09/03/2017 BBC Wales Today


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Tonight's headlines: 11 million tonnes of coal are mined at the UK's


Now the United Nations is to call for an investigation into its effect


We've got a case that is so strong, so awful, but if ever it got heard,


I think people would stand up and say for goodness' sake,


how on earth could you allow this to happen to people?


The mine's operator has accused local people


Also tonight: Two decades after she was murdered


by her husband, remains found near Newport are confirmed


Her daughter says she finally has closure.


I'm just relieved that it is her so that we can get closure,


I can finally lay her to rest, which is what she deserves.


The academy set up by former Wales football captain Craig Bellamy


Now concerns are raised following its closure.


No mention of it in yesterday's budget, but today, some hope


It's a mile a day for these children and teachers say it's


improving their health and learning.


11 million tonnes of coal being mined metres from people's homes.


Residents living alongside the Ffos-y-Fran opencast coal pit


in Merthyr Tydfil have long campaigned against it.


Now BBC Wales has learnt that a United Nations report will call


for an independent investigation into claims it may be


The mine's operator has accused those living near the mine


Our environment correspondent Steffan Messenger has


It's a dark scar, cut into the hillside,


This is Ffos-y-Fran, the size of some 400 football pitches.


Since 2007, a private company's been digging here,


Right, what you are looking at on the mountain there,


that there is the bowl of the opencast mine.


Absolutely phenomenal amount of dust.


On a fine day, you will find where the wind is blowing and oh,


it is coming over us, you know what I mean?


These photos some locals claim show how pollution from the mine has


They had been promised when the planning application went


through that modern mining methods would mean they


For more than a decade, they've held protests,


attempted legal action, and petitioned the local


council, the Welsh and Westminster governments.


I have got the posters for the public meeting.


Chris and Alison Austin claimed they've been betrayed


Nobody is interested in trying to resolve this issue.


There have been times we've been sitting here,


We've got a case that is so strong, so awful, that if ever it got heard,


I think people would stand up and say, for goodness' sake,


how on earth can you allow this to happen to people?


How can you allow this to happen to communities such as this?


But now, BBC Wales can reveal that the United Nations,


which has a role in protecting human rights worldwide, is set to make


Following an official visit to the UK, a report by its chief


legal adviser on pollution will criticise the way


local people's concerns in Merthyr Tydfil have been handled


I came across a number of pressing issues but this was definitely


I heard allegations of very high rates of childhood asthma,


cancer clusters among the community, and despite those allegations,


I didn't hear any evidence of a strong intervention


by the government to investigate, any strong reaction


There needs to be an independent and thorough investigation


of what sort of health effects may be linked to the operation


Mr Tuncak said that the case raised many concerns about the UK's


approach to eat environmental regulation, different layers


of government shirking responsibility and not enough


funding being handed down to make sure big companies


In a statement, the mine operator Miller Argent said some local


residents had been spreading fake news about pollution.


It criticised the UN special rapporteur for not visiting


the mind during his trip, accusing him of being biased


The mine, they say, is heavily regulated and has


never been prosecuted for any environmental breaches.


It also supports around 200 jobs in one of Wales' poorest areas.


Merthyr Tydfil Council criticised Mr Tuncak for not


speaking to its officials, claiming his report would be


I think the community years really frustrated and in my view,


is rightfully frustrated by the system.


We showed a video of our interview to some of the local


Finally hearing somebody who has some authority and all the years


There's a basic human rights about clean air, about no pollution,


and he's carefully analyse what needs to be done.


And I've got faith that something will happen now.


The special rapporteur's report is due to be presented to the UN's


human rights Council in Geneva in September.


The UK Government will then formally respond to his recommendations.


A surprising intervention from the UN?


Lucy, this is a very unusual story. I have been asking around today and


it is almost unheard of for the United Nations to comment on a UK


environmental issue. What is interesting is actually the


responses we have had back to this story from the different authorities


across the UK because they almost seem to underline what he has been


saying. The UK Government told us that this is a matter for the Welsh


Government two Duo. The Welsh Government said we are supporting


the local authority. It could be argued we have somehow been shifted


round the houses as it were on this today and that is the criticism from


the United Nations. They say someone somewhere needs to stand up and take


responsibility and react to the allegations. This is the most senior


adviser from the United Nations on the environment. He comes at this


from a human rights perspective. The council says he should have come to


talk to us. There will be pressure on Welsh and UK ministers to


initiate some sort of investigation or response. Already today we have


had reports from environmental charities, calling for that to


happen. Police have confirmed tonight that


a body found in a reservoir in Monmouthshire last month


is that of Sandie Bowen, Her husband, Mike Bowen, was jailed


for her murder but never revealed This is where Sandie


Bowen was found. In a now near empty


Wentwood Reservoir. Her body had been


there for two decades. Anita Giles, Sandie Bowen's


daughter, never gave up hope She is now being supported


by trained police officers. I am just relieved that it is her


so that we can get closure, I can finally lay her to rest,


which is what she deserves, Sandie Bowen went missing in 1997,


from her home in Monmouthshire. Her husband, Mike Bowen,


said he dropped her off at Newport railway station


where she was catching a train to Folkestone in Kent,


to visit her daughter. Hours earlier, he had found out


she was having an affair. Police later discovered he had also


been having an affair. Her daughter, Anita,


reported her meeting when she failed to arrive in Kent and made


an emotional appeal. I just want my mum to find me,


just to let me know she's all right. Or contact the police


station, anything, just Police carried out a huge search


of the Monmouthshire countryside, At the time, police divers probed


a then fuller Wentwood Reservoir. But there was no sign


of the 53-year-old. Eventually, police found her blood


at the home she shared A year later, he was convicted


of the murder of Sandie Bowen. He's never said what


he did with her body. Mike Bowen has recently been


released on licence. I don't think he should


have been given parole. I don't think anyone


should be given parole, I am supporting Helen's law


where the person that's convicted of murdering someone should not be


allowed parole until they've given Had mum not been found


and he hadn't been given parole, he may well still be


in prison today. After two decades, the search


for Sandie Bowen is over. Murdered by Mike Bowen, he then


dumped her body in this reservoir. He believed it would


never be discovered. Now, police are looking


into what further action 17 men have been sentenced


at Newport Crown Court, following the largest drugs


operation ever carried The men were arrested following 14


police-raids involving 300 officers They admitted a variety of offences,


including possession with intent to supply class-A drugs,


including crack cocaine and heroin. The sentences range from 16 months


to four years in prison. 12-year-old boy remains


in a critical condition after he collided with a minibus,


when he was cycling in Trefriw He was airlifted to a hospital


in Liverpool with serious injuries following the incident on Crafnant


Road. North Wales Police are


appealing for witnesses. Job losses at a newspaper site


in Newport are to be reviewed BBC Wales understands Newsquest had


been given ?245,000 in grant aid to expand a sub-editing hub


and protect jobs until 2020. But the company announced


it was closing the hub, It says improved workflow across its


papers has cut the workload. The Charity Commission has


confirmed its looking at concerns about Welsh footballer


Craig Bellamy's football academy in Sierra Leone which has


been forced to close The Craig Bellamy Foundation,


set up in 2008 offered five-year scholarships to children


as young as 11. The former Wales Captain is said


to be devastated by the news and is co-operating fully


with the authorities. Just amazed by the warmth of the


people but also their thirst for football. This is a promotional


video for the foundation when it launched back in 2010. A few years


earlier, the Wales international striker had visited the area and was


struck by their love of football. He set up an academy in a small fishing


village which offered five-year scholarships to children and created


a youth football league which at one point docking around 2500


youngsters. Interviewed at the time, he said it was one of his proudest


achievements. It gave me an opportunity to give something back


to people that needed more than anyone. It has been very rewarding


for me as a person and hopefully I can change 's lives. Craig Bellamy


came to my house and visited me. But now the foundation has closed. It


stayed open recently but despite Craig Bellamy putting in a reported


?1.4 million of its own -- his own money but it has got into financial


difficulties. In a statement, the Charity Commission have said... The


former Wales captain is now a youth coach at Cardiff city and was


unavailable for comment today. However his solicitor has told me he


is devastated by what has happened to his foundation in West Africa. A


statement released on his behalf says Mr Bellamy has recently


appointed a new legal team to investigate any irregularities in


the management of his financial affairs. It says that team will


assist all government agencies in their investigations and if


necessary, take action against those responsible for any wrongdoing.


Still to come in the programme tonight: Turning the tide


I like running because it is healthy.


With less than two months until the local elections,


there are questions tonight about who is in charge


The party's former chairman in Wales has quit, telling BBC Wales that


Our political correspondent Daniel Davies has this report.


A breakthrough in last year's assembly elections, and in June,


the moment Ukip longed for, Brexit.


Ukip leader Paul Nuttall came a disappointing second at the recent


The party's former chairman in Wales has had enough.


Chris Smart is quitting and hopes to rejoin the Conservatives.


I took his claim that Ukip is unravelling to some party big


guns, opening an office in Pontypool today.


Well, the party is certainly not unravelling.


Chris has had various frustrations with the party


organisation in Ukip, as have I.


I have got a lot of sympathy for him.


But in Wales, we are going forward and in the assembly,


we are there every day the assembly sits, making waves and I hope


changing things for the better in Welsh politics.


Mr Smart says he is disappointed by feuding at the top of Ukip.


Their only MP, Douglas Carswell, knows something about that.


He was here today, so a chance to ask...


Is there any truth to these rumours that you tried.


It is absolutely not for me to decide who gets a knighthood.


You know, people ask me if it was me who stopped Nigel


I have as much say in that as I do to say who becomes


The council elections in May will be the first Wales wide vote


Places like this, Torfaen, voted to leave.


So can Ukip harness that support and get councillors elected?


But I just think Labour is just totally lost its way completely.


With Brexit won, the question, what is Ukip for, just won't go away.


But opponents have written them off before and have come to regret it.


What are Ukip's prospects for the local elections?


Well, Chris Smart thinks they will struggle to get off the ground. He


declined our invitation to come on the programme and expand on his


views, saying, I do not want to slack of Ukip publicly, which makes


a change from some in the party who have specialised in slapping each


other off in recent times. Ukip does not have a separate structure in


Wales. We are told this weekend, they will appoint a full-time


official to coordinate their election campaign. They will be


fewer campaign candidates than the other parties. They are not geared


up to contest elections everywhere. But in communities like this, they


say they can give a good account of themselves. The Welsh Government has


been accused of vetoing the new candidate. The UK garment has


reopened the points process after its choice of candidate was rejected


by ministers in Cardiff Bay. The new board begins in April but it will be


some months before a replacement is in the post.


The fall out from yesterday's budget continues.


One project not mentioned by the Chancellor was a city


Many in the area had been expecting it to be given the thumbs up.


Well today Phillip Hammond confirmed that it could be agreed this month.


Our economics correspondent Sarah Dickins is here.


It is quite interesting because many people in Swansea involved in this


?1.3 billion deal did expect it to be announced in the budget. They


even thought that morning. We have heard talk about the northern


powerhouse for Manchester in the past and this year Chancellor Philip


Hammond did mention what he called the Midlands engine. No mention of


Swansea. Plaid Cymru 's Jonathan Edwards was unhappy and now the


Chancellor has written to him saying he thought he was overoptimistic and


expecting it but the Chancellor did say the UK Government is committed


to the plan. They hope to get it finalised by the 27th of March. And


there has been a reaction from the director-general of the CBI. Yes, he


has been in Wales today talking to businesses. She was really pleased


that the Chancellor in the budget was trying to improve the UK and


Wales' productivity and she particularly liked the fact that


what he wants to do is to give equal status to vocational training, if


you like, as academic and this is how she put it.


The Chancellor yesterday mentioned this idea of parity of esteem.


The idea that it's just as good to go down the vocational route


I do hope that the Welsh Government embraces those principles


and certainly, I think our business members, our members here,


will be hoping to work with the government here to see how


that can be not necessarily replicated.


I think Wales can do things differently but those principles


are enshrined in whatever you choose to do here.


You will have noticed she was very careful there not to tell the Welsh


Government what to do but you know, we at the moment have a situation


where there are A-levels in England and Wales and while the curricula


might be different, employers and universities understand the standard


of A-levels. These vocational training is will be called T levels


in England. The decision for Wales is whether to follow that for the


sake of ease of understanding or whether to do something different.


Football and Newport County have sacked their manager,


Graham Westley, after five months in charge.


It follows a string of poor results which have left the exiles 11 points


from safety at the bottom of the Football League.


Westley will be replaced by first-team coach Mike Flynn


Ben Davies has signed a new contract with Tottenham Hotspur. He has made


43 appearances for Spurs since leaving Swansea in 2014.


The roof at the Principality Stadium will be closed


for Wales' Six Nations clash with Ireland tomorrow night.


Alun Wyn Jones and his team have had a final run-out at the stadium.


Wales will be unchanged from the team that lost to Scotland


Ireland are more than happy to go with our decision so in fairness,


for the supporters, that will add to the occasion. It will be a fantastic


atmosphere and that is what it is all about. Teams coming to Cardiff


and wanting to play at the stadium, make it as great an occasion as


possible. It is closed, so I am really looking forward to that. We


have got to be confident in what we feel we can achieve. The last time


we were here, 65 minutes against England, if we can match that, you


know, and just build on that, and learn from that experience against


England then we are not going to be far off.


We've heard lots in recent years about obesity and a lack


Well, a growing number of schools here in Wales are hoping to turn


the tide by encouraging pupils to run or walk a mile every day.


They say it's having a big impact on the children's health


and improving their learning, as our Education Correspondent


It is two o'clock at this primary School and it is time for the daily


Mail. Everyday, all 114 children run or walk a mile around the school


playground. The Daily Mail began five years ago and the idea has


spread across the UK. -- the Daily Mile. Does running make you happy?


Yes, I like running with my best friend. Can you run very fast? Are


you going to show me? Why do you like running the Daily Mile at


school? Because it just makes you fit and healthy and it is just fun


to do. But the Daily Mile is not just about improving health and


fitness, the teachers here tell me that running or walking a mile every


day at school also improves their concentration and even their


behaviour in the classroom. And if the children's behaviour and


concentration is good, they are more likely to learn and that is good


news for everyone. Children are much more focused and definitely more


eager to work after having that time out from lessons. They are much more


engaged coming back into class. A really big difference. Most


definitely. Both of my children have got asthma. It keeps them fit and


healthy. It is brilliant for them. Exercise. And they really enjoy it.


Fabulous. Healthy. And good exercise for the children. With more and more


schools across Wales taking part, in time, the Daily Mile could be as


important a part of the school day as maths and English.


Time for the weather forecast now and Behnaz is here.


It is going to get much cloudier through tomorrow. It was a lovely


afternoon. These were the scenes. Temperatures reaching a high of 17


Celsius. The warmest day of the year so far. We will start to see the


cloud increasing tonight. The potential for some missed as well.


Initially, it will be chilly with clear skies but the cloud is pushing


up from the south-west and with that we will see some and Merck,


especially across Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. The odd spot of rain on


the hills. Temperatures no lower than six Celsius. The winds are


light and going from a south-easterly direction. Tomorrow,


high pressure is controlling our weather. We do have this Weatherford


nearby and we will see quite a bit of cloud around but it should be a


largely dry day again. First thing tomorrow morning, poor visibility. A


lot of cloud. The odd spot of rain on the hills. Most of us getting


away with a dry day. Some limited amounts of bright weather. The best


of sunshine for Powys, Wrexham, Denbighshire and Flintshire.


Temperatures ranging between ten and 14 Celsius. It will be a bit


blustery along those coastal areas. If you are going to the rugby


tomorrow night, some good news. Temperatures around 10 Celsius.


Battlefield quite comfortable as long as you are wearing plenty of


layers. For the rest of Wales, lot of cloud around. Some mist and fog


Tembi is not dropping too much. Those are the type of temperatures


we would expect in the daytime in March. And on Saturday, yes, we will


see in that cold weather front just eating in. Bring a little bit of


rain across Bath and and. Of the bulk of the country, yet again, a


dry story. We will see quite a bit of cloud on. A little bit of rain


for Anglesey in the morning. But it will be rather grey with


temperatures getting up to around 13 Celsius. Winds are light and coming


from a westerly direction. A little bit more cloud to come, turning


cooler as we head into Sunday. BBC Wales has learned


that the United Nations is to call for an investigation into the impact


the UK's largest opencast mine, in Merthyr Tydfil, is having


on the health of local residents. Also, human remains found


in a reservoir in Monmouthshire have been confirmed as being


Sandie Bowen, who was murdered He had never said what


he did with her body. I'll have an update for you here


on BBC 1 Wales at 8 and again From all of us on the


programme, goodbye.


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