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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 December, 2004, 11:12 GMT
Mixed feelings at coal go-head
Miners
A public inquiry was held in February this year
A decision to allow opencast mining to resume at a site in the Swansea Valley has divided local opinion.

A Welsh assembly planning committee has given the go-ahead for 2.1m tonnes of coal to be extracted at East Pit over the next seven years.

Supporters say it will create up to 140 much needed jobs at the pit between Cwmllynfell and Tair Gwaith.

Opponents claim it will be blight on the community and have a detrimental impact on the environment.

Coal belongs to the past
Hywel Gwyn Evans

Neath and Port Talbot Council had originally given an application to extend operations there the all-clear but the Assembly called the decision in.

In February this year a public inquiry was held and a cross-party planning decision committee was then established to consider the evidence.

It has now ruled the need for coal outweighs any harm to the environment.

But the decision has angered some.

Cwmllynfell resident and lifelong campaigner Hywel Gwyn Evans said: "Cwmllynfell has suffered 57 years of opencast mining already.

"Enough is enough from the point of view of the people and the environment and here we are going to have another 10 years. Coal belongs to the past."

Cwmllynfell
Opponents claim it will be a blight on the neighbouring villages

Public meetings were called to oppose the plan and hundreds of people sent in letters or signed petitions both for and against the proposal.

Neighbouring Carmarthenshire Council was among the objectors.

But Clem Llewelyn, of the pro-mining Opencast Coal Committee of Wales, welcomed the decision. He was, however, angry the Assembly had originally calledthe application in.

"I'm very happy and very angry because at last the truth has come out," he said.

"All the grounds of objection were unfounded and yet it has kept my members out of work for two years when they could have been enjoying their work.

"Two years ago Neath Port Talbot recognised the importance of it all."


SEE ALSO:
Miners deceived on pensions
27 Oct 04 |  South East Wales
Can Britain go back to coal?
19 Oct 04 |  Magazine
Burning desire remains for coal
11 Mar 04 |  Business
Tears as colliery closes
01 Aug 03 |  South West Wales


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