Selar Farm SSSI

The Selar Farm SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) was a wonderful wildlife site. A grassland that was in places so rich in wildflowers that the grass was almost invisible between them. A natural wildflower lawn.A botanist who surveyed it has informed us that in places quadrats just 25cm square had seventeen species of plant growing in them.  It also held a colony of the Marsh Fritillary butterfly a rare and beautiful threatened species of butterfly which has subsequently been given full legal protection under the law.

The Selar site was destroyed in the 1990s by opencast mining company Celtic Energy. It is now part of a massive hole in the ground. It was the first Site of Special Scientific Interest to be destroyed in the UK.

We very unhappy about the way in which the decision was made by the council. We believe that they were not fully informed about the true significance of their decision and that the officer advising them showed a disturbing degree of ignorance. See. Selar Farm SSSI to be Destroyed

A huge protest developed over the site. Protesters occupied the trees and the matter generated huge media publicity. The final fight to prevent destruction was the lead item on the BBC Wales news for five consecutive nights and was called the “Battle of the Butterflies”.

A small fraction of the grassland was moved as turf to a new site and we later publicised its damage. See Celtic Energy Damages Wildlife Site Again. They also attempted to move the Marsh Fritillary butterflies, but this failed as we predicted it would. It disappeared in less than three years which research has shown has frequently happened when this has been tried many times before. There has also been some  deterioration in the quality and quantity of the flora.


Swansea Friends of the Earth