HUNDREDS SET UP CAMP AHEAD OF MASS ACTION AT UK’S LARGEST COAL MINE
Merthyr Tydfil, Wales – Today hundreds of people set up camp to shut down the UK’s largest opencast coal mine – Ffos-y-fran – just days before Wales goes to the polls.
As a beautiful dawn broke this morning, activists from Wales and beyond set up the campsite for Reclaim the Power’s End Coal Now. The camp is in on common ground in the Darran Valley, Caerphilly very close to where Miller Argent want to mine for 6 million tonnes of coal at Nant Llesg.
The ‘End Coal Now’ camp is being organised by climate activist network Reclaim the Power over the May Day bank holiday. Participants are calling for a ban on opencast coal mining across Wales and the UK alongside the creation of thousands of green jobs, to tackle climate change and dangerous air pollution in Welsh communities.
The camp will feature three days of workshops, music and action planning, ahead of Tuesday 3rd May when the activists will shut down the opencast coal mine.
Prior to the mass trespass to halt mining operations at Ffos-y-fran, Reclaim the Power are inviting Assembly candidates and local councillors to affirm their opposition to the Nant Llesg coal mine at a “Solidarity Sunday” rally on May 1st.
Ellen Gibson, a spokeswoman from the camp, said;
“We’ve come to Merthyr Tydfil today to support the local community who have battled the giant Ffos-y-fran mine polluting their homes and our planet for nearly a decade. We calling for an end to opencast coal mines in Wales and across the UK, and a transition away from polluting energy, towards clean energy and thousands of jobs.
The camp is open to anyone who wants to learn more about the issue or to be part of the mass action. We welcome everyone to come down and get involved.”
The camp has been welcomed by local campaigners, who have opposed the 11 million tonne Ffos-y-fran opencast coal mine since 2007 and are now fighting a new proposed mine next door at Nant Llesg. Caerphilly County Council rejected the application for the new mine in August 2015 but the coal company Miller Argent is trying to overturn this decision through an appeal.
After 4 years of intensive campaigning, United Valleys Action Group (UVAG) and the communities of the upper Rhymney valley successfully convinced the Caerphilly councillors on the planning committee of Miller Argent’s mine proposal at Nant Llesg would have a huge detrimental impact and they rejected the proposal in August 2015. The company, who also operate the nearby controversial Ffos-y-fran opencast coal mine, have appealed this decision and are currently trying to push the proposal through against the wishes of the local communities and their representatives.
Those looking to join the camp can find out more information at: www.reclaimthepower.org.uk/endcoalnow