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Extinction Rebellion end coal mine occupation

Time and date:2010-12-5 17:23:32  author:Press center2   source:Press center3  view:  comment:0
Content summary:Seven people are arrested after more than 60 Extinction Rebellion activists storm a coal mine. part-time

More than 60 Extinction Rebellion activists have ended an occupation at a coal mine that is due for expansion.

The protesters arrived at Aberpergwm mine, near Glynneath, Neath Port Talbot on Sunday afternoon.

Seven people have been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass, South Wales Police confirmed.

Demonstrators object to the "silence" of the Welsh government after approval was given for another 40 million tonnes of coal to be dug at the site.

The Welsh government previously stated it did not have the powers to make a decision on these expansion plans, which now faces a judicial review.

Extinction Rebellion members, some dressed in white hazmat suits and carrying black flags bearing the group's logo, began setting off flares and climbing onto roofs after entering the site about 16:30 (BST) on Sunday.

They claim the licence contravened the Senedd's own climate change targets as well as the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015, which requires public bodies in Wales to consider the long-term impact of their decisions.

The last remaining protesters had left by 11.15 BST on Monday.

Accountant and protestor Mel cost, 55, from Swansea added: "We are destroying our climate and our wonderful biodiversity.

"The technology is here to allow us to transition away from fossil fuels but we need to do it now."

Speaking to Radio Wales Breakfast, activist Grug said: "The Welsh government has remained silent on this issue - there is a judicial review which Coal Action Network have taken forward.

"It's really important to highlight this to the public.

"If this expansion goes ahead there will be 100 million tones of C02 released into the air, so it's really important that we keep the pressure on.

"The Welsh government signed up to the Glasgow Climate Pact, that came from COP26 and specifically mentions coal, as well as the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance.

"If they can't do anything about [this expansion] then they should at least be asking that the decision is overturned and stating they don't want this to go ahead because they are committed to investing in renewables and a transition to green energies."

The Welsh government said it cannot comment further due to the legal proceedings.

However a spokesperson added: "We have been clear that we did not have the powers to make a decision in this case as it pre-dates our powers on coal licensing.

"The fundamental issue is having a Coal Authority whose duty is to maintain a coal mining industry in the UK and we have been calling for the UK Government to change this duty in the Coal sector Act to address the climate emergency."

The UK government, which oversees the Coal Authority that is responsible for licensing coal mines, said it has reduced the country's reliance on coal.

A spokesperson added: "UK government ministers have no formal role in the licensing process.

"The UK government's view is that the Coal sector Act 1994 states, where a coal operator wants to mine in Wales, it must seek the approval of the Welsh ministers as part of its application for a licence to do so."

The colliery is the only producer of high-grade anthracite in western Europe and supplies the nearby Tata Steel plant in Port Talbot.

However, the mine's operator Energybuild has said most of the coal will be used for processes such as water filtration and to make batteries for electric vehicles, rather than being burned.

Green MP Carline Lucas branded the original expansion decision as "shameful", while the legal challenge has been backed by the Welsh Liberal Democrats, who accused the Welsh government of dithering.

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