Action at Ffos-y-Fran opencast coalmine 15th June 2016
Ffos-y-Fran is an enormous open cast mine near Merthyr. It's nearly exhausted and the owners, Miller Argent, have a lodged a planning application to extend it.
A group of activists (Reclaim the Power https://reclaimthepower.org.uk) along with local residents organised a camp and mass trespass to close the mine. With several hundred others we camped on the neighbouring common for two days of workshops and action training before entering the mine on Tuesday. The camp itself was fascinating. Despite non-hierarchical organisation and consensus decision-making it functioned very smoothly and efficiently.
We were apprehensive as we went in, knowing we were risking arrest for aggravated trespass. Fortunately, the owners and police had decided on a softly-softly approach (presumably to avoid bad publicity), and had written off the first shift. The police asked us to leave at lunchtime so that the second shift could start, but we refused - so the mine was closed for the whole day.
Here are some pictures: https://reclaimthepower.org.uk/endcoalnow/ and a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p762G7uHpg
What did we achieve?
Plenty of publicity https://storify.com/RTP/reclaim-the-power-end-coal-noq and significant costs to the owners and the police which hopefully will make it more likely that the Nant Lesg extension won't go ahead, either because the Welsh Assembly decides to turn down the planning application or because the security costs of guarding the extension from protesters make it commercially non-viable.