Disappointment as Government allows underground coking coal mine application to go ahead

We're disappointed to let you know that on the 6th January 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick said that the government will not step in and review Cumbria County Council's decision to approve the Woodhouse Colliery Application.

West Cumbria Mining want to extract nearly 3 million tonnes of coking coal for export to Europe every year until 2049 from a site next to the coast at Whitehaven, Cumbria. In October 2020 Cumbria Council approved the amended application by West Cumbria Mining. Robert Jenrick has said in advance of the hearing, that if this were the decision he would consider 'calling it in' and deciding the application himself.

Campaign Group, South Lakes Action on Climate Change, towards transitions said in a statement, "The Secretary of State has decided NOT to "call in" the planning application! We are extremely disappointed (but not surprised) that Robert Jenrick is insisting that West Cumbria Mining's plan to extract nearly 3 million tonnes of coal a year is not considered to be of national importance, and can be simply a local decision. Even though Cumbria County Council restricted the permission to the end of 2049, rather than 2070 [as WCM had applied for] this is still an outrageous decision that flies in the face of the UK's promises to address climate change and their claim to leadership through this year's COP 26.

Very little of this coal will be suitable for the UK steel industry, and it will be exported with no enforceable control on where or how it is used. It will give rise to around 9 million tonnes of carbon emissions for the next 30 years, and is likely to undermine both the decarbonisation of the steel industry and also the emerging pledges to reduce emissions.

However this is not the end of the struggle. Even before County Council issues the Decision Notice, SLACC's legal team at Richard Buxtons Solicitors will be assessing the options for taking further legal action." If you'd like to help SLACC's continued action against this application, could you donate to, or share their crowdfunder https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/westcumbriamineslacc/

At the October planning hearing it was clear that several of the Cumbria County Councillor's did not fully understand the climate change impacts of the proposal. Nor did they understand the submission from Professor Paul Ekins showing that extracting coking coal in the UK increases the amount of coal consumed, as it will be used in addition to that imported to Europe from abroad.

This is a missed opportunity for the UK government to show a commitment to tackling climate change and to place their faith in steel companies converting to use existing and developing ways to produce steel without coal. There are various ways being investigated to further this campaign against the mine. Sign up to our email list to be part of it.

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OTHER STORIES

Local campaigners save Dewley Hill from Banks Group’s opencast plan

Today (18/12/20) Newcastle City Council Unanimously rejected Banks Groups’ application to extract 800,000 tonnes of coal and 400,000 tonnes of fireclay from Dewley Hill.

451 Newcastle residents write to their councillors

451 Newcastle residents wrote to their councillors asking that the planning committee reject Banks Group’s application to extract coal by opencast at Dewley Hill on the western outskirts of the city.

Confirmed: Newcastle City Council set to decide fate of proposed new opencast coal mine at Dewley Hill

On the 18th December 2020, Newcastle City Council decides whether to protect 250 acres of greenbelt land or allow a controversial opencast coal mine on the north-eastern edge of Newcastle at an online hearing…

Message from Jos from Defend Dewley Hill

My name is Jos and I’m part of the team at Defend Dewley Hill. We’re a group of residents from Throckley near Newcastle, who set out to save our local landscape from opencast coal extraction, and we really need your support.

Update- Defend Dewley Hill

Newcastle City Council are expected to decide whether to protect the area at Dewley Hill to the West of the city, or if Banks Group is allowed to opencast it instead before the end of the year. The hearing will either be the 20th November or the 18th December.

Cumbrian Councillors go against climate consensus and approve coking coal mine

If this mine were to go ahead it would mean the first new underground coal mine to be started in the UK in many years. Now the decision will go to Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick,

Coal Roundup September 2020

TWO Opencast coal mines rejected this summer! Plus: plans for coking coal mines and power station closure dates

Opencast coal mine at Druridge Bay rejected

Late on the 8th September 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government said that Banks Group will not be allowed to extract coal from Highthorn, close to Druridge Bay, Northumberland. Save Druridge, the local community group, are delighted.

Coal mining in the Pont Valley to end August 2020

Campaign to Protect Pont Valley and other local people are delighted that Banks plans to further exploit the Pont Valley were dashed.

CONNECT WITH US

Local campaigners save Dewley Hill from Banks Group's opencast plan

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OTHER STORIES

Disappointment as Government allows underground coking coal mine application to go ahead

We’re disappointed to let you know that on the 6th January 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick said that the government will not step in and review Cumbria County Council’s decision to approve the Woodhouse Colliery Application.

451 Newcastle residents write to their councillors

451 Newcastle residents wrote to their councillors asking that the planning committee reject Banks Group’s application to extract coal by opencast at Dewley Hill on the western outskirts of the city.

Confirmed: Newcastle City Council set to decide fate of proposed new opencast coal mine at Dewley Hill

On the 18th December 2020, Newcastle City Council decides whether to protect 250 acres of greenbelt land or allow a controversial opencast coal mine on the north-eastern edge of Newcastle at an online hearing…

Message from Jos from Defend Dewley Hill

My name is Jos and I’m part of the team at Defend Dewley Hill. We’re a group of residents from Throckley near Newcastle, who set out to save our local landscape from opencast coal extraction, and we really need your support.

Update- Defend Dewley Hill

Newcastle City Council are expected to decide whether to protect the area at Dewley Hill to the West of the city, or if Banks Group is allowed to opencast it instead before the end of the year. The hearing will either be the 20th November or the 18th December.

Cumbrian Councillors go against climate consensus and approve coking coal mine

If this mine were to go ahead it would mean the first new underground coal mine to be started in the UK in many years. Now the decision will go to Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick,

Coal Roundup September 2020

TWO Opencast coal mines rejected this summer! Plus: plans for coking coal mines and power station closure dates

Opencast coal mine at Druridge Bay rejected

Late on the 8th September 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government said that Banks Group will not be allowed to extract coal from Highthorn, close to Druridge Bay, Northumberland. Save Druridge, the local community group, are delighted.

Coal mining in the Pont Valley to end August 2020

Campaign to Protect Pont Valley and other local people are delighted that Banks plans to further exploit the Pont Valley were dashed.

CONNECT WITH US

451 Newcastle residents write to their councillors

Newcastle residents write to their councillors

Last week 451 Newcastle residents wrote to thee councillors representing the part of Newcastle in which they live. They asked that the planning committee reject Banks Group's application to extract coal by opencast at Dewley Hill on the western outskirts of the city. A copy of the letter addressed to all councillors together is below.

The planning hearing will take place on Friday the 18th December. For details see this page.

Re. Application to mine coal and fire clay at Dewley Hill, Application Number 2019/0300/01/DET

The letter

Dear Newcastle Councillors,

We, the undersigned are writing to you, our local representatives, to explain our objection to a planning application to extract coal and fireclay by opencast from Dewley Hill, North of Throckley.

Banks Group and Ibstock brick seeks to extract 800,000 tonnes of coal and 400,000 tonnes of fireclay from 112 hectares of Newcastle's greenbelt at Dewley Hill, which sits to the North of the A69 near Throckley. Here is a video (https://vimeo.com/455806042) where local residents explain why this land is so important to them, and what it would mean to have an opencast here.

Many of us have already written to the planning department, joining over an estimated 5,000 individual objections, and over 18,950 petition signatories in asking for this application to be rejected. In September 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, rejected an application by the same company to extract 2.765 million tonnes of coal by opencast, from Highthorn just inland of Druridge Bay.

Implications from the rejection of Highthorn opencast

The decision to reject the application at Highthorn is significant as the main grounds for rejection also apply to this application. The Highthorn application failed to meet the National Planning Policy Framework, paragraph 211. The application to opencast at Dewley Hill doesn't meet this framework either.

“211. Planning permission should not be granted for the extraction of coal unless:

a) the proposal is environmentally acceptable, or can be made so by planning conditions or obligations; or
b) if it is not environmentally acceptable, then it provides national, local or community benefits which clearly outweigh its likely impacts (taking all relevant matters into account, including any residual environmental impacts).”

A new opencast coal mine on greenbelt of Newcastle is not environmentally acceptable, would harm local wildlife, pollute the Ouse and Dewley Burns and, in combination with the air pollution from the A69, would negatively impact our health.

At Highthorn, Banks Group failed to show that there was sufficient need for coal for industry and the Secretary of State felt that Banks Group's assertion of ongoing non-power station demand was overstated. The same applies here. The Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics 2020 says that in 2019 of all coal types demand was “down by 36 per cent compared to 2018.”1

Banks claim that coal from the Dewley Hill site would be used by industry, yet fails to declare its industrial customers buying coal from its other opencast mines. Tata Steel is investigating alternative ways to produce steel than using coal, so its non-binding support does not demonstrate a market for the coal. Therefore, the preconceived national, local or community benefits do not outweigh the harm.2

In July, Durham County Councillors rejected Banks Group's application to extend the Bradley opencast coal mine contrary to the Planning Officer's recommendation. The Councillors were concerned that increased coal availability would reduce the drive to low carbon steel production.

Increased coal supply increases coal use

If the application to extract coal at Dewley Hill were to be approved, it would result in additional coal available for consumption. Extracting coal from a new site would not substitute for coal mined elsewhere, it would add to it.3 Overall there would be an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. The reality is that the vast majority of greenhouse gases released from the full lifecycle of coal come from the final use of the coal. Emissions from transport is a minor consideration.

At present Banks Group is not extracting coal anywhere. The four operational opencast coal mines in the UK will soon close or have an uncertain future. There are no other proposals to open new opencast coal mines in the UK, there simply isn't the demand for UK coal.

The Government has committed to reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050, to reach this heavy industry must decarbonise fast. Supplying additional coal to the market delays and stunts investment in low carbon technologies. The biggest single emitter of carbon dioxide in the UK is Tata Steel's Port Talbot steelworks,4 which is looking to convert to recycle scrap steel5 leaving just one company making steel using coal, this demonstrates industry desire to move away from coal.

Planning policies

In addition to paragraph 211 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) the following policies also need to be considered which this application contravenes:

Paragraph 11d of the NPPF as the adverse impacts of granting planning permission would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits specifically in respect of adverse landscape, visual and residential amenity impacts.

Policy DM32 point 1 of the Newcastle Development and Allocations plan (DAP) states that mineral operations will only be supported where it would be demonstrated that 16 considerations are mitigated against. Importantly this includes landscape character, air quality; surface and groundwater and drainage; and climate change, all of which are not properly mitigated against in this application. Applications on this site in 1990 and 1996 were turned down for these very reasons, including that it encroached on natural space and greenbelt land.

The proposed site lies in the Newcastle Green belt. As such policy CS19 of the Core Strategy and Urban Core Plan needs to be complied with. In the Development and Allocations plan, the land where the proposed application sits is allocated as Wildlife Enhancement Corridors and as such policies CS1 and CS19 must be considered.6

Finally, with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic many people are spending far more time at home and are really appreciating outdoor access, which needs to be protected. This application offers nothing to the community. We need our green space now, as well as in the future.

Please join us in speaking out against this mine and discussing it with the Councillors on the planning committee.

Yours sincerely,

 

451 local residents whose names and postcodes were provided to the council

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OTHER STORIES

Disappointment as Government allows underground coking coal mine application to go ahead

We’re disappointed to let you know that on the 6th January 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick said that the government will not step in and review Cumbria County Council’s decision to approve the Woodhouse Colliery Application.

Local campaigners save Dewley Hill from Banks Group’s opencast plan

Today (18/12/20) Newcastle City Council Unanimously rejected Banks Groups’ application to extract 800,000 tonnes of coal and 400,000 tonnes of fireclay from Dewley Hill.

Confirmed: Newcastle City Council set to decide fate of proposed new opencast coal mine at Dewley Hill

On the 18th December 2020, Newcastle City Council decides whether to protect 250 acres of greenbelt land or allow a controversial opencast coal mine on the north-eastern edge of Newcastle at an online hearing…

Message from Jos from Defend Dewley Hill

My name is Jos and I’m part of the team at Defend Dewley Hill. We’re a group of residents from Throckley near Newcastle, who set out to save our local landscape from opencast coal extraction, and we really need your support.

Update- Defend Dewley Hill

Newcastle City Council are expected to decide whether to protect the area at Dewley Hill to the West of the city, or if Banks Group is allowed to opencast it instead before the end of the year. The hearing will either be the 20th November or the 18th December.

Cumbrian Councillors go against climate consensus and approve coking coal mine

If this mine were to go ahead it would mean the first new underground coal mine to be started in the UK in many years. Now the decision will go to Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick,

Coal Roundup September 2020

TWO Opencast coal mines rejected this summer! Plus: plans for coking coal mines and power station closure dates

Opencast coal mine at Druridge Bay rejected

Late on the 8th September 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government said that Banks Group will not be allowed to extract coal from Highthorn, close to Druridge Bay, Northumberland. Save Druridge, the local community group, are delighted.

Coal mining in the Pont Valley to end August 2020

Campaign to Protect Pont Valley and other local people are delighted that Banks plans to further exploit the Pont Valley were dashed.

CONNECT WITH US

Message from Jos from Defend Dewley Hill

My name is Jos and I’m part of the team at Defend Dewley Hill. We're a group of residents from Throckley near Newcastle, who set out to save our local landscape from opencast coal extraction, and we really need your support.

Banks Mining have applied to extract 800,000 tonnes of coal and 400,000 tonnes of fireclay from Dewley Hill on the fringe of our village in Throckley.

We know that coal is the most catastrophic fossil fuel for our climate and that industries such as steel are rapidly developing new technology to eradicate coal use.

Despite Newcastle City Council declaring a climate emergency, we’re facing the prospect of the last opencast mine in England threatening our village.

None of us set out on the journey to become activists, but this bunch of taxi drivers, occupational therapists, managers, shop assistants, care workers, teachers, young and older people alike, have joined forces to defend the land we live on and have inadvertently become a campaign group together striving to see an end to fossil fuels.

We are raising funds for legal advice to help our group to have the best chance possible of defeating the coal mine this year. Newcastle City Council will make a decision in the month and we need to be ready to challenge the council's expected recommendation to approve it, or to fight the mining company's appeal.

We’ve worked hard to highlight our plight and speak out about our concerns. We’ve held demonstrations and walks on the land. We’ve made films and interviewed people about their past experiences. There are banners round the boundary and we have encouraged thousands of people to object

We're a community full of love for our land and brimming with energy and ideas, but we're not a wealthy community, so the costly legal advice could be a barrier to us in fighting this last leg we so need to win.

The only way we can win this is through reaching out to people who care...which is why we need you.

See the crowdfunder page for more information on the legal actions we are preparing to take to stop the opencast coal site. (https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/defend-dewley-hill/)

Coal is a proud part of our history in the North East, but it is not our future. This is the only remaining application for opencast coal mining in the UK, and if we can defeat it, then there's every chance it will be the last.

Please support us and contribute whatever you can to our crowdfunder to help us make a significant last stand against opencast coal mining.

Thank you

Jos
Defend Dewley Hill

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OTHER STORIES

Disappointment as Government allows underground coking coal mine application to go ahead

We’re disappointed to let you know that on the 6th January 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick said that the government will not step in and review Cumbria County Council’s decision to approve the Woodhouse Colliery Application.

Local campaigners save Dewley Hill from Banks Group’s opencast plan

Today (18/12/20) Newcastle City Council Unanimously rejected Banks Groups’ application to extract 800,000 tonnes of coal and 400,000 tonnes of fireclay from Dewley Hill.

451 Newcastle residents write to their councillors

451 Newcastle residents wrote to their councillors asking that the planning committee reject Banks Group’s application to extract coal by opencast at Dewley Hill on the western outskirts of the city.

Confirmed: Newcastle City Council set to decide fate of proposed new opencast coal mine at Dewley Hill

On the 18th December 2020, Newcastle City Council decides whether to protect 250 acres of greenbelt land or allow a controversial opencast coal mine on the north-eastern edge of Newcastle at an online hearing…

Update- Defend Dewley Hill

Newcastle City Council are expected to decide whether to protect the area at Dewley Hill to the West of the city, or if Banks Group is allowed to opencast it instead before the end of the year. The hearing will either be the 20th November or the 18th December.

Cumbrian Councillors go against climate consensus and approve coking coal mine

If this mine were to go ahead it would mean the first new underground coal mine to be started in the UK in many years. Now the decision will go to Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick,

Coal Roundup September 2020

TWO Opencast coal mines rejected this summer! Plus: plans for coking coal mines and power station closure dates

Opencast coal mine at Druridge Bay rejected

Late on the 8th September 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government said that Banks Group will not be allowed to extract coal from Highthorn, close to Druridge Bay, Northumberland. Save Druridge, the local community group, are delighted.

Coal mining in the Pont Valley to end August 2020

Campaign to Protect Pont Valley and other local people are delighted that Banks plans to further exploit the Pont Valley were dashed.

CONNECT WITH US

Update- Defend Dewley Hill

Local reasons against Dewley Hill opencast

  • The proposal sits on over 250 acres of Newcastle’s green belt land, which should be protected from development.
  • Opencast coal mining destroys everything that lies over the coal seem. This means the waterways, mature trees, hedgerows, wildlife, top soil, public rights of way are all stripped away.
  • Opencast coal mines are incredibly disruptive to local people. If this opencast went ahead it would increase traffic on the roads, including heavy goods vehicles on the A69. The sites are brightly lit, which is particularly irritating in rural areas in winter to humans and to bats all year round. The machines are noisy, often in an irregular, irritating way. Opencast mining throws up dust, which includes all of the toxins located in the coal.
  • Northumberland Wildlife Trust remains concerned about the impact on farmland birds such as skylark, lapwing and yellowhammer during the active stage of the proposed mine. Hedgerow removal would interrupt animals’ movement through the area.
  • The site lies in the catchment area of the Dewley and Ouse burns. Coal mine dust is toxic as it contains mercury, silica, cadmium, arsenic and the air pollutants which killed underground miners.
  • This application would involve work on the site for 3.5 years. Banks Group may well submit further plans for extensions. Previous applications included coal removal from the east and the west of this proposal, so there is clearly more coal adjacent.
  • The fireclay that could be extracted is not needed and should not be considered as a benefit. Ibstock Brick are a partner in this application. However the council has “confirmed that there is a sufficient landbank of 27 years’ permitted reserves for brick clay from Red Barns Quarry in South Tyneside” according to the Development and Allocation Plan report.
  • How Banks Group intend on putting back the site can only be a degradation on what currently exists or could be created on the site without coal extraction. So called ‘restoration’ cannot put back what was there and the soil structures that biodiversity rely on would be diminished. None of the proposed benefits of restoration need rely on the area being opencast first. Bank Group’s Pegswood leaky lake is still an eye sore well over a decade since coal extraction finished. The companies high claims for ‘restoration’ should be ignored.
  • The Northumberland Wildlife Trust severed ties with Banks Group in May 2019. The Trust’s chief executive, told the Chronicle: “The reason we are [severing ties] is we are now looking to underline the fact that we do not approve of [Banks Group’s] constant applications and proposals for opencast coal extraction…We are totally against coal extraction as a trust”.
  • The proposal is smaller than previous ones on the same site, but the impacts would still be significant for local people and the environment.
  • The proposal threatens jobs in the area and reduces the farm land available for food production. If approved the opencast would be very visible and give a poor impression to tourists in our area who may be less inclined to return.
  • Banks Group won’t be providing new jobs as experienced staff will be moved from nearby opencast operations which have closed. There is no future in coal mining.
  • Residents at Bank’s Bradley site in the Pont Valley Durham reported issues with light pollution, noise, water run offs, inappropriate use of blasting flags, and aggressive security guards. The same issues are likely here if the application were to be approved.
  • Air pollution from the A69 is already a problem, an opencast coal mine in the area would worsen this issue.
  • The company proposed an additional 302 vehicle movements a day to the site entering via Ponteland road, the B6323, everyday. Banks propose a simple T-junction which could cause congestion and be intimidating for vulnerable road users such as cyclists.
  • The £50,000 offered in total to community groups is a bribe to accept something which is not acceptable. Clean air and wide open spaces are worth more than this.

National and international reasons this must be rejected

  • The coal at the site is thermal coal, it is mainly used in power stations, but can be used in some industrial processes. Coal power stations are to be phased-out by 2024 and we have large stockpiles of this type of coal.
  • Coal, wherever it is consumed causes climate change. Power stations have to close by 2024 because of the emissions from burning coal. The single largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the UK is Tata Steel’s Port Talbot Steel works, the second is British Steel’s Scunthorpe steel works. If Banks sold the coal to industry, it would still be contributing to climate change which affects those who least caused it the most.
  • We have alternatives to this coal already in use. We can power electricity generation without coal, there are alternatives ways to make steel including by recycling, that use other fuels. Cement can be made without coal, alternatives have been around long enough to be adopted.
  • The coal used in steel works as a reducing agent is coking coal. This site contains thermal coal which Banks said was needed for power station in the 2016 scoping report.
  • Extracting more coal means that more coal will be consumed. If coal is extracted here, there is no comparable amount being left in the ground elsewhere. The emissions from the consumption and transport of coal from this site would worsen climate change. See Professor Paul Ekins from University College London’s video regarding this.
  • Transporting coal to the final consumer represents a small proportion of the emissions resulting from burning it, but Banks focusses on the emissions from transport. The sustainable solution is to stop burning coal, not to get it from a nearer source. Much more significant quantities of carbon are released from burning the coal than its transport with smaller amounts from the operation of the mine and the methane released.
  • A fixed haulage route is not being proposed as Banks Group want to be able to take the coal to a number of sites meaning the coal could be transported significant distances by lorry. If it is transported by train Banks suggests it would go to Butterwell Disposal Point, subjecting the nearby residents to more years of coal related disruption, which they had to suffer when that site was an active opencast mine.
  • Newcastle and Northumberland Councils have declared a climate emergency. As such climate change must be considered in every decision and action taken to reduce emissions. A new coal mine is the exact opposite of that.
  • National Planning Policy Framework paragraph says 211. “Planning permission should not be granted for the extraction of coal unless:
    a) the proposal is environmentally acceptable, or can be made so by planning conditions or obligations; or
    b) if it is not environmentally acceptable, then it provides national, local or community benefits which clearly outweigh its likely impacts (taking all relevant matters into account, including any residual environmental impacts).
  • Clearly this application does not meet this test and so should be rejected.

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OTHER STORIES

Disappointment as Government allows underground coking coal mine application to go ahead

We’re disappointed to let you know that on the 6th January 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick said that the government will not step in and review Cumbria County Council’s decision to approve the Woodhouse Colliery Application.

Local campaigners save Dewley Hill from Banks Group’s opencast plan

Today (18/12/20) Newcastle City Council Unanimously rejected Banks Groups’ application to extract 800,000 tonnes of coal and 400,000 tonnes of fireclay from Dewley Hill.

451 Newcastle residents write to their councillors

451 Newcastle residents wrote to their councillors asking that the planning committee reject Banks Group’s application to extract coal by opencast at Dewley Hill on the western outskirts of the city.

Confirmed: Newcastle City Council set to decide fate of proposed new opencast coal mine at Dewley Hill

On the 18th December 2020, Newcastle City Council decides whether to protect 250 acres of greenbelt land or allow a controversial opencast coal mine on the north-eastern edge of Newcastle at an online hearing…

Message from Jos from Defend Dewley Hill

My name is Jos and I’m part of the team at Defend Dewley Hill. We’re a group of residents from Throckley near Newcastle, who set out to save our local landscape from opencast coal extraction, and we really need your support.

Cumbrian Councillors go against climate consensus and approve coking coal mine

If this mine were to go ahead it would mean the first new underground coal mine to be started in the UK in many years. Now the decision will go to Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick,

Coal Roundup September 2020

TWO Opencast coal mines rejected this summer! Plus: plans for coking coal mines and power station closure dates

Opencast coal mine at Druridge Bay rejected

Late on the 8th September 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government said that Banks Group will not be allowed to extract coal from Highthorn, close to Druridge Bay, Northumberland. Save Druridge, the local community group, are delighted.

Coal mining in the Pont Valley to end August 2020

Campaign to Protect Pont Valley and other local people are delighted that Banks plans to further exploit the Pont Valley were dashed.

CONNECT WITH US

Coal mining in the Pont Valley to end August 2020

Campaign to Protect Pont Valley and other local people are delighted that Banks plans to further exploit the Pont Valley were dashed.

On the 1st July Durham County Council planning committee voted to reject Banks Group’s controversial proposal for ‘West Bradley’ an extension to the current ‘Bradley’ opencast coal site between Dipton and Leadgate which would have caused another 90,000 tonnes of coal to be extracted over a further 1 year period. Had it been approved it would have added further disruption to people living in the area and worsening the local and international environment.

The written particulars of the decision said, “The proposed development would not be environmentally acceptable with respect to landscape and visual impacts and residential amenity impacts, and could not be made so by planning conditions or obligations contrary to saved County Durham Minerals Local Plan Policies M7a, M23, M24, M36 and M37, Paragraph 211a) of the National Planning Policy Framework and Emerging County Durham Plan Policy 54.”

Although the planning officer for the council considered the County Durham Minerals Local Plan(2008) out of date, she chose to ignore that several of the restrictions it contained which went against this application are also expected to be included in the forth coming County Durham Plan.

Councillor Mark Wilkes who proposed the motion to refuse the opencast explained, said “Is it in the national interest to pump out more CO2 and other pollutants into atmosphere and stymie the development of alternative technologies? The government have committed to a Clean Steel Fund. We have to protect the local community and the nation from the adverse environmental impacts.”

Of the local impacts, a key contentious issue was that the site would be 33m from the nearest homes, where 250 metres had been the acceptable standard in the past, where opencast coal mining includes blasting rock with explosives and releasing dust particles into the surrounding area. Of this point Councillor Wilkes added: “This is where people live and sit in their gardens and want to breathe clean air. This is 2020 not 1820.”

The green area to the top of the image has been saved

Previous opencast coal mine applications have covered the contested area, and always been rejected. The area consisted of two fields which sustained wildlife as they had been left in a fairly natural condition, and a strip of trees at the top of a woodland in an area of High Landscape Value.

Speaking at the hearing, Alan Holmes of Campaign to Protect Pont Valley argued that approval was inconsistent with Durham’s future plans including climate mitigation plans: “The County Durham Plan asserts climate change issues should be considered in every aspect of strategy and decision making. The Officer’s Report recommends no weight is afforded to the emergent County Plan, even though it will form the basis of decision making well into the future.”

Michael Litchfield of Derwent Valley Protection Society also spoke against the mine at the hearing saying “There is no national need for the open cast coal that could possibly outweigh the environmental and social cost of this opportunistic scheme.”

Banks Group had submitted two planning applications, the first to extend the area of coal extraction and the second to change the conditions of the current permit. Both were rejected. As such the opencast has to stop extracting coal in August 2020 and back fill the site, remove the bunds, demolish the facilities and landscape the area by August 2021.

Anne Harris from Coal Action Network said that “We must leave the coal in the ground, here and at the other sites Banks Group wishes to destroy. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick should take note and decisively reject Druridge Bay, a 3 million tonne coal mine in Northumberland which is still awaiting his decision.

“In contrast to the dodgy developer lobbying we have seen in the news in recent weeks, the community groups and individuals who have petitioned, door-knocked, written letters, have managed to convince planners that a coal mine is not in anyone’s interest. We applaud the councillors who listened to the community and took the only right course of action in a climate emergency. The impact of this decision will be felt nationally as more mines are set to go before planning committees.”

Banks Group’s proposal for another opencast coal site, Dewley Hill near Newcastle, is awaiting a planning hearing date, and has also been countered by a strong community campaign, Defend Dewley Hill.

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OTHER STORIES

Disappointment as Government allows underground coking coal mine application to go ahead

We’re disappointed to let you know that on the 6th January 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick said that the government will not step in and review Cumbria County Council’s decision to approve the Woodhouse Colliery Application.

Local campaigners save Dewley Hill from Banks Group’s opencast plan

Today (18/12/20) Newcastle City Council Unanimously rejected Banks Groups’ application to extract 800,000 tonnes of coal and 400,000 tonnes of fireclay from Dewley Hill.

451 Newcastle residents write to their councillors

451 Newcastle residents wrote to their councillors asking that the planning committee reject Banks Group’s application to extract coal by opencast at Dewley Hill on the western outskirts of the city.

Confirmed: Newcastle City Council set to decide fate of proposed new opencast coal mine at Dewley Hill

On the 18th December 2020, Newcastle City Council decides whether to protect 250 acres of greenbelt land or allow a controversial opencast coal mine on the north-eastern edge of Newcastle at an online hearing…

Message from Jos from Defend Dewley Hill

My name is Jos and I’m part of the team at Defend Dewley Hill. We’re a group of residents from Throckley near Newcastle, who set out to save our local landscape from opencast coal extraction, and we really need your support.

Update- Defend Dewley Hill

Newcastle City Council are expected to decide whether to protect the area at Dewley Hill to the West of the city, or if Banks Group is allowed to opencast it instead before the end of the year. The hearing will either be the 20th November or the 18th December.

Cumbrian Councillors go against climate consensus and approve coking coal mine

If this mine were to go ahead it would mean the first new underground coal mine to be started in the UK in many years. Now the decision will go to Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick,

Coal Roundup September 2020

TWO Opencast coal mines rejected this summer! Plus: plans for coking coal mines and power station closure dates

Opencast coal mine at Druridge Bay rejected

Late on the 8th September 2020, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government said that Banks Group will not be allowed to extract coal from Highthorn, close to Druridge Bay, Northumberland. Save Druridge, the local community group, are delighted.

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