Update on Secretary of State’s decisions on opencast coal mining

The Secretary of State agreed to remake a decision regarding the revocation of planning permission for extraction of coal by opencast methods at the Bradley site in the Pont Valley, Durham, by the 25th February 2019. The department agreed that its original decision making process was “flawed” and so it would remake the decision.

No decision has been announced and so the lawyers acting for June Davison, the local resident bringing the Judicial Review, are filling documents to the High Court to re-open the case and push for a new decision, with reasons, by the 27th March.

We are still hopeful for a positive result, that James Brokenshire will do the right thing by this community and by the global community by ending fossil fuel and opencast coal extraction as soon as possible” says Tracy Gillman who lives 300m from the site.

In July 2017 the Secretary of State’s refused to revoke planning permission, but it failed to fully consider the evidence provided. The Judicial Review was then launched as no reasons were given. The opencast extraction began in May 2018. The Secretary of State was first asked to intervene in February 2018.

Meanwhile the Secretary of State is also reconsidering the application by Banks Group to extract coal by opencast methods close to Druridge Bay. This decision was expected on or by the 21st April, but this has been delayed until the 20th May following Banks Group adding more material for consideration. This application is to extract 3 million tonnes of coal.

Banks Group has recently submitted planning document to Newcastle County Council for a new opencast on the outskirts of the city. Banks has also said that it plans to request permission to extend the Bradley site.

Campaigners argue that coal needs to be left in the ground at both of these sites and for further opencast extraction of coal to be prevented by Government to reduce the worst affects of global climate change as well as to protect local environments and residents.

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