Residents vow to fight new Varteg mining plan

South Wales Argus: OPPOSITION: : Lynne Neagle AM with residents who are against plans to opencast mine at The Varteg OPPOSITION: : Lynne Neagle AM with residents who are against plans to opencast mine at The Varteg

PEOPLE in Blaenavon are again preparing to fight moves to open cast mine 256,000 tonnes of coal from Varteg.

Just six months after the plan was refused by Welsh minister Carl Sargeant, Torfaen Council confirmed that Harmers, the agents acting on behalf of Glamorgan Power, have requested a scoping opinion for the information to be provided for an environmental assessment. This is usually a precursor to the submission of a planning application.

This has sparked fresh concerns from staff at Ysgol Bryn Onnen, which is only 120 metres from the proposed mine.

The chairman of the governors, Boyd Hackley-Green, said that they “continue to be amazed and frustrated”.

Torfaen Council refused the application in 2011 due to its proximity to houses, which led to an inquiry in 2012.

Last November, the minister for housing and regeneration, Mr Sargeant, refused to grant outline planning permission. He thought the application was “environmentally acceptable”, but did not accept that the benefits of the scheme justified working within 500m of the settlement.

The minister was also 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.

Speaking on the matter, Mr Hackley-Green called the rejection “weak”.

He said: “It clearly left the door wide open for yet another attempt to rip this wonderful community to pieces.

“We have a duty to protect our children, school and way of life.”

The Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales East, Lindsay Whittle, said he is fully behind the opposition shown by the governors.

He added: “The potential impact on health makes any mining totally unacceptable.”

Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle has worked with campaigners who have called for the Welsh Government guidelines, Mineral Technical Advice Note, which says that a 500m buffer zone should exist around opencast workings, to be made law.

She said: “I intend to do everything I can to ensure this latest application is thrown out too, especially as their plans remain in clear breach of the guidance on buffer zones.”

As the community prepares to fight any new planning application, a Varteg Land Reclamation Liaison Group has been formed.

The group’s chairman Tony Kinsella explained that the group will work to keep the community informed by holding meetings.

Comments (4)

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5:56pm Wed 11 Jun 14

varteg1 says...

It;s about time the protest realised that when approving the application the inspector had taken ALL data into account,

The inquiry was set in motion by the Assembly, and it has a moral duty to abide by the findings of the inquiry.

The demonstrable weakness of the protest came into focus when it presented no viable counter ton the applicants proposal, and the previous Minister raised no serious objections to it going ahead.

Once again we have these protesters playing on the emotional, which was rejected by the Inspector.

Then along comes Carl Sargent with his rather blurry reasons,first he was not satisfied about the restitution funding,and a watery reference, in passing to the proximity of the Ysgol, all of which the Inspector found to be of little concern considering various factors such as the progressive northern travel of the works when in progress, also rejected was the concerns about water management, as any common sense view can comprehend, there will be no addition water being discharged from the site as there are no water runs of any size entering or leaving the site at present.

Nagles constant harping on the 500 metre buffer zone with her demand to have it set in law, is rather silly as it is obvious no administration would be stupid enough to make such a concrete proposal for fear of it being used as a barrier to any further workings such as land reclamation, or as in the case of the proposed race track on the Heads of the Valleys road, which by the way is proposed to constructed well within 500 metres of homes, and places of work, some of which at the moment are housing FOOD processing operations. I believe there is also a school in the vicinity. Then not only will those nearby be faced with a couple of years of dust and noise etc, whilst construction takes place, they will forever be subjected to the massive amounts of vehicle attendance the events are likely to attract, week in week out.
Add to that the suggested 50 millions the Assembly is rumoured to be offering, the Varteg proposal, which will be totally self funding, pales into insignificance, as well it is likely to put money back into the community including that vexatious Ysgol, plus a Pound a tonne to the TCBC, none of which, especially the Ysgol can afford to turn such funds down, and we have a Minister that either is utterly irrational,or just being contradictory in his decision making,.

The final point is, if my contention is accurate regarding the inanity of making then 500 metres a legal exactitude, unless and until the protesters can truly and evidentially substantiate the points of dispute they have so far miserably failed to substantiate, I see no further reason for delaying approving the application.
It;s about time the protest realised that when approving the application the inspector had taken ALL data into account, The inquiry was set in motion by the Assembly, and it has a moral duty to abide by the findings of the inquiry. The demonstrable weakness of the protest came into focus when it presented no viable counter ton the applicants proposal, and the previous Minister raised no serious objections to it going ahead. Once again we have these protesters playing on the emotional, which was rejected by the Inspector. Then along comes Carl Sargent with his rather blurry reasons,first he was not satisfied about the restitution funding,and a watery reference, in passing to the proximity of the Ysgol, all of which the Inspector found to be of little concern considering various factors such as the progressive northern travel of the works when in progress, also rejected was the concerns about water management, as any common sense view can comprehend, there will be no addition water being discharged from the site as there are no water runs of any size entering or leaving the site at present. Nagles constant harping on the 500 metre buffer zone with her demand to have it set in law, is rather silly as it is obvious no administration would be stupid enough to make such a concrete proposal for fear of it being used as a barrier to any further workings such as land reclamation, or as in the case of the proposed race track on the Heads of the Valleys road, which by the way is proposed to constructed well within 500 metres of homes, and places of work, some of which at the moment are housing FOOD processing operations. I believe there is also a school in the vicinity. Then not only will those nearby be faced with a couple of years of dust and noise etc, whilst construction takes place, they will forever be subjected to the massive amounts of vehicle attendance the events are likely to attract, week in week out. Add to that the suggested 50 millions the Assembly is rumoured to be offering, the Varteg proposal, which will be totally self funding, pales into insignificance, as well it is likely to put money back into the community including that vexatious Ysgol, plus a Pound a tonne to the TCBC, none of which, especially the Ysgol can afford to turn such funds down, and we have a Minister that either is utterly irrational,or just being contradictory in his decision making,. The final point is, if my contention is accurate regarding the inanity of making then 500 metres a legal exactitude, unless and until the protesters can truly and evidentially substantiate the points of dispute they have so far miserably failed to substantiate, I see no further reason for delaying approving the application. varteg1
  • Score: -1

5:23pm Thu 12 Jun 14

CADWCH Y GALON YNG NGHYMRU says...

Its not all about the money John, and the protesters will keep on and on until they win again because not anyone but you wants it. And like I said before how much you getting paid to back something like this? The kids have as much right to be there as anyone else because its been a school (YSGOL) for many years.
Its not all about the money John, and the protesters will keep on and on until they win again because not anyone but you wants it. And like I said before how much you getting paid to back something like this? The kids have as much right to be there as anyone else because its been a school (YSGOL) for many years. CADWCH Y GALON YNG NGHYMRU
  • Score: 2

10:46pm Thu 12 Jun 14

varteg1 says...

CADWCH Y GALON YNG NGHYMRU wrote:
Its not all about the money John, and the protesters will keep on and on until they win again because not anyone but you wants it. And like I said before how much you getting paid to back something like this? The kids have as much right to be there as anyone else because its been a school (YSGOL) for many years.
It is nothing to do with the 'kids' it has everything to do with a bunch of nimby protesters who couldn't bother their arses to turn out to the inquiry , had they done so, their objections would have been seen, juit as they still are, as fatuous.

Their case relies on over emotive crap about the little kids suffering from pollution and noise, funny that the grandparents of those kids and their kids never seemed to suffer over much when every house and the school in Varteg burned coal, not only in the living room, but also the bedrooms and kitchens.
Not only that but twenty four hours a day most of the year, whilst at the same time the mountains around were being exploited for the self same coals and the spoils left on the surface, which themselves TODAY are being eroded by the winds and rains throwing particulates in to the air your poor little kids are breathing in .
The works proposed will eradicate that.
No it's not all about the money, it;s all about making sure that once the coal has been extracted, never again will any operator approach my backyard to disturb a refurbished landscape which will be returned to the natural state it was once in .

But chucking your Cymraeg nom de plume in to the debate does not either faze me not impress me, I am not shy about having my name thrown about, but whom the hell are you and just where do you actually reside? if most of the faces in that photo above are anything to go by, probably some where, like John Cox, far further from the site than that ridiculous 500 meters he and Ms Neagle bangs on about.
I am ,in common with all other residents, for or against, am being offered approximately 1000 Pounds per year for every year the site is operated on, and as you keep non raising the matter, I suggest your gripe is based on envy, because as you probably live just too far from the proposed site you'll be getting nothing/. Tough.

There are far more in the immediate area FOR than actually against. I canvassed them and know that as a fact. That was accepted by the Inspector when I presented him with signed statements from those in support.

So mochyn bach, keep your snout out of my backyard.and my business.

.....and as the proposed works WILL go ahead in the not too distant future, to all those opposing in or out of the immediate area.. again...TOUGH!
[quote][p][bold]CADWCH Y GALON YNG NGHYMRU[/bold] wrote: Its not all about the money John, and the protesters will keep on and on until they win again because not anyone but you wants it. And like I said before how much you getting paid to back something like this? The kids have as much right to be there as anyone else because its been a school (YSGOL) for many years.[/p][/quote]It is nothing to do with the 'kids' it has everything to do with a bunch of nimby protesters who couldn't bother their arses to turn out to the inquiry , had they done so, their objections would have been seen, juit as they still are, as fatuous. Their case relies on over emotive crap about the little kids suffering from pollution and noise, funny that the grandparents of those kids and their kids never seemed to suffer over much when every house and the school in Varteg burned coal, not only in the living room, but also the bedrooms and kitchens. Not only that but twenty four hours a day most of the year, whilst at the same time the mountains around were being exploited for the self same coals and the spoils left on the surface, which themselves TODAY are being eroded by the winds and rains throwing particulates in to the air your poor little kids are breathing in . The works proposed will eradicate that. No it's not all about the money, it;s all about making sure that once the coal has been extracted, never again will any operator approach my backyard to disturb a refurbished landscape which will be returned to the natural state it was once in . But chucking your Cymraeg nom de plume in to the debate does not either faze me not impress me, I am not shy about having my name thrown about, but whom the hell are you and just where do you actually reside? if most of the faces in that photo above are anything to go by, probably some where, like John Cox, far further from the site than that ridiculous 500 meters he and Ms Neagle bangs on about. I am ,in common with all other residents, for or against, am being offered approximately 1000 Pounds per year for every year the site is operated on, and as you keep non raising the matter, I suggest your gripe is based on envy, because as you probably live just too far from the proposed site you'll be getting nothing/. Tough. There are far more in the immediate area FOR than actually against. I canvassed them and know that as a fact. That was accepted by the Inspector when I presented him with signed statements from those in support. So mochyn bach, keep your snout out of my backyard.and my business. .....and as the proposed works WILL go ahead in the not too distant future, to all those opposing in or out of the immediate area.. again...TOUGH! varteg1
  • Score: -2

11:00pm Thu 12 Jun 14

varteg1 says...

I also meant to add....rights in regards the kids do not come into it, they are there because the Council decided, knowing there were coals under the surface which were known to be eyed by open casters long before the status of the school went from school to ysgol, to open the redundant school as a Cymraeg unit

The parents were given carte blanche in opting to put their kids into the unit, another fait accompli by the Council with no reference to the residents of Varteg, just like it took it onto close the state school and build a new one elsewhere.

If the school was not fit for purpose for state pupils, why was it allowed to reopened as an ysgol? If not big enough, what was wrong with saving thousands by extending it rather than spending a much larger sum building new?

Your silly comments fall on deaf ears, but not on a dead brain.

Every point you make I will knock aside with a more sound one.
I also meant to add....rights in regards the kids do not come into it, they are there because the Council decided, knowing there were coals under the surface which were known to be eyed by open casters long before the status of the school went from school to ysgol, to open the redundant school as a Cymraeg unit The parents were given carte blanche in opting to put their kids into the unit, another fait accompli by the Council with no reference to the residents of Varteg, just like it took it onto close the state school and build a new one elsewhere. If the school was not fit for purpose for state pupils, why was it allowed to reopened as an ysgol? If not big enough, what was wrong with saving thousands by extending it rather than spending a much larger sum building new? Your silly comments fall on deaf ears, but not on a dead brain. Every point you make I will knock aside with a more sound one. varteg1
  • Score: -2

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