Make 500m buffer zone law
March 1, 2013

Please sign the petition to enforce a 500m buffer zone between opencast sites and houses in Wales

At present Welsh guidelines recommend that opencast mines are not within 500m of houses. Without legislation companies are still applying and may get permission very close to houses. The Varteg and the British opencast applications are both within this boundary, with houses with in 50m and a nursery within 120m, as are 66% of the coal reserves in Wales are within 500m of residential properties. 55% are within 350m.


NO OPENCAST Group and British Action Group have been fighting off a proposals to opencast at Varteg and Talywain, Pontypool for many years. The two sites are 1/4 mile apart. For the past 8 years the No Opencast group have been fighting Glamorgan Power’s proposals to opencast 68 hectares in Varteg, 130 hectares at the British.

Despite planning for the Varteg site being turned down by Torfaen County Borough Council in 2011, as the local population live within 50m and there is a local nursery within 120 m of the boundary. It is not acceptable on grounds of noise, dust and light pollution.
Glamorgan Power appealed against the decision and a Public Inquiry began in January 2012 that lasted 7 weeks. The report was held up by Civil Servants for over 12 months and has yet to be seen by anyone except the Minister for the Environment. A letter published by the Minister states he has been ‘minded to allow’ the open casting to go ahead.

The Minister for the Environment has still to give us his decision so not outside the bounds of reality that he will not take the ‘minded to allow’ advice of the Inspector.

The British site is 130 hectares of prime steam coal seams and spoil, negotiations ongoing with HSBC and TCBC re opencast and development. MTAN2 would apply here more so as more properties within 100m and a much larger community within 500m.They plan to build up to 1200 houses as part of the redevelopment. The end of our village and our ability to move along the narrow valley floor and main A road in and out, already choked with traffic.

Leave a Reply


  1. Signed.
    Campaign Against Great Oak Opencast
    Bignall End.
    Good Luck.

  2. The Petitions Committee at the National Assembly accepted the petition on 9/4, having after just 5 weeks received 1000 signatures. They agreed to hand it to the Ministers with responsibility for information and review. They will reconsider the petition with representations from John Cox and Lynne Neagle on behalf of the No Opencast Group and representatives of the Industry, on 14th May at 10.00.
    I’ll update with any more info as and when any comes forward. We got a small but present write up in Private Eye last week, at least someone’s watching 🙂