CONTROVERSIAL plans to begin quarrying at a popular beauty spot have been dismissed by the Welsh Government.

Landowners Peakman Limited had appealed against a 2017 decision by Torfaen Council to refuse it planning permission to reclaim old opencast workings, recover gritstone and build a new access road at Tirpentwys Cut.

The council turned down the plan on the basis that it would cause the “irreplaceable loss” of ancient woodland.

But the landowners appealed the decision, and an inquiry, led by planning inspector Clive Nield, was held at the Blaenavon Workmen’s Hall in January.

Following the inquiry, the Welsh Government today (August 29 ) announced they were rejecting the appeal, citing "substantial harm to the ancient woodland" and "severe and irreversible" damage to habitats in the area as reasons for the dismissal.


South Wales Argus:

(Protestors outside the Senedd voicing their anger at plans for a quarry at Tirpentwys.)

Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle campaigned against the plans, and said she was delighted that “common sense had prevailed.”

“It is absolutely brilliant news. I am absolutely thrilled Welsh Government have listened to local people," she said.

“The Anti Quarry Coalition have worked so hard to save what is fantastic beauty spot in Torfaen.

“Not only have they campaigned valiantly but they have also devoted many, many hours to building a comprehensive legal case against what would have undoubtedly been an act of industrial vandalism. I want to pay tribute to them for their sterling work in saving the Canyons for future generations.

“I would also like to recognise and thank Torfaen Council for doing the right thing by the community and the environment by refusing the application in the first place.

“I’m all too aware of how costly and difficult it is for cash strapped local authorities to oppose these large developments and I’m proud that Torfaen Council has fought for the community on this.

“I’m happy and so relieved to see that common sense has prevailed.”

South Wales Argus:

(Torfaen's Nick Thomas-Symonds MP and Lynne Neagle AM at Tirpentwys quarry.)

Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds also praised the work of the campaigners following the decision.

He said: “It's fantastic news that the appeal to quarry millions of tonnes of rock from Tirpentwys Cut has been dismissed.

"This magnificent local beauty spot has now been preserved.

"It was great to work with Lynne Neagle AM, and huge credit must go to so many local people in our local community who put their heart and soul into the 'Save the Canyons' campaign. Commitment, dedication and mastery of detail made for a real sense of people power that has produced this result.

"Well done all and thank you so much.”