We have objected to plans by Miller Argent to enclose parts of Gelligaer and Merthyr common in Caerphilly, to dig six million tonnes of coal from the Nant Llesg mine. Because this affects common land, the company needs the consent of Welsh ministers for works on the common in addition to any planning consent.
The proposals involve fencing which will prevent walkers and riders from exercising their rights over extensive areas of land.
A significant area of common land will be closed to walkers and riders for very many years. We consider this to be against the interests of local people who use and enjoy the common for recreation, and the wider public.
The common is a vital asset to the communities around, for fresh air and recreation, with rights to walk and ride all over it. It is a haven for wildlife and is the last area of unspoilt common land in the vicinity.
The proposals to enclose chunks of the common for mining will have a devastating effect on the landscape and natural beauty of the area, right on the doorstep of a large population which desperately needs green spaces.
Miller Argent was refused planning permission for the mine last year, by a unanimous vote of Caerphilly Council’s planning committee but it has appealed. This will be heard, together with the application for works on the common, at a public inquiry later this year.