On the 15th September 2014, Director and Producer for BBC Wales: Sian Roderick attended a United Valleys Action Group meeting at The Blast Furnace in Pontlottyn. Sian was interested in the group’s present (Anti -Opencast, Nant Llesg) and previous campaigns (Covanta – Anti-Incinerator – and Ffos- y Fran – Anti-Opencast), with a view to including the group in a documentary that she is making with Welsh Hollywood actor Michael Sheen. The documentary is to commemorate 175 years since the introduction of The Chartist Movement in Wales. Michael spoke openly of his disgust at Newport Council’s decision to destroy the monumental Chartist mural in 2013… You can read more about that here: Michael Sheen pens open letter.
Michael and his crew turned up unexpectedly at our meeting on Monday the 22nd of September 2014. They filmed us and Michael asked specific questions of the group:
One of his questions was “Do you feel represented?” The answer from all present was a resounding NO!
Although we have had some cross party representation during our campaign protests at Ty Penallta and The Senydd, it is the Localism Act issue that seems to have prevented many Councillors speaking out for us. This act was brought in by Parliament in 2011 but it seems that certain County Councils refuse to adhere to its ruling. The group has had to deal with bureaucratic red tape time and again and feel disheartened by the fact: that many of those who are voted in by the people do not truly represent them.
The group would like to thank Michael and his crew for listening intently; and supporting us, in the campaign and issues that we, as a group, are up against. It is great that someone in the public eye can take time out from a busy schedule to visit a small campaign group such as UVAG. Hopefully this gesture will help with publicity for UVAG’s campaign.
United Valleys Action Group is the umbrella group for the Darran/Merthyr/Rhymney/Bedlinog and Blaenau Gwent Valleys, anyone wishing to get involved can visit our facebook page here: UVAG