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Case update 25 July 2023

We’re taking action against illegal coal mining in Wales

Good Law Project is supporting Coal Action Network and the local residents they work with living in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, to end the illegal extraction of coal at the Ffos-y-Fran open-cast coal mine.

“At times, the noise and dust, for 15-16 Hours a day, just 300m from our doorstep, has been beyond our worst nightmares. This mine has been a local and environmental disaster for 16 years; it’s time to bring it to an end for the benefit of us all. The Merthyr Community have had enough of this mine!” – Chris and Alyson, local residents

Imagine living near an open-cast coal mine 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.

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Planning permission to create a mine in Ffos-y-Fran was initially turned down in 2005. But the mining company appealed, and Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council gave the go-ahead after the company argued the mine would restore the site, which had an ongoing issue with fly-tipping. The mine opened in 2007, and 16 years on, the local community continues to protest against its operation.

At the beginning of September last year, planning permission for the mine ended; however, the company, Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd, continued to extract coal illegally. Residents complained, but the local council refused to listen. After they gathered evidence, with the support of an anti-fossil fuel campaigning group, Coal Action Network, the council finally admitted that coal was still being extracted from the site.


Shockingly, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council has refused to stop the illegal coal mining immediately. In May this year, the council did put in place an enforcement notice, a legal document which told the company their mining operation was in breach of planning regulations. But Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd. appealed and continued to extract coal from this site. And they could do so for another 10 months while the appeal is considered. 

We believe the extraction of coal needs to cease now! So Good Law Project and Coal Action Network have sent a legal letter to the council and Welsh Ministers asking for a stop notice to be issued by the 1 August 2023 at the latest; this would prohibit any further coal from being extracted.

Coal Action Network estimates that since September 2022, the mining company has extracted around 281,652 tonnes of coal illegally, adding up to 885,557 tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere. The mine produces an average of 875 tonnes of coal per day, which is the equivalent of burning up to over a million litres of petrol daily. 

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

“The Welsh Government has evidence-based, progressive policies to rule out new coal mines and extensions within Wales – but policies are only meaningful to the extent that they are acted upon, something the Welsh Government has spectacularly failed to do for over 10 months. If Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council is refusing to implement Welsh Government policy, then the Welsh Government needs to do so swiftly and decisively by finally bringing Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd to heel with a Stop Notice.” – Daniel, Coal Action Network

Join Good Law Project, Coal Action Network and the people of Merthyr Tydfil to get justice for the powerful local community and challenge the future of coal mining. You can sign our petition here.