The restoration phase proposes that the site will be fully restored to a suitable condition to enable a subsequent mixed use development and the upper reaches restored for public access and nature conservation. Limited temporary landscaping works will be carried out to control dust and visual intrusion pending development commencing.
The site restoration has the potential to improve the health and wellbeing of the local community, and potentially provide education opportunities through the planned environmental resource centre.
Retained / Lost / Replaced Environmental Features
The restoration scheme will include a number of newly created habitat corridors which will link areas of habitat interest through the site and in the longer term provide a link from the Blaen Cynon Special Area of Conservation on the northern side of the valley through to the uplands on the south side of the valley. The reinstated Nant-y-Bwlch watercourse will form part of the habitat link connecting habitats across the site. Pedestrian and cycle links will be provided through the site to open it up for informal recreation and create access routes through the site, from its boundary near Hirwaun and the National Park towards Morgannwg Way and beyond to the south. This site will also include the permanent development of a new visitor / environmental resource centre.
Landscape & Visual
A detailed Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment has been undertaken to determine the potential effects of developing the surface mine as well as the restoration works.
Photomontages were used to illustrate the Project at various stages (existing, operational and restored) from eleven viewpoints. In terms of the operational phase, the montages include a view at operational year 6 (maximum height of overburden mound, which will be the most visible feature of the mine) and a comparison with the existing situation.
The storage of excavated materials from the mine will screen the majority of mining activities. The main overburden mound is predicted to impact on the character and visual amenity of the area during the operational phase. However, this will exist for a comparatively short period. The overburden mound reaches a maximum in Year 6 and removal commences in Year 7 for site restoration.
The restoration proposals will result in overall beneficial residual impacts for the majority of landscape and visual receptors and resources. This is mainly due to the fact that the existing landscape character and visual amenity is already negatively affected by the existing site.