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Mining Landscape in Ceredigion

(formerly Cardiganshire)

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

Introduction

Ceredigion County Council have published the Pre Deposit Version of their Unitary Development Plan included in which are the policies for Historic Landscapes (ENVL1.10) and Metal Mines (ENVP3.3). The Unitary Development Plan replaces the old Local Plan (Deposit Version). Comments made on the latter, on behalf of the Welsh Mines Society (WMS), can be seen at http://www.exeter.ac.uk/~pfclaugh/mhinf/cered_lp.htm

Ceredigion appear to have formulated an approach to the protection of the historical landscape which acknowledges the remains of metal mining as significant features within that landscape. In linking mining to landscape they have addressed the adverse comments made by WMS. Their proposals for 'the protection and improvement of the quality of the environment' in respect of metal mine sites (ENVP3.3) place great emphasis on the restrictions to further 'reclamation, capping or works associated with the restoration or the development of derelict metal mines'. In stating their reasons for the policy (ENV3.3) they emphasis the landscape, historical and archaeological value of mine sites. They also emphasis the wildlife habitat value of the sites, including their priority for local biodiversity - evidently responding to work carried out by John Warren at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

However, after stating that work had already carried out on safety or pollution grounds, the council still includes a proposal 'to carry out a rolling programme of works to reclaim, cap and enhance the remaining derelict metal mine sites'. Such a blanket proposal, without any evident reasons on the grounds of safety or pollution problems, would appear to be at odds with the restrictive nature of the policy as defined in ENV3.3.


Response to the plan, submitted on behalf of WMS

Environment, Landscapes. ENVL1.10 Historic Landscapes

The society fully supports the policy where 'proposals which adversely affect the historic and cultural landscape will not be permitted'. We are pleased to see that the development plan acknowledges the place of mining remains and settlements in the historic landscape of upland Ceredigion and includes them in the reasons for promoting the above policy.

Environment, Protection. ENVP3.3 Metal Mines

The society is encouraged by a policy which ensures that 'reclamation, capping and works associated with the restoration or development of derelict metal mines' will only be permitted under strictly defined circumstances. However, the continued emphasis on the reclamation of mine sites potentially undermines the policy (ENVL1.10) to protect the historic landscape of Ceredigion

The reasons given for the policy (ENVP3.3) states that 'These activities (metal mining) have left a legacy of old shafts, adits and spoil heaps scattered across the countryside', with the implication that remedial action is required to rectify this situation. Such features of past mining activity are as much a part of the historic landscape as the structures and other remains which the policy identifies as potentially of archaeological and historical importance. A policy where 'the Council proposes to carry out a rolling programme of works to reclaim, cap and enhance the remaining derelict mine sites' continues to be at odds with the proposal to protect the historic landscape.

We would expect the council to remove its proposal for 'a rolling programme of works' from the development plan. The council should only draw up a proposal for reclamation and capping works in respect of individual sites as and when there is a clear and verifiable case for such works on the grounds of public safety. Clearance of rubbish, eg. abandoned cars, domestic and farm scrap, from mine sites should be encouraged. The 'enhancement' of mine sites should be limited to the clearance of such unrelated rubbish and the stabilisation of deteriorating historic structures. Restoration work on structures should be carried out by competent groups or contractors to a standard agreed with Cadw and supervised by an experienced body such as the Welsh Mines Preservation Trust.


Comments on the representations should be made to Peter Claughton -P.F.Claughton@exeter.ac.uk - as soon as possible.

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Peter Claughton / SHiPSS
P.F.Claughton@exeter.ac.uk
Last modified 19 July 2001