Mining Landscape in Ceredigion

(formerly Cardiganshire)

A response to the Ceredigion Local Plan on behalf of the Welsh Mines Society.

Environmental Policy (Landscape) ENV01

The council fails to acknowledge the importance of the mining landscape in Special Landscape Areas - Dyfi, Rheidol, Teifi and Ystwyth Valleys, and The Cambrian Mountains - and its policy as defined in ENV02 / SUP09 is detrimental to the overall aim to conserve and protect those Special Landscape Areas.

Environmental Policy (Landscape) ENV06

The council fails to acknowledge the importance of mining landscape in the Historic Landscape of upland Ceredigion, as registered by CADW//ICOMOS (Appendix 7 to the Local Plan) and its policy as defined in ENV02 / SUP09 is detrimental to the overall aim to prevent activity which would affect such historic landscape.

Environmental Policy ENV22

Metal Mines.

Land relamation, capping or works associated with the restoration or the development of derelict metal mines ....

Including -

SUP09 - Enhancement of metal mine sites.

The council will prepare a rolling programme of investment to reclaim, cap and enhance derelict metal mine sites.

The objection is that the stated aim of the council as embodied in SUP09 (Enhancement of metal mine sites) is detrimental to the conservation of the historic upland landscape of Ceredigion in general and mining landscapes in particular.

Although the plan acknowledges the importance of metal mining to industrial archaeology and as historic landscape features, it makes no provision for the protection of mining landscapes in Ceredigion.

Metal mining has made a unique and important impact on the landscape of upland Ceredigion. With time that impact has been softened by nature allowing it to blend into the natural environment whilst it's form still provides a record of past activity. The 'reclamation' of metal mine sites is destroying the form and, with it, the record of those sites. At the same time it is creating fresh scars which can never blend into the environment as they are not allowed to regenerate naturally.

In a similar manner, mining structures which are stabilised or 'restored' in conjunction with these so-called reclaimation schemes take on an appearance which is either out of context with their surroundings or is quite unlike their original finish.

Two examples should suffice to illustrate the problems associated with 'reclamation'.

The tailings heaps at Cwmsymlog were 'reclaimed' in the early 1980s to reduce windblown lead contamination of nearby land - that work resulted in a) increased waterborn pollution which now requires further action, b) an unsightly reseeding of the land occupied by the tailings, the form of which bears no relation to the mining activity once carried out there.

Ystrad Einon Mine - here the crusher house has pointed with little regard for the manner in which it's walls were constructed, large amounts of spoil have been un-necessarily removed from around the house and a large number of substantial fences erected without regard to the site layout. The whole presenting an appearance which relates neither to the site when working or in decay.

Results from schemes as illustrated above may be due to poor advice or poor workmanship, or a combination of both. Expertise is available to advise and assist on such schemes when action is unavoidable but the overall tenet should be to not disturb mining sites beyond the removal of rubbish. The lure of 100% funding for reclamation as a means to creating short term employment should be resisted.

To that end it is suggested that ENV22 and SUP09 be amended to include the overall tenent that mine sites should not be disturbed. Restricting 'reclamation' to only those sites where there is a high risk to public safety. Such reclamation' should only be carried out after full consultation with all interested parties.

The above objections were submitted in representations to Ceredigion County Council as required by 25 February 1998.

Those representations were accepted for consideration by the council's Department of Environmental Services and Housing in December of last year. However the council has now (February 1999) decided to abandon the Local Plan and move directly to formulating their Unitary Development Plan (UDP). The new plan will cover the same issues as the old Local Plan and we are assured that 'the representations received to the Local Plan will be considered by the Planning Committee and will be used to inform the preparation of the UDP.'

Representations on the Local Plan are now superceded by those on the Unitary Development Plan..


Peter Claughton / SHiPSS
Last modified 19 July 2001