Llyr Gruffydd MS is right to call for the Kronospan fire report to be made public (Advertizer, January 12, 2021), but if there’d been any adverse health effects then, or earlier, surely a medical professional would have spoken out – or is secrecy on such matters essential?

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) of August 15 1992 has a letter by Dr Temple and Dr Sykes headed “Asthma and opencast mining”, which starts : “Following Welsh Office concern about excessive prescribing for asthma in 1983, the Glynneath practice started to audit its treatment of new asthma episodes.”

The graph at the bottom of page 396 shows a large upswing in weekly new asthma episodes after the start of opencast mining from 4.4 prior to mining to 7.9 after mining started.

The Welsh Office should have realised that the opencast works were causing excess asthma and take action to protect human health.

The BMJ letter also includes “There is widespread concern that environmental degradation is causing ill health. European law requires that any major industrial development is assessed for it’s likely effect on human health.”

What we have in Britain is a long tradition of ignoring serious health issues linked to exposure to toxic airborne emissions and it’s unlikely to change.

It’s almost always been “the poor” who’ve suffered most from air pollution and maybe the official line has been something like: “What do their short and miserable lives matter in the grand scheme of things anyway; i.e. when there’s profit to be made?”

Michael Ryan,