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Environmental Innovations

Player-supported charity Friends of the Earth unites over two million supporters and 5,000 local groups in more than 75 countries

Since 2014, players of People's Postcode Lottery have raised over £4.9 Million for Friends of the Earth. This incredible support has helped the charity campaign on major environmental issues and achieve key successes in the fight against climate change - including defeating plans for a huge new opencast coal mine at Nant Llesg in September 2018.

Friends of the Earth Cymru played a crucial role in supporting the community campaign which sprung up to challenge the coal mine plans. Support from players of People's Postcode Lottery was vital in keeping this campaign going for half a decade.

The project was met with fierce local opposition, with the mine not only set to cause pollution, noise and climate-wrecking emissions, but also to destroy a nearby wetland site teeming with wildlife.

If the plans had gone ahead, tonnes of waste rock and soil would have been dumped on peatland close to a local pond known as Rhas Las. The site is home to migrating and wader birds, including rare visitors such as the long-billed dowager. There are nesting curlews, snipe, bar-tailed godwits, ringed plovers and lapwings.

The flexibility of funding from People's Postcode Lottery allowed Friends of the Earth Cymru to support the community campaign led by the United Valleys Action Group (UVAG), and to be creative, innovative and inclusive in the campaign.

Protecting Local Wildlife

The group organised a Death of the Valley protest where they carried a mock coffin in a funeral procession outside the council offices in Caerphilly, wanting to show how the valley would be damaged if the mine went ahead. The following year they staged the follow up, Trial of the Valley. At this event, the group dressed up as judges, lawyers and the grim reaper and put the mining company responsible, Miller Argent, in the dock.

The campaign was hugely successful and, in 2015, Friends of the Earth and UVAG convinced Caerphilly County Council to almost unanimously reject the proposal.

Haf Elgar, director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, said, "It's in part thanks to the sustained support of players of People's Postcode Lottery that we have been able to keep this campaign going over a number of years, and save our beautiful valley from the threat of opencast coal mining."

UVAG went on to be honoured with the award for the Best Community Campaign at the Sheila McKechnie National Campaigner Awards in March 2019.

Thanks to the support of our players, the success of Nant Llesg not only saved this important wildlife habitat from destruction - it triggered a wave of unprecedented climate action in Wales. Just weeks after this significant win, the Welsh government made an historic announcement that fossil fuel extraction projects were incompatible with climate change targets.

This put Wales firmly on a path to a clean energy future, with these new rules effectively meaning no new coal mines, petroleum extraction or fracking will be allowed in the country. The Senedd in Cardiff have also passed clear regulations for cutting the country's carbon emissions and finally went on to officially declare a climate emergency for the country in April 2019.

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Funding from players has helped play a crucial role in supporting Friends of the Earth fight against major environmental issues
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