Varteg campaigners plan ‘history trail’

Free Press Series: Llyr Gruffydd AM meets with residents of Varteg opposed to the proposed opencast mining (7212719) Llyr Gruffydd AM meets with residents of Varteg opposed to the proposed opencast mining (7212719)

CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans to open a coal mine near a school hope to reclaim the area with a 'history trail' building on the success of the Blaenavon World Heritage Site.

The trail would be an alternative to proposals submitted by coal company Glamorgan Power to open a quarry 120 metres from Ysgol Bryn Onnen in Varteg.

Campaigners fear the proposed mine could harm the health of pupils and elderly residents in the village.

Welsh minister Carl Sargeant turned down the opencast mine plans last year but a new application could be submitted after the company’s agents made a fresh request for information via an environmental assessment with Torfaen council.

The history trail would take visitors past closed down collieries and railways, giving them new insights into the industrial revolution, and - it is hoped - build on the success of the Blaenavon World Heritage Site.

To become a reality, the site owned by Glamorgan Power would have to be reclaimed through a compulsory purchase order.

Tony Kinsella, of the No Opencast at Varteg Hill Group, said: “We are delighted that at last an alternative for the regeneration of Varteg Hill is being proposed that will ensure the site is regenerated for social amenity and benefit our community, without harming our health and well-being.

“It will have long-term sustainability and the potential to bring tourism to the area."

In addition to a history trail, the site would be further enhanced with a nature reserve, according to draft proposals put forward by the Varteg Hill History Society.

The campaign is building momentum with Assembly Member Llyr Gruffydd visiting the site last week to speak with concerned parties.

Boydd Hackley-Green, the chairman of governors at Ysgol Bryn Onnen, indicated the compulsory purchase order could be made by a public body such as Cadw or Torfaen council.

Harmers, the agents acting on behalf of Glamorgan Power, were unavailable for comment yesterday [June 17].

Mr Hackley-Green, 35, said: “This plan would mean the protection of the school environment and community and true commitment to developing the South Wales Valleys rather than their destruction.”

Comments (2)

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11:52am Sat 21 Jun 14

varteg1 says...

These idiots can call for the land to be compulsorily purchased, and thereafter remodelled or whatever they are demanding, but that will involve a lot of landscaping, which will do exactly what they are complaining about.,.raising atmospheric dusts, and machinery noise etc.

Why not let the opencast proceed, it may take a little longer, but what makes them think the coal will not be removed sometime in the future?

Should a compulsory order of purchase be made and taken through, (unlikely as GP will certain resist, and will probably take it further than the Council or protesters will like it taken) the chances are the council will decide they need the offered money and will allow the project to proceed. Nothing is guaranteed in these matters, and the fact coal lies under the surface IS, like it or not, an attraction few, including a Council, will find easy to resist.

The school could do with the offered money also, the chances of any pupil being affected by the work is at absolute minimum, but don't let a mass of scientific evidence get in the way of the facts of the matter.
These idiots can call for the land to be compulsorily purchased, and thereafter remodelled or whatever they are demanding, but that will involve a lot of landscaping, which will do exactly what they are complaining about.,.raising atmospheric dusts, and machinery noise etc. Why not let the opencast proceed, it may take a little longer, but what makes them think the coal will not be removed sometime in the future? Should a compulsory order of purchase be made and taken through, (unlikely as GP will certain resist, and will probably take it further than the Council or protesters will like it taken) the chances are the council will decide they need the offered money and will allow the project to proceed. Nothing is guaranteed in these matters, and the fact coal lies under the surface IS, like it or not, an attraction few, including a Council, will find easy to resist. The school could do with the offered money also, the chances of any pupil being affected by the work is at absolute minimum, but don't let a mass of scientific evidence get in the way of the facts of the matter. varteg1
  • Score: -3

11:59am Sat 21 Jun 14

varteg1 says...

Mr Hackley-Green, 35, said: “This plan would mean the protection of the school environment and community and true commitment to developing the South Wales Valleys rather than their destruction.”

Mr H-Green appears to overlook the impact on the school environment by the mass of vehicles arriving and departing the locality twice a day for forty odd weeks a year, as parents deliver and collect their kids, or as they are transported in by public transport vehicles.

But it is worth noting the Head and the rest show concern for his temporary charges, whilst ignoring the impact of all those vehicles on the full time residents of the locality.

Hypocrisy abounds in the matter.
Mr Hackley-Green, 35, said: “This plan would mean the protection of the school environment and community and true commitment to developing the South Wales Valleys rather than their destruction.” Mr H-Green appears to overlook the impact on the school environment by the mass of vehicles arriving and departing the locality twice a day for forty odd weeks a year, as parents deliver and collect their kids, or as they are transported in by public transport vehicles. But it is worth noting the Head and the rest show concern for his temporary charges, whilst ignoring the impact of all those vehicles on the full time residents of the locality. Hypocrisy abounds in the matter. varteg1
  • Score: -3

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