Pont Valley: Bust of Secretary of State unveiled to protest lack of action on opencast coal

Communities resisting new opencast coal projects in the UK, YLNM members Coal Action Network and artists use creative protest to tell UK Government to revoke permits for new coal mines, like Banks Mining’s Bradley Project in Pont Valley.

Coal Action Network, 10th April.

On the 10th April, UK Secretary of State for Communities, Sajid Javid and his colleagues were greeted with a life-size statue depicting the Secretary of State ‘turning a blind eye’ to the imminent expansion of opencast coal mining in the UK.

The statue’s creators, Art Rise Up, said they were inspired to create the work and present it to Mr Javid after visiting the Pont Valley in County Durham, where local residents and national campaign organisations including 38 Degrees are contesting an imminent new opencast coal mine, set to go ahead this spring.

The collective Art Rise Up, in a statements on their facebook page says ‘This is how Sajid Javid will be remembered if he does not step in now to stop all new opencast coal mines; as someone who failed to prevent permanent damage to communities and the environment they depend on, all for the benefit of dirty fossil fuel companies. With the use of a critical neoclassical bust, we intend to underline the responsibility of governments and power figures in handling the Climate Crisis. A call for politicians to re-think the meaning of providing community welfare beyond exploitative models.‘

In February a petition saw over 88,000 people urge Javid to use his powers under the Town and Country Planning Act to revoke the permit for opencast coal extraction, held by Banks Group. Banks Group announced they had acquired the permit to mine at Bradley in the Pont Valley from the liquidated company UK Coal, and intended to start opencasting in spring 2018. UK Coal had secured permission in 2015 after a 30 year battle with local people over the proposals who previously defeated the proposals at three public inquiries.

On the grounds of climate change, Javid last month refused a separate planning application for opencast coal extraction in Druridge Bay, Northumberland, lodged by the same company.

Banks Group’s application to mine at Highthorn, beside Druridge Bay was approved by Northumberland County Council in summer 2016 but was called in by Sajid Javid who refused the application after an inquiry on the basis of climate change, landscape and heritage site removal.

Anne Harris of Coal Action Network commented, ‘Opencast coal hurts communities and causes climate change, no matter where it is dug up and burned. If Javid is serious about upholding the UK’s climate commitments then he must urgently revoke Banks’ permit to opencast the Pont Valley.’

In the absence of a response from Mr Javid, local residents and activists launched a direct action camp to prevent Banks Group from entering the site to start the opencast mine. The camp has prevented the preparatory work starting since 19th March. Durham County Council planned roadworks schedule shows 19th March Banks Group intending to build the access road to the proposed site on the A692.

Thomas Davison, a local resident living 300 metres from the contested land, said ‘After over 30 years of successfully fighting through the planning system we’re now resorting to petitioning the Secretary of State as  well as establishing a protection camp in the Pont valley as a form of peaceful direct action.

‘The Pont valley provides far more to this community than opencast coal extraction ever could. As children we grew up here with rich wildlife to explore on our doorsteps and a wonderfully beautiful setting for our working lives. So much history and so many stories have been shared between those who have come out in support of the camp. The valley is a huge part of the community’s identity. Sajid Javid must do what’s right for communities, a community that has always said no to opencast – that’s his job.’

Laura Pidcock, Labour MP for North West Durham pledged her support for the ‘Campaign to Protect Pont Valley’, and has requested an urgent meeting with Mr Javid.

The artists behind the statue are members of Arts Rise Up, a collective which aims to merge art and activism. Our purpose is to tackle political and social issues of our times using art forms such as Performance, Fine Arts and Multimedia. We intend to embody a plea for change, supporting key campaigns with critical artwork.

Sajid Javid sculpture, has been conceived in collaboration with The Nave, a community of creatives promoting social consciousness.

Related Posts

El Parlamento Europeo insta a investigar sobre la vulneración generalizada de directivas europeas en las minas de San Finx
‘Ties are strengthened’: Spanish campaigners unite around Atalaya Mining’s London AGM
PRESS RELEASE: Spanish campaigners call Atalaya Mining to account
Huge demonstrations against mining in Galicia, Spain
Berkeley Energia uranium mining project in Spain ‒ the EU’s only new uranium mine?
Extractive colonialism in Europe: the case of Greece #Skouries
El Camino de Santiago: resistance to new copper mining near UNESCO World Heritage walking route
Save Pont Valley: Local residents take direct action against new opencast coal mine
Slow Death in Siberia

Slow Death in Siberia

Press Release: Slow Death in Siberia
Resource Sufficiency: Moving beyond the gospel of eco-efficiency
Fidelma O’Kane – Earth Keeper

Fidelma O’Kane – Earth Keeper

  • Written on: 03 May 2018
  • Posted under: Videos
Our Earth Our Future: To Mine or to Mind?

Our Earth Our Future: To Mine or to Mind?

  • Written on: 03 May 2018
  • Posted under: Videos
Leave the gold in the hills: international solidarity flows to community resisting mining in Northern Ireland
Mencherep, Siberia: An incredible victory in an unlikely place
Pont Valley: Bust of Secretary of State unveiled to protest lack of action on opencast coal
Take Action: 10,000 native trees for Froxán
County Durham, UK: Protesters scale trees in sub-zero temperatures in bid to stop new opencast coal mine
Resistance against mining growing in Galicia, Spain
Näätämö River restoration project receives major new support, Finland
Press Release: Frontline defenders travel to London to counter Mines and Money conference between 25-30 November
The secret of your smartphone

The secret of your smartphone

  • Written on: 22 November 2017
  • Posted under: Videos
Panorama Mine: Mapping French mining projects
Members of YLNM have expressed their solidarity with Jesús Cruz, a member of Stop Uranio from Spain
For the Right to Resist !!! International Solidarity with blogger and Stop Uranio Activist from Salamanca, Spain
Take Action: Support Galician YLNM members’ campaign to investigate the San Finx mine
EL CAMPO CHARRO EN LUCHA POR LA INTENCIÓN DE UNA MULTINACIONAL AUSTRALIANA DE ABRIR UNA MINA DE URANIO A CIELO ABIERTO
Calling Australian Allies: Help Stop Uranio halt a uranium mine in Salamanca, Spain
Trun: Bulgarian town backs gold mining ban in referendum
Eldorado Gold’s Unspoken Legal Problems in Greece
“Druridge Bay is not theirs to take, but ours to keep.”
In Photos: Solidarity in action at rally to stop Druridge Bay coal mine
We stand in solidarity: South African and UK communities unite to reject plans for Druridge Bay open-cast coal mine
Open Letter: South African communities ask UK planners to reject new open-cast coal mine
Call to action: Support campaigners who shut down the UK’s largest coal mine!
The European Parliament insists on a cyanide ban in mining
More than 100 organizations around the world say no to mega-mining in French Guiana
Movie-like intimidation and obstruction tactics at Certej in Romania
Resistance, exchange, (post)extractivism: YLNM Coordinators meet in Galicia- in photos
Agua, tierra, derechos y alternativas

Agua, tierra, derechos y alternativas

Un comité de expertos internacionales visitó el entorno de San Finx
YLNM joins ContraMINAcción to celebrate third Meeting on Impacts of Mining, in Galicia
Gold-digging with investor-state lawsuits: Canadian mining corporation sues to force Romanians to accept toxic Roşia Montană goldmine
Selkie: Restoring land, water and hope in the Finnish Boreal
The Sami’s Näätämö River Revival: Hope in the midst of Finland’s extractive tsunami
#AxeDrax: Campaigners unite for climate justice against coal and bioenergy-fueled deforestation
REPORT: The New Colonialism: Britain’s scramble for Africa’s energy and mineral resources
‘Responsible Extractives Summit’: Sick Joke or Serious Indictment of Industry?
Mining, Murder and a British Millionaire: Protestors stand in solidarity with South African communities opposing mining
#StandWithAmadiba

#StandWithAmadiba

  • Written on: 11 May 2016
  • Posted under: Videos
Attack to Common Woodland in Galicia

Attack to Common Woodland in Galicia

Sløtface: Anti-mining Activist Punk Rockers

Sløtface: Anti-mining Activist Punk Rockers

  • Written on: 28 April 2016
  • Posted under: Videos
New Forest ‘Land Grab’ Act Passes in Finnish Parliament
Take Action to prevent the destruction of Sami Forest Lands in Finland
Finland: State Forestry Company About to Seize Control of Sámi Indigenous Key Old Growth Forests
How to define “responsible mining”? A critical review of a French initiative by EWB Extractive systems
‘People of Artvin are against mining because their way of life is threatened’
Romanian civil society wins key victory against proposed gold mine
Police teargas locals protesting new gold mines in Artvin, Turkey
No coal, no fracking: end fossil fuel production on UK soil by 2020!
Máis minas contaminantes para Galicia: alerta social
Ditch coal now! The global destruction caused by the UK’s coal power generation
Call for Abstracts and Invitation to Workshop – An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Negative Impacts of Mining
Ditch Coal

Ditch Coal

At the Coalface: Ten more years of UK coal burning a lifetime on the ground
Tesouro de Corcoesto

Tesouro de Corcoesto

  • Written on: 15 January 2016
  • Posted under: Videos
A message of solidarity to communities fighting the Skouries Mine (Halkidiki)
Romanian village blocks Canadian firm from mining for gold
Yes to Life and Climate Justice, No to Mining and Climate Catastrophe! (EN/FR)
Empty promises: G20 subsidies to oil, gas and coal production
Petition: Tackle the deadly trade in conflict minerals!

Petition: Tackle the deadly trade in conflict minerals!

  • Written on: 14 October 2015
  • Posted under: Campaigns
UK: Community opponents of planned Field House coal mine buoyed by international solidarity
Coal Map of Europe

Coal Map of Europe

Armenian Villagers Up In Arms Against New Mining Project
Lignite – Power Source of the Past?

Lignite – Power Source of the Past?

  • Written on: 11 September 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
Our Resistance, Our Hope: Unity Statement of the International People’s Conference on Mining
Stopping Eldorado Gold – Mining struggle in Greece
The end of an affair! Gabriel to sue Romania over Rosia Montana via an ISDS case
Achievements of the Global Day Against Mega Mining
Strengthening anti-mining ties in southern Europe
22 July 2015 – Global Day of Action Against Mega Mining- DÍA MUNDIAL CONTRA LA MEGAMINERÍA
Invitation to FanFest and the Rosia Montana Forum
‘300 Cerattepeli’ stand against mining company
Fracking application rejected by Lancashire county council
Mining on Top Africa: London Summit Disrupted
Victory as Councillors take a stance against Welsh opencast coal mining
Africa-UK Civil Society Letter to the Mining on Top Africa: London Summit
PRESS RELEASE: African Civil Society Challenges London Mining Conference
UK Coal Far From Dead: Bradley Coal Mine approved despite community resistance.
Sámi People and allies force Irish mining company out of their territory
I Couldn’t Believe My Eyes

I Couldn’t Believe My Eyes

  • Written on: 08 April 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
In Pictures – Yes to Life No to Mining raises the voice of African civil society against the extractives
Let them eat carbon! The corporate plan to cook Africa in its own fossil fuels
African civil society and global allies challenge Chatham House conference on ‘Extractive Industries in Africa’
Divestment, in Solidarity: NAPE Uganda reach out to London’s divestment campaigners
CONDEMNED: Russian Coal Mining and Shor Displacements

CONDEMNED: Russian Coal Mining and Shor Displacements

  • Written on: 05 February 2015
  • Posted under: Videos
In Solidarity – En Solidaridad

In Solidarity – En Solidaridad

  • Written on: 11 December 2014
  • Posted under: Videos
Mining An Imminent Threat to Local and Indigenous Communities of European North
Communities of Falkirk Join Together To Resist Extreme Energy Initiatives
Local Communities Resist Gold Mining in Corcoesto, Galicia

Start a Conversation. Share Words of Solidarity.

This website is about building a movement. We can only build a movement when we connect with one another. We invite you to do just that…

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *