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Last Updated: Monday, 24 November, 2003, 17:21 GMT
Mining threat to beauty spot
Talybont-on-Usk
Villagers fear that mining the land will blight local homes and businesses
A mining threat to a Brecon Beacons beauty spot has resulted in 1,000 locals signing a petition against the proposal.

Residents of Talybont-on-Usk, five miles south of Brecon, see their fight to stop mining of sand and gravel at three sites around their village as a David and Goliath battle with the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG)

They claim WAG has stirred up a hornet's nest by threatening to reserve the sites for sand and gravel deposits needed by the building industry.

But WAG claims it is under pressure to do so because of limited reserves from current sources in the Bristol Channel.

The local community council has been backed by the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Countryside Council for Wales in its opposition to the idea.

We are worried that any mining would pollute the river Usk which is a river of European importance
Peter Seaman, Talybont-on-Usk council

A petition has been signed by many of the village's 750 residents as well as visitors to the area.

Marine reserves

Villagers fear that preserving land for mining will blight local homes and businesses as well as hit the local tourist industry.

"WAG is acting prematurely because there is no objective evidence which supports the case to switch to land-based mining, said Peter Seaman, the council's clerk.

"WAG claims it is committed to sustainable principles but there is no sustainability in extraction from land based reserves while marine reserves are sustainable," he added.

"This is a David and Goliath battle and we are worried that any mining would pollute the river Usk which is a river of European importance."

Map of sand and gravel sites
There are three sites near the village that could be mined

Members of the community council will present the petition to WAG environment minister, Carwyn Jones on Wednesday.

"The Minister has the power to lift his threat against a beautiful National Park community," said Edward Morgan, the council's chairman.

"He must recognise there is no real need or justification to take land-based minerals from this area."

A WAG spokesman said the pattern of supply of sand and gravel in south east Wales is unique in the UK because of its dependence on marine dredged resources in the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary.

She added: "The assembly does not wish to encourage land-based extraction but does consider that finite resources of limited availability should be safeguarded for use by future generations if then required."




SEE ALSO:
Dredge firms warn of land sites
29 Jan 02  |  Wales
'Hands off our seabed', Wales told
05 Sep 01  |  UK News
Assembly faces dredging dilemma
15 May 01  |  Wales


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