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Fracking bid on Richard Burton's doorstep in Pontrhydyfen - action group launched to fight it

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 14, 2014

Could there be fracking on Richard Burton's doorstep?

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AN action group has been set up to fight plans to test for gasses in a valley community.

A second meeting was held in Pontrhydyfen, the birthplace of legendary actor Richard Burton, over concerns about a planning application submitted to Neath Port Talbot Council, to explore if there are shale and methane gas supplies in Foel Forest above the village.

Councillor Martin Ellis, for Pelenna, said the meeting was once again well attended, and there are "unanswered questions over the plans.

"There are real fears about the longer term implications of wells being developed across the whole area, at intervals of under a mile," he said. "There remain unanswered questions about the large vehicles needed to bring the drilling rig into the site, along the narrow roads and sharp bends.

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"No details have been provided in the planning application, nor of the large amounts of clean water that would be required for the drilling."

He said there were also major concerns about the disturbance of wildlife in the area, particularly badgers, which, he says, led to a delay in the planning process.

He added that other "unknown" factors included uncharted mine markings, and the potential for water and waste from the drilling to contaminate the streams and rivers in the village and in Cwmavon.

And Mr Ellis said residents of the quiet and picturesque village would be disturbed by continuous noise.

Talking about the proximity of the site to the primary school, he added: "Parents are also concerned about the potential for methane gas leaking from the site, and others about the implication for house prices in the area should a gas well be established.

"This is an area which attracts large numbers of tourists for its natural environment, and the community benefits from this increasingly.

"We all feel that it is time to take stock of where we are going in the Afan Valley and challenge what could be major changes to our communities and their environments for a great many years," he said.

Councillor John Warman, ward member for Cimla, which is over the mountain from the proposed site, said he also attended, along with residents from the area.

He said: "We have tourism in the area and we have the horse trekking centre in Cimla, which could be affected by this."

A consultation period into the application closed last week. It is expected to go before the planning committee later this month.

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  • thomastdout  |  May 14 2014, 8:14PM

    Councillor Ellis didn't cover himself in glory as a Communities First coordinator for Pelenna,now he is stopping the possibility of employment in the Afan valley.As for Councillor Warman it is just another band wagon to jump on.

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  • blacksmith  |  May 14 2014, 3:01PM

    I Would Like john warman to attend to matters in the cimla not glory hunting elsewhere , If he's stuck for a project how about a youth club for the many cimla children to have somewhere to go.

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