The rejection of controversial plans for a brand new opencast coal mine in Newcastle has been met with rapturous reward from environmental campaigners.
Newcastle City Council’s planning committee unanimously refused permission for the Banks Group to dig up 800,000 tonnes of coal and 400,000 tonnes of fireclay from inexperienced belt land close to Throckley on Friday morning.
Activists say that the dismissal of the Dewley Hill plans may put an finish to opencast coal mining within the UK, whereas Newcastle Labour chief Nick Forbes mentioned that the “time for mining in our metropolis is over”.
The Banks Group known as the committee’s resolution “outrageous”, although the Durham-based agency has not confirmed whether or not or not it is going to lodge an enchantment with the Government.
Jos Forester-Melville, of the Defend Dewley Hill motion group, hopes opencast mining will now be “a factor of the previous”.
She added: “It is with nice aid we acquired the information at the moment that Newcastle City Council have upheld their promise of encouraging a cleaner, greener, extra environmentally secure society for these of us residing right here and past.
“It is a victory not just for Defend Dewley Hill however for all of those that supported and campaigned constructively for change.”
Mike Pratt, chief government of the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, mentioned that approving the mine plan would have been “completely unacceptable”, whereas Friends of the Earth commented that the rejection “will hopefully deliver down the curtain on opencast coal mining in England”.
Banks and supporters of their plans had lengthy argued that the UK is nonetheless reliant on burning coal and that it’ll merely be imported from abroad if it can not come from Dewley Hill.
But Anne Harris, from the Coal Action Network, mentioned: “The Dewley Hill utility is the final opencast coal mine utility within the UK, the following step is for Banks Group to exit the coal trade.
“Year on 12 months coal contributes much less to the National Grid, as cleaner know-how provides electrical energy and energy’s trade. We do not want opencast coal from this nation, nor imported from overseas.”
Coun Forbes, who has dedicated Newcastle to reaching internet zero carbon classes by 2030, added: “I welcome this resolution. The time for mining in our metropolis is over. Coal is our historical past, not our future. Newcastle was constructed on coal, and it is vastly symbolic that we’ve dedicated ourselves to renewable and sustainable power sources sooner or later. This is actual management on local weather change.”
The close by Throckley brickworks, who may have secured a 10-year provide of “important” fireclay from the mine, warned that its rejection could be a “devastating” blow to the enterprise and its 47 workers.
But the council concluded that, regardless of the increase to the native financial system and assist for jobs, the environmental hurt brought on by a coal mine to the inexperienced belt outweighed any positives.
Jeannie Raine, neighborhood relations supervisor at The Banks Group, had argued that the mine would assist 200 jobs, make investments £75m within the area, and see 33,000 bushes planted when the land is restored.
After Friday morning’s listening to, she mentioned: “Newcastle City Council recognized Dewley Hill as the one minerals website within the metropolis lower than six months in the past.
“Given this reality, it is outrageous that, within the height of the worst financial disaster of our technology, its planning committee has determined to dismiss over 200 current, well-paid North East jobs and has not grasped the chance to assist a £75m funding within the regional financial system which might safe native provides of much-needed minerals on the lowest environmental value.
“The committee heard, however did not take heed to the undeniable fact that there can be continued demand for industrial coal and fireclay to be used in UK metal, cement and brick manufacture, and we stay agency in our perception that these minerals ought to be mined regionally within the UK within the most secure, best and most environmentally accountable approach doable.”
She added that Banks would “study the exact causes for this resolution” earlier than deciding whether or not to launch an enchantment.
Already in 2020, Banks has misplaced bids to increase the usage of its Bradley mine in County Durham and arrange an opencast website close to Druridge Bay in Northumberland.