Victory against open-cast Bradley, Co. DurhamTagged as: cast coal environmentalism open uk:coal
Neighbourhoods: open uk:coal _cast
On Tuesday 15th February Durham county councillors voted unanimously to reject the application by UK: Coal to extract 530,000 tonnes of coal from the site known as Bradley.
UK: Coal had tried to get the planning permission with sweeteners such as paying £7000,000 for a new roundabout, £53,000 for a community fund (10p per tonne of coal!) and claiming 38 jobs would be created. Local MPs objected to the mine as did over 3,300 who signed petitions against it. In public meetings in 2007 Mr Corey of UK: Coal had admitted that there wouldn't be new jobs created by the mine as workers would be moved from another pit closing just before Bradley was opened. The case officer had recommended that the planning committee approve the application.
The Pont Valley Network and The Campaign to Protect Rural England had 9 excellent speakers who outlined why the mine would be destructive for their community. They mentioned the loss of heritage sites relating to bell pit and drift mining and wagon-ways; the effects of dust, noise, and an additional 64 large vehicle movements a day; climate change caused by burning the coal; reduced housing prices and the environmental impact on badgers, great crested newts, red kites and the damage done by open-casting to soil ecology. The local campaigners also described how the mine had been rejected in the past and that the money towards the roundabout ignored the fact that a roundabout was going to be built by the council regardless of UK: Coal's money. They mentioned that the money in the community fund would only be sufficient to buy a chip supper for everyone in the surrounding area.
There were two speakers in favour, one of which was UK: Coal.
The councillors fed back then gave their input which included comments about the high landscape value which would be damaged dramatically by the mine; "the horrendous environmental impact"; that UK: Coal hold the mineral rights to the whole valley and that the approval of this site could result in massive devastation to the whole valley; one of the councillors referred to UK: Coal as "vandals" and "environmental vandals" ; another remarked that UK: Coal was trying to bride the councillors with support for the roundabout if the application didn't have to go to appeal; one of the councillors also said that he had never seen a better local campaign!
The particular planning objections were based on the following aspects of the County Durham Minerals Plan policies - M7, M36, M23, M24, M27, MM36 and M42. These relate to unacceptable environmental or community impacts out weighing the amenities, effects on high landscape; important features of landscape: effects on ancient woodland; dust and transport as well as traffic safety.
There have been many delays with changes within the council system but finally UK: Coal has been shown the door. The local campaign has done a fantastic job at raising awareness and objection letters as well as speaking on the day. Thank you to them. UK: Coal is expected to appeal.
Contact email: www.coalaction.org.uk