November 2013, the minister for housing and regeneration, Mr Sargeant, refused to grant outline planning permission for the land reclamation and coal recovery scheme at Varteg Hill.

In January this year, the company approached the council advising that it is considering a new planning application and they want to work with the council to identify feasible options.

Mr Smith explained that the minister thought the application was ‘environmentally acceptable’, despite school children being taught only 120 metres from the proposed mine and houses being within 500 metres.

The minister, however, did not accept that the benefits of the scheme justified working within 500m of the settlement, and since no evaluation of alternative options had been carried out, it could not be concluded that the proposed development was the most effective solution.

Another reason for refusal was in regard to the unilateral undertaking, and the minister remained concerned that there was insufficient detail to satisfy him that funding would be available to complete the restoration should the developer fail to do so.

So the company is now seeking to address these points, but Mr Smith said there has not been an application received yet.

Comments (5)

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9:15am Thu 3 Apr 14

varteg1 says...

RepresentAives of Ysgol Bryn Onnen packed the gallery?

These couLdn't be the dame reps as parents who pack the approach roads to the Ysgol every morning and afternoon with their cars and buses could it ?.

The vehicles that for a while twice a day generate far more fumes and dust that the proposed opencast is like, and at a much closer proximity to the Ysgol than the proposed works will be, not forgetting that once started the works will very rapidly move away from the Ysgol as it progresses northwards.

As for the AM stating GP will be engaged in a "fight of their lives", and just who will lead the fight, what will the army be composed of?.

Perhaps having failed to present a sufficiently strong case against at the inquiry, they have some new and more compelling evidence to present that will surmount that of all the scientific evidence presented, and that will overcome the fact that Sargent actually accepted the Ysgol would not be seriously affected anyway.

The whole matter has been a bandwagon on which people have jumped with any sort of rational thought, other than they have some antipathy to workings of any sort and which invariably does not impact on them to any great degree.

These people had the opportunity to attend the inquiry to present their 'evidence' and lodge complaints, they chose to not be bothered, and those few that did attend were strangeley silent during the whole of the sittings, as for our AM, her contribution was hardly compelling or even articulated
On the other hand, from GP and it's representatives, came more than enough properly resourced and researched evidence that persuaded the Inspector that the project was both viable and comprehensive.

It is evident that the Council, once the raised items are clarified, will no longer be in a position to maintain a antipathy, which will in turn force the Minister to retract his objections and follow the example set by his predecessor in allowing the project to proceed just as he has done with the race track in B Gwent.
RepresentAives of Ysgol Bryn Onnen packed the gallery? These couLdn't be the dame reps as parents who pack the approach roads to the Ysgol every morning and afternoon with their cars and buses could it ?. The vehicles that for a while twice a day generate far more fumes and dust that the proposed opencast is like, and at a much closer proximity to the Ysgol than the proposed works will be, not forgetting that once started the works will very rapidly move away from the Ysgol as it progresses northwards. As for the AM stating GP will be engaged in a "fight of their lives", and just who will lead the fight, what will the army be composed of?. Perhaps having failed to present a sufficiently strong case against at the inquiry, they have some new and more compelling evidence to present that will surmount that of all the scientific evidence presented, and that will overcome the fact that Sargent actually accepted the Ysgol would not be seriously affected anyway. The whole matter has been a bandwagon on which people have jumped with any sort of rational thought, other than they have some antipathy to workings of any sort and which invariably does not impact on them to any great degree. These people had the opportunity to attend the inquiry to present their 'evidence' and lodge complaints, they chose to not be bothered, and those few that did attend were strangeley silent during the whole of the sittings, as for our AM, her contribution was hardly compelling or even articulated On the other hand, from GP and it's representatives, came more than enough properly resourced and researched evidence that persuaded the Inspector that the project was both viable and comprehensive. It is evident that the Council, once the raised items are clarified, will no longer be in a position to maintain a antipathy, which will in turn force the Minister to retract his objections and follow the example set by his predecessor in allowing the project to proceed just as he has done with the race track in B Gwent. varteg1
  • Score: 1

4:15pm Thu 3 Apr 14

BUDDAH WELSH says...

Why don't you shut up John (THRUSH)
Why don't you shut up John (THRUSH) BUDDAH WELSH
  • Score: -3

5:17pm Thu 3 Apr 14

varteg1 says...

BUDDAH WELSH wrote:
Why don't you shut up John (THRUSH)
Once again this prat comes back with absolutely nothing but stupidity.

Just for once have a go at countering my constructive and irrefutable remarks and comments instead of demonstrating to the readership what a moron you truly are.
If you cannot, then it's you that needs to shut up.
[quote][p][bold]BUDDAH WELSH[/bold] wrote: Why don't you shut up John (THRUSH)[/p][/quote]Once again this prat comes back with absolutely nothing but stupidity. Just for once have a go at countering my constructive and irrefutable remarks and comments instead of demonstrating to the readership what a moron you truly are. If you cannot, then it's you that needs to shut up. varteg1
  • Score: 0

12:49pm Sun 6 Apr 14

ron phillips says...

if glamorgan power co. want to go for it again ,i for one will give it my best shot to stop it and call for all like minded people to do the same.
if glamorgan power co. want to go for it again ,i for one will give it my best shot to stop it and call for all like minded people to do the same. ron phillips
  • Score: 0

7:25pm Sun 13 Apr 14

varteg1 says...

ron phillips wrote:
if glamorgan power co. want to go for it again ,i for one will give it my best shot to stop it and call for all like minded people to do the same.
The question has to be, were you in attendance at the inquiry? if no, second question, will you be able to attend any further inquiry?
But more telling, will you be able to provide other than emotive claptrap as some sort of evidence that will cause the inspector, Council, or the Minister,
( I disregard the Am as she is about as much use to the anti brigade as a sandal in the Arctic) to alter the outcome?

Having made a serious study of all the evidence presented to the Inspector, and found nothing to change my mind or alter my support for the project, I seriously doubt any further protesting will come to much.

Take away the school matter, which is of infinitesimal import anyway, considering the amount of pollution it generates with all the kids being transported in by vehicular traffic, and what is left?

So shout and bawl as much as you wish, I doubt you will make any impression.

As for 'like minded people' many of whom live many miles from the proposed site of operations, they had their shot, but could not match or even come anywhere near to the evidence provided by the consultants engaged and consulted by Glamorgan Power
[quote][p][bold]ron phillips[/bold] wrote: if glamorgan power co. want to go for it again ,i for one will give it my best shot to stop it and call for all like minded people to do the same.[/p][/quote]The question has to be, were you in attendance at the inquiry? if no, second question, will you be able to attend any further inquiry? But more telling, will you be able to provide other than emotive claptrap as some sort of evidence that will cause the inspector, Council, or the Minister, ( I disregard the Am as she is about as much use to the anti brigade as a sandal in the Arctic) to alter the outcome? Having made a serious study of all the evidence presented to the Inspector, and found nothing to change my mind or alter my support for the project, I seriously doubt any further protesting will come to much. Take away the school matter, which is of infinitesimal import anyway, considering the amount of pollution it generates with all the kids being transported in by vehicular traffic, and what is left? So shout and bawl as much as you wish, I doubt you will make any impression. As for 'like minded people' many of whom live many miles from the proposed site of operations, they had their shot, but could not match or even come anywhere near to the evidence provided by the consultants engaged and consulted by Glamorgan Power varteg1
  • Score: 0

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