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End illegal coal extraction at Ffos-y-Fran

Imagine living near an opencast coal mine, the size of 400 football pitches, that disrupts your daily life with air and noise pollution. Imagine you are ignored, overruled, and deceived, all in the name of profit. Now imagine living with this and knowing this massive mining operation is illegal.

Residents in Merthyr Tydfil have described the Ffos-y-Fran mine as “a local and environmental disaster” that has been beyond their “worst nightmares”.

It’s almost a year since planning permission for the mine expired, but the company, Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd, is still digging coal. Estimates suggest that more than 300,000 tonnes have been extracted illegally since September 2022.

The Welsh Government only granted planning permission for a mine in 2005 after the original coal operator agreed to redevelop the site into a green hillside after mining stopped. 

The local council revealed last year that Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd had only paid £15m into the fund, while estimates of the clean-up bill have ballooned to between £75m and £125m.

A Good Law Project investigation has found that the mine company has chosen to pay out £49.89m in dividends and royalties, while the restoration fund faces a shortfall of at least £60m

Coal mining tears apart the landscape and contributes to climate change. Continuing to extract coal goes against the Government’s plans to reach net zero by 2050.

Join Good Law Project, Coal Action Network and the people of Merthyr Tydfil to get justice for the local community and put an end to this illegal coal mine.


Good Law Project and Coal Action Network sent a legal letter to the council and Welsh Ministers asking for a stop notice to be issued by 1 August, which would have prevented any more coal from being extracted. But neither the council nor the Welsh Ministers have issued a stop notice, so we’re bringing legal action, asking the court to order the council and Welsh Ministers to make a decision on issuing a stop notice urgently.

10% of the funds raised will be a contribution to the general running costs of Good Law Project. It is our policy only to raise sums that we reasonably anticipate could be spent on the work we are crowdfunding for. However, if there is a surplus it will go to develop and support further work we do to fight for a better fairer future for all.

Crowdfunder Updates

  • 22/08/2023

    Coal Action Network have launched a bid in the High Court to stop illegal coal mining in Wales.

    Good Law Project have helped Coal Action Network to launch a Judicial Review, so that a judge can decide if the Welsh Government and Merthyr Tydfil council are breaking the law by putting off a decision to bring mining to a halt.

    Planning permission for the mine ended in September last year and the council has known about unlawful mining at the site since January 2023. The council issued an enforcement notice in May, but the company running the mine, Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd, appealed and mining still continues. A stop notice would halt operations at the mine, but the council hasn’t issued one.

    The company announced last week that they plan to stop mining on 30 November. But that could mean another 100 days of illegal mining.

    Since mining continues in Ffos-y-Fran, with over 270,000 tonnes of coal removed since planning permission expired, we believe the Welsh Government must step in. Not only has the council failed to take effective action, but public bodies have a responsibility under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 to think about the long-term impact of their decisions and prevent health inequalities, poverty and global heating.

    The council argues that there is no need to rush a complex decision, while the Welsh Government maintains that it is an issue to be decided by local authorities. But we think it’s very simple and there’s no time to waste.

This crowdfunder is now closed.

Thanks to the amazing support of Good Law project supporters, we raised £23,120.69

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