Coal mine gets green light

4th August 2016


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Conventional ,
  • Fossil fuels ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Planning

Author

Paul Henfrey

Northumberland County Council has approved plans for a surface mine near Druridge Bay.

Banks Mining wants to extract around three million tonnes of coal, sandstone and fireclay over five years from the opencast mine, on the coast between Widdrington and Druridge Bay.

Plans include restoring the site when mining ends. Councillors said they were ‘minded to approve’ the application. Their decision will now be passed to the secretary of state for consideration. If the application is approved, mining will begin next year.

The planning application and environmental statement for the mine states that the development can be undertaken ‘without significant negative effects on designated conservation areas or protected species’ and that planned ‘restoration will provide significant biodiversity benefits linked to the wider management of Druridge Bay’.

However, local campaigners say the site will increase noise, pollution, light and dust, and have a negative impact on wildlife. They also point out that coal extraction is contrary to plans by the government to end unabated coal-fired power generation in the UK by 2025.

After the council’s decision, Green MP Caroline Lucas called for planning rules to be brought into line with the policy to phase out coal power stations. ‘Coal is a dirty, polluting energy source and has no role to play in a modern, zero-carbon economy.

We need to keep coal where it belongs: in the ground,’ she said. Council leader Grant Davey said, although he appreciated it was a controversial issue, the mine would bring jobs to the area and boost economic growth in the county.

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