16 March 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Zaghari-Ratcliffe released from Iran: At a dark time, this is joyful news
  • Jane Dodds: Aberpergwm Coal Mine Expansion Must be Stopped

Zaghari-Ratcliffe released from Iran: At a dark time, this is joyful news

Responding to the news that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian woman detained in Iran has now been released and is on her way back to the UK, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

At a dark time, this is joyful news for us all to celebrate. Members of the public, NGOs, Parliamentarians and, of course, Nazanin and Anoosheh’s families have campaigned tirelessly for their release – it now looks like they are finally coming home.

But it should not have taken years to reach this day – nearly six years in the case of Nazanin. We should never have been in the situation where UK nationals are being used as political bargaining chips. The UK Government has questions to answer for whether their actions, including those of the current Prime Minister, have prolonged this ordeal. I hope the Foreign Secretary will commit to an independent inquiry.

I’m sure many tears are set to be cried in the next twenty-four hours. But for once I hope they are tears of joy.

Jane Dodds: Aberpergwm Coal Mine Expansion Must be Stopped

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have reiterated their opposition to the expansion of Aberpergwm Coal Mine in Neath Port Talbot Council. Addressing a protest in front of the Senedd Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds stated that if we are to stand any hope of tackling climate change before it’s too late, the coal must be left in the ground.

The protest in front of the Senedd in Cardiff saw multiple Welsh climate groups attend.

The expansion of Aberpergwm Coal Mine has been at the centre of a row between the UK and Welsh Governments, with the Welsh Government claiming it does not have the legal authority to block the mine’s expansion, while the UK Coal Authority has insisted that the Welsh Government could in fact stop the development.

The new license, which was approved by the Coal Authority in January will allow Aberpergwm Mine to extract another forty million tonnes of coal. The development could release up to 1.17 million tonnes of very strong greenhouse gases, including methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

It is absolutely ludicrous that in the middle of a climate emergency we are considering expanding coal mining in Wales. The Welsh Liberal Democrats are absolutely clear, coal should be left in the ground. 2050 is no longer in the distant future.

While our opponents will try and paint us as being against job creation this is absolutely not the case. We believe the people of Glynneath deserve high-skilled future-proof jobs, not ones in a declining industry that will last only a decade at most.

With plans to move steelworks in the UK to Green Hydrogen by the mid-2030s, we are calling on the Welsh and UK Governments to locate some of its Green Hydrogen projects in Glynneath, bringing long term employment to the community and ensuring no one is left without a job as industries begin to change.

While the Welsh Government’s powers over this affair remain unclear, one thing for certain is the UK Government could veto the development if it wished to do so. Just months after claiming a big win at COP26 on the issue of coal mining, Boris Johnson needs to put his money where his mouth is or risk undermining both the UKs climate goals and its global leadership on the Green agenda.

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2 Comments

  • Brad Barrows 17th Mar '22 - 7:57am

    One can’t get away from the thought that had the UK government not taken nearly 6 years to agree to pay the £400M, she would not have lost almost 6 years of her life.

  • The release of Nazanin is good news, but we need to do more, and make this a turning point in relations with Iran. The Sykes Picot plan is often blamed, but things really went wrong when oil grew in importance, and we installed the Shah, to protect our access to Iranian oil. Then the kidnap of US diplomats in 1979 left Americans fuming, and the treatment of Iran, and the largely innocent Iranian people, has since been shaped by fury of the American public; making the US look impotent was not going to be easily forgiven.
    Forty years later we have a right to expect those wounds to have healed. The British government must lead this process, and help bring Iran back into the international community.

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