Coal mine gets green light
- Conventional ,
- Fossil fuels ,
- Business & Industry ,
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.
The Green Homes Grant is set to deliver only a fraction of the jobs and improvements intended, leading to calls for more involvement from local authorities in future schemes.
COVID-19 recovery packages have largely focused on protecting, rather than transforming, existing industries, and have been a “lost opportunity” for speeding up the global energy transition.
None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.
The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.
Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.
The UK will no longer use unabated coal to generate electricity from October 2024, one year earlier than originally planned, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced.
The UK government is not on track to deliver on its promise to improve the environment within a generation and is failing to stem the tide of biodiversity loss, a damning new report from MPs has revealed.