New opencast coal mines??

While the UK government is currently considering the submissions on its proposal to phase-out coal in electricity generation in 2025, coal mining companies are still trying to ravage the earth to squeeze out more coal within Britain.

Current examples of this include:

Field House

Despite closing almost all of their Scottish opencast mines, Hargreaves have said that they intend to mine at Field House, near the villages of Pittington and West Rainton. Local residents campaigned against this application for several years, it was only approved on appeal.

The area is currently farmland. One of the nearest houses to the opencast site is occupied by an elderly couple who are already suffering from respiratory illness. There is a real worry that the dust, stress and disruption from the mine could seriously worsen the couple’s health.

Given that coal only contributed 10% of the UK’s electricity generation in 2016, and the government are supposed to be phasing it out completely this mine desperately needs to be stopped.


In North East Derbyshire there is an application for planning permission at Hilltop, near Clay Cross and Tupton. 3,000 people live within 500m of the site, which is currently open fields.

The Hilltop planning application is now going to be dealt with by H.M. Planning Inspectorate rather than Derbyshire County Council. Their recommendation is that this application is refused.

Given that we need to fossil fuels in the ground to avoid the worst effects of climate change this application simply cannot be allowed to be approved.

If you would like to add your comments to the discussion you can do so by this Thursday. Advice on how to do so is available from Hilltop Action Group, here. There is a planning meeting on Friday 17th March, at County Hall in Matlock, although a decision will only be announced later.



Up in Northumberland communities living near to Highthorn, are preparing for a public inquiry into the application which Northumberland County Council stupidly approved last year. This application was ‘Called In’ by the Secretary of State in what is thought to be the first application to be Called In on the grounds of climate change.

The planning inquiry will take two weeks from the 31st May.

There are two other applications still looking for approval. Dewley Hill is another application from Banks, the company behind the Highthorn application. Miller Argent who run the biggest opencast in the UK Ffos-y-fran are still looking to mine adjacent to the site at Nant Llesg.


These three situations show that although the coal industry is no longer thriving, there is also the potential for new areas to be ravaged in the pursuit of a mineral which is justifiably going out of favour. Communities across the UK’s coal mining areas are continuing to their amazing battles to protect their local areas and limit the impacts of climate change. Let’s do what we can to help them win.

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