The Welsh Liberal Democrats have today called on Welsh Labour to introduce stronger measures to prevent new coal mining in Wales.
The calls come after the Liberal Democrats won a vote in the House of Lords last night that would ban new coal mines in England. The Liberal Democrats won the vote against the Conservative Government by just three votes at 197-194.
Wales won the freedom to decide its own future on coal mining under The Wales Act 2017 and the Welsh Government announced a “managed end to the extraction and use of coal” in 2021 and stated it would not grant any new licenses.
However, controversy has arisen in recent months as several existing mines seek to have their licenses extended including Aberpergwm in Neath Port Talbot; Ffos-y-fran in Merthyr Tydfil and Glan Lash in Carmarthenshire.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats are the only party in the Senedd to have publicly opposed these expansions.
The Welsh Government is currently engaged in a judicial review over the proposed expansion of the Aberpergwm Coal Mine brought forward by the Coal Action Network.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have stated that Labour must go further and deny permission for any license extensions, not just new licenses.
The extension of the licence in Aberpergwm alone is estimated to result in 42 million more tonnes of coal being extracted, emitting up to 100 million tonnes of CO2 and 1.17 million tonnes of methane until 2039.
Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:
“The Liberal Democrats are clear, the time for coal has long since passed. Continuing to mine and burn coal not only contributes to runaway climate change, but also to air pollution and poor health.
“The future of Wales is in clean renewables energy, yet we are the only party in the Senedd opposing the expansion of these coal mines. Welsh Labour’s response has been nothing but smoke and mirrors rather than radical action to tackle the climate emergency.
“We want to see real investment in former mining communities, investment in new jobs such as green hydrogen that will provide long-term employment and opportunities, not investment in dying and polluting industries.
“It’s time for Welsh Labour to take some responsibility and commit to a moratorium on the expansion of coal mining licenses. Every year these mines are open it brings us closer to environmental catastrophe.”