Posts Tagged ‘Miller Argent & Nant LLESG’

I have put out an “Urgent Appeal” to all that use Twitter to join a twitterstorm prior the “Iolo’s Beacons” airing on BBC 1 Wales tomorrow.

Aerial photograph of Nant Llesg

NantLlesg_towardpond

As discussed during UNITED VALLEYS ACTION GROUP EGM monday meeting;

A PR company “WYG” (offices in Newport Rd, Cardiff) hired by Miller-Argent are trying to get Brecon Beacons National Park, BBNP, to withdraw their objection to the Nant Llesg opencast at the Planning Inspectorate Wales appeal, effectively holding a gun to the CCBC planning committee who rejected Miller Argent last August.

The Ffos-y-fran coalmine

We want to start a Twitterstorm as follows before the TV programme:

@BBCWales @BBCNews @BBCOne @BreconBeaconsNP #SaveNantLlesg #IolosBeacons Don’t remove OBJECTIONS to STOPPING MASSIVE OPENCAST!

before the screening of “Iolo’s Brecon Beacons” on BBC1 Wales on Wednesday 7.30pm
you could also tweet:

@BreconBeaconsNP why considering removing objections to MASSIVE opencast 478 hectares of Nant Llesg Common? #SaveNantLlesg @UnitedValleys

Hopefully we can get many people to tweet and raise the pressure upon BBNP not to withdraw their objection.

RhasLasRes_EddyBlanche
Thank you.

BY GOD BELIEVE IN SOMETHING!?

Recently actor Michael Sheen visited Tredegar and in an impassioned speech and from the bandstand of  Bedwellty House and Park, said:

“You must stand up for what you believe, but first of all, by God, believe in something!”

Please Share – from United Valleys Action Group

RE: Nant Llesg Opencast Mine Proposal Planning Decision, Weds June 24th, from 1pm.

We cannot stress how important it is to have large numbers o our communities at the planning meeting in Ty Penallta Ystrad Mynach on Weds 24th of June.

The council have set aside 3 rooms including the canteen to accomodate the public. With video links to the meeting.

If only 20 people turn up we will have very little impact on the meeting and the mountain and moorland west of Rhymney will be lost forever and we will face Fifteen to Twenty years of devastation from the UK’s biggest opencast mine, possibly with a scenario of it being turned into the UK’s biggest rubbish dump? Who knows?

*A BUS WILL BE PICKING UP THROUGHOUT RHYMNEY AND PONTLOTTYN STARTING 1PM ON THE DAY. 
Please INBOX @United Valleys Action Group Facebook page and we will give you a number to ring to be added to the list.

Would you rather when your kids look up at the mountain and see the opencast, be able to tell them I tried to stop it, or, tell them I sat indoors and let them do it.

Better still when you take your kids and grand kids for a walk on the common.

You can say – “I HELPED SAVE AND PROTECT THIS FOR YOU!!!”

Our Last Chance To Stop Opencast

Our Last Chance To Stop Opencast

The Risk to Property Prices and RESALE value is ENORMOUS if Nant Llesg OPENCAST is given go ahead.
Who the hell will want to move to Pontlottyn or RHYMNEY when it is blighted by OPENCAST for fifteen years, then a possible decade of shale mounds and weeds as grass seed tries to grow where there is no soil or clay and where no creature can live?

We found out from two Caerphilly borough councillors at Ty Penallta yesterday that a wind turbine application for Gelligaer Common, 4 miles south from what would be the UK’s largest proposed opencast site at Nant Llesg, was denied due to “Visual Impact”!
One quote was; “You can’t make this shit up!”

THIS IS VISUAL IMPACT!!!

THIS IS VISUAL IMPACT!!!

THE view from Gelligaer Common of the multi million tonne spoil heaps of Ffos Y Fran taken last April 2014, the same Gelligaer Common where CCBC planning committee refused a wind turbine yesterday due to “Visual Impact”… If this isn’t “Visual Impact” I don’t know WTF is?!!!
From the stunning views of Pen Y Fan and the Morlais Iron Age fort taken from a site which Arthur Pendragon once rode. To 2014,now looking across a dump of wasteland that stinks of corruption and money leaching out of a deprived community that has not benefitted from the spoils.
This photo wasn’t in the propaganda brochures for the proposed Nant Llesg project next to this that the company had produced by their Bristol based PR company. Funny that?

A question was asked in the open meeting in Rhymney last Wednesday about Huw Lewis our Assembly Minister. Earlier this year we disclosed payments made to Huw Lewis’ election campaign were made by Bernard Llewellyn, the OPENCAST mining magnate…

“An election flyer produced by a Labour community council candidate in Fochriw has been brought to our attention. It states that a community councillor undertook a survey of residents and over 90% were concerned about the prospect of an opencast so close to the community. It goes on to say, “Labour member Robert Chapman added, Talking to local people, I know how much concern there is about Nant Lesg (Llesg). I want to work closely with Cllr Hardacre and Labour Community Councillors to echo these concerns.” Historically in Merthyr, Labour did nothing to help residents attempts to fend off the other Miller Argent opencast Ffos y Fran. The residents against Ffos y Fran website tells their story,http://www.stopffosyfran.co.uk Residents are still having problems with dust, light pollution and vibration – is there any help for these people who are suffering? Definitely not from the Labour Party. In fact Huw Lewis AM received a campaign donation of £10,000 from Bernard Llewellyn of Miller Argent.

So if you think that Labour will protect residents from Nant Llesg, going on past Labour deeds they won’t!

Take a look at the Map (here: http://caerphilly.opus3.co.uk/ldf/maps/ldp-proposals-map#x=312141.64836834&y=206754.56939826&l=310637.0519586&r=313646.24477808&t=207613.58282328&b=205895.55597324&scale=10000&356&157 ) – the area’s that are hatched are coal safeguarded so have the potential to be opencasted…. if Nant llesg gets approved.. where next???

We’ve (UNITED VALLEYS ACTION GROUP) had info yesterday that the whole of Bedwellty Mountain Common, from Markham to Cefn Golau has been sold off to you know who!
The fuckers are getting ready for phase three!
Markham people are up in arms.
I have been warning and warning people what’s coming for the last few years if they don’t act next week at CCBC planning hearing on the 24th.
We’ll all be dead before the opencasts have finished and every mountain will have been destroyed around here.
The mineral rights below Abertysswg were snapped up two month ago, the whole of Rhymney Hill from Pen Bryn Oer to the golf course is also targeted (the 1980s Shepherd Hill site). Mark my words. I we fail next week. These upper valleys villages and towns will be sacrifice zones, unfit to live in or bring up a family… For many decades!

A Hole in the System

The outrageous, untold story of how big business dumps its costs on us.- By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 29th April 2015

Wrapped up in this story is everything that’s wrong with the way our economy works. Corporations ream the land with giant holes, extract a stack of money, then clear out, leaving other people with the costs. There’s a briefer description: legalised theft.

The-Ffos-y-fran-coalmine-009

This is an account, scarcely mentioned in the national media, of the massive unfunded liabilities emerging from coalfields throughout Britain, that opencast mining companies have been allowed to walk away from.

It’s comparable in terms of irresponsibility to the failure by the nuclear industry to fund its decommissioning costs. And it offers a solid argument, even to those who continue to reject climate science, for keeping fossil fuels in the ground.

As I write, Neath-Port Talbot Council in South Wales is considering a new application for an opencast coal mine. The mine is unpopular, but its proponents argue that it’s necessary. Why?

Because only by digging a new pit, they say, can the money be made to fill in an old one. How could this be true, when millions of tonnes of coal have been extracted? Where did the money go? You think you are inured to the worst of British politics? Read on.

When British Coal was privatised by John Major’s government in 1994, the company that took over in South Wales, Celtic Energy, was granted a 10-year exemption from paying a restoration bond, in return for offering a slightly higher price for the assets. That higher price disappeared into national accounts, doubtless in the form of one of Mr Major’s tax cuts for the rich.

After 10 years, the exemption expired, and Celtic Energy had to start putting up a decommissioning fund.

At East Pit, where the application for new mining is now being considered, the bond now stands at around £4m, while the restoration is likely to cost about £115m.

At another vast pit, Margam, near Bridgend, there is £5.7m in the kitty – against an estimated restoration cost of £56m.

In 2010 Celtic Energy sold the land rights, and the liabilities, at East Pit, Margam and two other mines, to a company in the British Virgin Islands called Oak Regeneration, for £1 per mine. Oak Regeneration then passed the liabilities to Pine Regeneration, Beech Regeneration and Ash Regeneration, none of which appear to have the assets required for restoration. Five senior executives at Celtic Energy walked away with benefits worth more than £10m.

The people involved in this transfer, including two directors of Celtic Energy and the former chief executive of Cardiff City Council, were charged with fraud. But last year the judge threw out the case, saying that, while some might regard their actions as “dishonest” or “reprehensible”, they were not illegal.

So all that is left, the opencasters argue, is to dig more holes. It’s like the old woman who swallowed a fly.

In a paper commissioned by the Welsh government, I was struck by the mention of the Ffos-y-fran opencast coal mine, on which I reported in 2007. This pit was justified as a “restoration scheme”, which would remove the old adits, shafts and spoil heaps left behind by deep mining. Local people were sceptical: one of them told me “you don’t go down 600ft and blast 5 days a week to reclaim an area.”

But the report finds that the bond laid down by Ffos-y-fran’s operators, £15m, “falls well short of a worst case restoration cost which could be in excess of £50m”.

The “restoration scheme”, this suggests, cannot fund its own restoration.

In some cases, villages and towns find themselves perched on the edge of sheer drops, overlooking running black sores sometimes hundreds of metres wide.

At Margam, for example, the pit is some 2km across and, according to the latest estimate I’ve seen, the water gathering there is 88m deep. In East Ayrshire, in Scotland, 22 giant voids have been abandoned by their operators. Restoration work there would cost £161m, but just £28m has been set aside. As the local MP explained, “they are so large they cannot be effectively secured from trespass… unstable head walls and extremely deep water bodies with vertical drop-offs make for dangerous playgrounds.”

An independent report found that the collection of restoration bonds by East Ayrshire Council officials was “wholly deficient and defective”, while the failure to appoint independent assessors was “completely inexplicable”. While officials took their eye off the ball, East Ayrshire councillors took gifts and hospitality from the coal operators, including a trip to watch Celtic play Barcelona in Spain, premier league tickets, lavish meals, food hampers and nights in hotels. When the two companies running the pits went bust, the council was left in a gigantic hole.

Nationwide, the unfunded liabilities counted so far amount to £469m. That’s likely to be just the beginning.

This is a price we pay for limited liability. Why should the people who own and run these companies be allowed to walk away with millions, while shrugging off the costs they leave behind? Limited liability is one of our social silences: a giant gift to corporations that we won’t even discuss.

And why are we digging coal anyway, when we cannot afford to burn it? Climate breakdown is the greatest unfunded liability of all, for which future generations will have to pay.

Yet in 2013, the latest year for which figures are available, the amount of coal for which companies in Britain have permission to dig rose from 12m tonnes to 24m.

Eight new opencast pits were approved in that year, and only three rejected. In which parallel universe is this compatible with the commitment to limit climate change?

Last week, lost in the election turmoil, the Welsh Senedd did something remarkable. It voted, by 30 votes to zero, for a moratorium on opencast coal mining. With the Welsh ban on fracking, this could have meant that Wales was the first nation on earth to keep its fossil fuels in the ground.

But the Welsh government refused to accept the decision, using the restoration argument. Past crimes are used to justify new ones.

Fire and forget: that’s the psychopathic business model we confront, and the forgetting is assisted by the press and political leaders.

To them, the victims are non-people, the ruined landscapes non-places. All that counts is the money.

www.monbiot.com


Michael Sheen’s Valley’s Rebellion

Michael Sheen’s Valley’s REBELLION http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0547tsj

Actor Michael Sheen goes on a personal journey to find out why there is so much political disillusionment in Wales today.

Walking in the footsteps of the Chartists, who 175 years ago gave their lives for democracy, he asks why do ordinary people and politicians seem so far apart?

A nice way to celebrate my 400th post | Michael Sheen TV program that featured UNITED VALLEYS ACTION GROUP will be shown on Tuesday 24th Feb.

 

https://discordion.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/actor-michael-sheen-visited-our-united-valleys-action-group-meeting-at-pontlottyn-blast-furnace-inn/

Just had some news in from UVAG’s “beloved Leader” Terry, exciting!!!

“Hi Everyone

The programme that Michael Sheen made last year about
the Chartists, where Michael and the BBC called to Rhymney
and our UVAG meeting to do some recording for the programme,
will on next Tuesday night 24th February 9.00 – 10.00pm BBC 2 Wales.

Cheers
Terry”

I shall be tuning in to see some familiar faces!

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This my photo of Michael and David that Michael’s PA requested.

 

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Michael, UVAG Chair Terry, and F.o.E Cymru’s Alyson Austin.

 

Ian Pritchard with Michael Sheen (Large)

UVAG Blast Michael Sheen (Large)

 


 

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/11798397.Newport_s_Hollywood_star_Michael_Sheen_retraces_Chartists__steps/

I attended a march with my youngest son earlier this evening.

National News media webpage WALES Online contains latest newspaper edition of the story and further photo gallery of our UNITED VALLEYS ACTION GROUP opencast protest.

Around 60 protesters headed to Caerphilly County Borough Council’s headquarters in a bid to stop plans for an open cast coal mine. A mocked-up court trial was held by protectors who are demanding action to stop the death of the valleys.

United Valleys Action Group Nant Llesg Protectors turned out for the mock ‘trial’ at Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Ty Penallta headquarters aiming to stop the plan which would destroy the historic moorland, the CADW listed Dowlais free drainage system, remove Rhas Las pond an important arctic avian migration route and remove the top of mountain in the Rhymney Valley close to the village of Fochriw.

Miller Argent says their project, would see six to nine million tonnes of coal mined over a period of 17 years, and would bring several jobs to the area. However, campaigners have stated that a Net loss of jobs, predominantly those of women employed in nearby factories that would never be recovered.

Neighbouring cosmetics firm Richards & Appleby, which employs 140 local people, has said it would have to move its manufacturing department if the opencast goes ahead because of the pollution.

The plans have been met with strong opposition , and 5,793 objection letters were presented to the council in October by locals who are concerned about the environmental impact the mine would have, as well as the amount of coal dust and pollution it would create.

The campaigners gathered around the council headquarters at Penallta House, in Ystrad Mynach. The protest featured caricatures of a judge and barristers and vicar, with the Grim Reaper attending a coffin and a noose.

Member of the community John Hughes, who lives 600 metres from the proposed site, was one of those taking part in the procession.

He said: “The plans would see the company digging a hole hundreds of metres deep which would lead to so much dust, noise and pollution.

“The council is always urging us to be green and talking about the benefits that this has, but this opencast would have the opposite affect on us all.”

Fochriw resident Eddy Blanche has decided to run as an Independent Parliamentary candidate, and made an impassioned speech

Eddy Blanche delivers his first political speech 
as an Independent Parliamentary candidate for Rhymney 
and Merthyr Tydfil. Well Done Ed', a very honest, 
heartfelt speech.

Ecologist Jim Davies has studied the impact the opencast plans would have on local wildlife.

He said: “This mine would see the end of Rhas Las Pond, which is actually a key site for birds migrating from the Arctic down to Africa.”

“We feel that you can’t mess with this delicately balanced environment as it harms the whole ecosystem and we shouldn’t risk that.”

Caerphilly County Borough Council’s decision on the application is imminent, but no official date has been set for a vote as yet.


E-boy at the offices_2 E-boy at the offices IMG_6210 IMG_6211 IMG_6212 IMG_6213 IMG_6214 IMG_6216 IMG_6218 IMG_6220 IMG_6222 IMG_6223 IMG_6224 IMG_6225 IMG_6229 IMG_6232 IMG_6234 IMG_6235

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Today, 25th September, is the feast day of Saint Cadog Born 497,
Cadoc was the son of Gwynllyw, ruler of the Kingdom of Gwynllwg and Gwladys, daughter of King Brychan of Brycheiniog.

St Gwladys’ tomb is on Gelligaer common above Bargoed. She was kidnapped by Gwynllyw in a raid with his band of fearless warriors. Gwladys was daughter of King Brychan of Brycheiniog and the battle was fought on the high moorland of Nant Llesg .
The Battle was said to be observed by King Arthur Pendragon, Cei and Bedwyr his bodyguards from Carn Fochriw (“The Cairn on Pig Hill”)… So here we have Arthur, Cei and Bedwyr, at this time, on the mountain above our village.

Can you imagine for one moment that if this had happened in an area like Tintagel that this land would be under threat of PERMANENT DESTRUCTION BY OPENCAST by Miller-Argent???
No, it wouldn’t, it would be a multi million pound tourist industry such as they have in Cornwall!

the battle between Gwynllyw in a raid with his band of fearless warriors. against King Brychan of Brycheiniog.

the battle between Gwynllyw in a raid with his band of fearless warriors. against King Brychan of Brycheiniog.

 

Saint Cadog (Catwg, Cadoc)

Saint Cadog (Catwg, Cadoc)

“Today is the feast day of Saint Cadog (Cadoc) Born 497.

St. Cadoc is one of the most important early Welsh saints. He was a contemporary of Dewi Sant (St. David), St. Patrick of Ireland, St. Columba of lona, and tutor of St Illtyd. It is said that he rivaled St David as Wales’ patron saint.

Cadoc was the son of Gwynllyw, ruler of the Kingdom of Gwynllwg and Gwladys, daughter of King Brychan of Brycheiniog. After the birth of his son, Gwynllyw went on a wild celebratory raid with a new band of fearless warriors. Among other livestock, he stole the cow of an Irish monk, St. Tathyw of Caerwent. St Tathyw was not afraid of Gwynllyw and boldly went to confront him, demanding the return of the cow. Gwynllyw would not let Tathyw leave with his cow until he baptized his newborn son into the Christian faith. On a sudden impulse, or perhaps guided by divine inspiration, Gwynllyw decided Cadoc would go to live under the monk’s care and he was sent away to be educated at Tathyw’s monastery in Caerwent.

In adulthood Cadoc refused to take charge of his father’s army, “preferring to fight for Christ”, he undertook a pilgrimage to Rome and Jerusalem and was reportedly distressed that the Synod of Llanddewi Brefi was held during one of these absences.

Legend says that once whilst hiding in a wood from enemies, he surprised a wild boar, that charged him, but dissapeared before striking him. Cadoc took this as a sign, and the location became the site of the great church and monastry at Llancarfan, near Cowbridge. Legend also says he once saved his brother monks in a famine by tying a white thread to the foot of a mouse; he then followed the thread to an abandoned, well-stocked, underground granary.

It is probable that in his later years he returned to the area around Abergavenny, where he was killed by Saxons in 570 when celebrating Mass.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadoc

Gelligaer Common Archaeological heritage. Saint Dyffrig, Saint Gwladys and Saint Catwg http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/docs/cadw/publications/South%20Wales%20Blaenau%20Gwent_EN.pdf

 

UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! BIG NEWS FOR FEBRUARY 24TH!

CLICK HEREhttps://discordion.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/a-nice-way-to-celebrate-my-400th-post-michael-sheen-tv-program-that-featured-united-valleys-action-group-will-be-shown-on-tuesday-24th-feb/

What a fantastic surprise!

Hollywood A Lister actor Michael Sheen popped into our fortnightly meeting.

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