Ancient woodland stands in the way of new coal.

Celtic Energy have lost their challenge against the refusal of their plan to extend an open cast mine into ancient woodland.
A bird’s eye view of Margham – ancient Coed Hafod Heulog to the right.

The main element of the appeal at Margham was around the decision to uphold MTAN 2.  This new guidance note sets out detailed advice on the mechanisms for delivering the policy for coal extraction, through surface and underground working, by mineral planning authorities and the coal mining industry.  MTAN2 specifies that there should be 500 metres between an open cast and a settlement.  Extending the mine west by a further 51 hectares as the plans suggested, meant that Margam would have been too close to Cefn Cribwr, which is about 2-300 metres away. During the appeal hearing the barrister for the appellant argued with the judge on the MTAN point – but happily the judge was having none of it!  The judge upheld every decision given in the Inspector’s report and the Welsh Assembley Government’s decision.  Further background on the fight for the ancient woodland can be seen on our previous blogs, and a written version of this recent decision is awaited.

The appellants must now pay costs of £23,000 - considered by local residents to be a small price for the destruction the mine has been responsible for already.  We are supporting the excellent local campaign group ‘Protecting and Conserving Together’ (PACT), who have worked extremely hard on this case, and we are all very happy to see this result. 

We can only wait and hope that this centuries-old ancient woodland will be safe in the long term, however – there is always the chance that this recent High Court decision could be further challenged by Celtic Energy in the Court of Appeal… 

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About Kaye Brennan

Senior Campaigner (Policy & Advocacy) for the Woodland Trust and Administrator, 'Woodland Matters' blog
This entry was posted in Climate Change, Open cast coal, Wales, Woods Under Threat and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Ancient woodland stands in the way of new coal.

  1. Iain Mossman says:

    Hi,

    I’m a volunteer with Friends of the Earth Cymru and I’m currently involved in a project updating the images on our website. I’ve been looking to find a replacement for the main image our page about Coal in Wales (http://www.foe.co.uk/cymru/english/news/17740.html), and came across the photograph you have used on this page… Would you be able to give us permission to use the image? Or do you have some contact details for the copright owner so we could get in touch with them?

    Many thanks, hope to hear from you soon

    Iain Mossman

  2. Chris Jones says:

    Good Luck! I don’t need to tell you the significance and sacred nature of the forest. please,if you can, keep us posted. Best, Chris

    • Gaynor Ball says:

      October 2011——Celtic Energy were turned down on their appeal by the 3 judges!!!!! Now we ant our countryside restored to its original beauty.

  3. Gaynor Ball says:

    Unfortunately, the Court of Appeal has granted Celtic Energy the right to appeal on two points:-
    1. Their argument seems to have a real prospect of success.
    2.M Tan 2 in its wider significance showed inconsistency between Margam and Wrexham.
    What a mockery of democracy!

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