Three Labour AMs in South Wales West- David Rees, Gwenda Thomas and Mike Hedges- have today supported the call for a moratorium on Open Cast Mining in Wales. The debate at the Assembly highlighted the many examples where open cast mining has taken place and the local communities have been left with a blight on the landscape and dangers to their health and safety.
They also called for fully funded restoration work to be carried out at both Parc Slip, Margam and East Pit, Cwmllynfell. Since the 1994 transfer of these open cast sites from British Coal, there has been little investment into restoration schemes to ensure that after mining the land can be returned to its natural habitat. The fund for this work is a currently at a fraction of the necessary level required to fully restore the sites and it is important that this is addressed as a matter of urgency.
David Rees AM said: “Mining at the Parc Slip site in Margam ceased in 2008 and we have been left with a huge void and many dangers. The site has been left derelict and as a result the void has filled with water to unacceptable levels which pose a threat to local communities. Restoration has been ignored and these dangers have been left to the public to face on a daily basis. This is something that we cannot allow to continue. Local communities suffer the pollution and the blight, dangers and fears, we need to act now to support our communities.”
Gwenda Thomas AM said: “In Margam, a vast and accidental lake is the problem. In East Pit we are told that it is the solution. The only difference I can see between the two cases is a reinforced eastern wall at the Cwmllynfell end of the site. A wall that will need to hold back tens of thousands of cubic litres of water, and in whose integrity residents will have to place their faith for generation after generation.”
Referring to previous restoration plans, Mrs Thomas added: “The first opencast on this site opened in 1948. We were promised then that, when it was complete, the land would be restored. That promise has been repeated to three generations, it has grown weighty with the years.
Mike Hedges AM added: “Too often open cast leaves parts of Wales looking like the moon. It also discourages new, clean and technological industries relocating in the area. Opencast is not part of the vision I have for 21st century Wales”