Protesters seize site of Wales' first Climate Camp

12.8.2009
At 7.30am this morning, around 60 protesters set up the site of Wales' first Climate Camp on the edge of Merthyr Tydfil, next to the controversial Ffos-y-Fran opencast coal mine.

The Camp, which runs until 16 August, aims to highlight the hypocrisy in government policy of claiming to act on climate change while expanding coal mining. Coal is the most carbon-intensive fuel, and campers argue it should be left in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Campers also aim to build a strong grassroots movement against the causes of climate change in Wales. They are inviting anyone concerned about climate change to come for several days of family-friendly discussions, workshops and sustainable living.

The protest site is only 36 metres away from the edge of the mine – the same distance as several homes. This proximity is despite continuing local opposition to the noise, dust and fumes from the 1,000 acre site. A report funded by the Welsh Assembly Government in June 2007 [1] expressed concern about the health effects of air pollution and dust particles.

Local campaign groups such as Residents Against Ffos-y-Fran (RAFF) have long been ignored by planners and government.

Camper Jill Lloyd said: “We need work that does not destroy lives or trash the planet, and we urgently need green-collar jobs for Merthyr. Wales could soon be self-sufficient in clean energy but if we keep mining fossil fuels such as coal, we will cause death and hardship for millions of people around the world. To stop devastating climate change we must leave coal in the ground.”

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[1] The 2007 Health Impact Report can be found at http://www.stopffosyfran.co.uk/files/Final%20report%20June%2007.pdf

A map to the site is available at www.climatecampcymru.org