Nant Helen Remainder

Nant Helen Remainder

planning application submitted

The planning application for an extension to the Nant Helen Surface Coal Mine has now been submitted to Powys County Council. The Council will formally register the application before consulting with interested organisations, statutory bodies and members of the public. A comprehensive report will then be prepared by the Planning Case Officer for consideration by the full planning committee, with a decision expected sometime during the summer months at the earliest.


Celtic Energy Limited operates the Nant Helen opencast coal site which produces high quality anthracite coal for use in domestic heating as well as powering local industry in South Wales.

Coaling at the site is due to finish late 2012/early 2013, which will not only have a detrimental impact on employment in the local areas, where it would result in the loss of up to 127 jobs, but also have significant consequences for our distribution centre at Onllwyn, where a further 72 people are employed and which relies on coal from the site for processing before despatch to customers.

There are known reserves of coal immediately to the west of the existing site, the bulk of which are contained within the existing site boundary. As such Celtic Energy has submitted a planning application to seek permission to extend the site, which would enable complete recovery of the coal in that area, to be followed by a full and comprehensive restoration scheme. ?If successful, the company would continue its role as a major employer in the area and significant contributor to the local economy, supplying the likes of Aberthaw Power Station and Corus Steel Works as well as numerous householders in South Wales.

Community Consultation

As part of the company’s commitment to open dialogue and communication, Celtic Energy engaged with local residents, stakeholders and interested parties in the planning and development of its proposals for Nant Helen Remainder.

Approximately 250 people attended Celtic Energy’s public exhibitions held over three days in July at venues in Penrhos, Onllwyn and Abercrave and one day in October in Penrhos. In addition, information was displayed in Ystradgynlais Library following the October exhibition.

The first phase of public exhibitions showcased the initial plans for Nant Helen Remainder and created a forum for feedback on the emerging proposals. From the comments received during and after these public exhibitions, some significant amendments were made to the original proposals. A second public exhibiton was held in October to display the updated proposals and provide a further opporuntiy for the local community to give feedback.

Richard Davies, Nant Helen Site Manager Celtic Energy, said: “We would like to thank those who took the time to attend our exhibitions and provide feedback on our plans. We have worked hard to respond to all questions and issues raised and, where possible, have taken on board constructive comments to help shape the final planning application for Nant Helen Remainder.”

Details of how, when and where the community was involved are included in the Environmental Statement (ES) which accompanied the final planning application to Powys County Council. The ES and other documents will be available to view on the Powys County Council website ( once the planning application has been registered.

Exhibition materials

If you were unable to attend the exhibitions, copies of the materials that were on display are available to view by clicking on the links below.

Public Exhibitions – July 2010

Exhibition Boards

Year 1

Years 2 – 3

Years 4 – 5

Restoration and Aftercare

Feedback Form

Frequently Asked Questions

Public Exhibitions – October 2010

Exhibition Boards

Exhibition Boards

Initial Void

  • Minimal clearance of vegetation and soils to allow excavations to move towards the south-west.
  • All useable soils to be stored for re-spreading at a later date as part of the restoration
  • Continuity of coal extraction in a south-westerly direction
  • All excavated overburden to be backfilled internally – no material to be stored in tip (above ground)
  • 21 hectares of land available for progressive restoration
  • Excavation (and tipped) slopes not required for operational purposed to be seeded for grass

Initial Void

Void Years 2-3

  • Limited clearance of vegetation to maintain maximum screening; recovered soils to be stored
  • Continuity of overburden excavation and coal extraction
  • Continuity of internal backfilling
  • Return of overburden from northern storage area
  • 39 hectares of land available for progressive restoration
  • All excavation (and tipped) slopes not required for operational puposes to be seeded to grass

Void Years 2 – 3

Final Void

  • Complete clearance of vegetation in 2 stages, maintaining a screen of trees at least 100 metres wide towards Penrhos
  • Progress overburden excavation to establish the final void
  • Coal extraction to be completed in 4.5 years
  • Continuity of internal backfilling & return of overburden from northern storage area
  • 138 hectares of land available for progressive restoration

Final Void

Restoration & Aftercare


  • Complete return of overburden from storage mound to final void in approximately 2.5 years
  • Complete re-profiling of site to restoration contours
  • Establish features such as ponds and watercourses
  • Re-establish the boundary of the former areas of common lands
  • Removal of site infrastructure


  • Aftercare to be undertaken for a minimum of 5 years following restoration
  • Once backfilling is complete the conifer “screen” will be felled, to be replaced with broadleaf woodland
  • Land management
  • Habitat creation
  • Tree care
  • Re-establish Rights of Way

Proposed Restoration Strategy

Section AA from Waun Gyrlais
Section BB from Tan y Waun
Section CC from Brecon Road

Photo Montage View Points

Pen Rhiw Photomontage
Pen Rhiw Restoration Photomontage
Views – Tan Y Waun
Views – Brecon Road
Views – Seven Sisters and Onllwyn
Waun Gyrlais Photomontage
Ystalyfera Photomontage
Ystalyfera Restoration Photomontage

Other documents

Feedback Form
Frequently Asked Questions


Contact Us

If you would like to be kept informed as the planning process progresses, or if you have any questions, concerns or comments regarding our proposals, please contact us using one of the following methods:

Email: or write to us at: Celtic Energy Limited, 9 Beddau Way, Castlegate Business Park, Caerphilly, CF83 2AX