By Coal Action Network, YLNM member group.
On Wednesday (3/6/15) it was announced that UK Coal’s application to mine 520,561 tonnes of coal from a site called Bradley, was approved. The site is currently agricultural land in Leadgate, Durham, UK. This is a highly contested site with really strong and well orchestrated opposition from local people.
Why is this a bad decision?
* The community were so very clear that there was NO COMMUNITY CONSENT
* One woman (the planning inspector) thinks she can decide whether a mine would offer ‘national, local or community benefits which would clearly outweigh the remaining adverse impacts.’ How can she possibly say yes when the community SAYS NO?
* We are moving away from a reliance on coal (but not quickly enough) with two coal fired power stations announcing closures next year
* The company pursuing the application will not directly operate the site as they have serious financial difficulties and had to be helped by the government in closing their last remaining deep mines and were order to sell off their remaining opencast mines.
History of the application.
UK Coals first application was rejected by planners in 1986. In 2001 a second application was rejected.
In Autumn 2011 there was a three week appeal which UK Coal lost. The coal company took this to the High Court in London who said that the decision was perverse and ordered another appeal.
The second appeal happened in Autumn 2014 and lasted three weeks. It was well attended by local people, tens of whom spoke out against the mine with incredible passion, dedication and knowledge.
As the following history of the application shows, the coal company refused to take no for an answer being determined to sell on the mine with planning permission. This is not the end of the battle. We will think about what to do to ensure that this piece of rural Britain is never dug up. We need to stand together to protect the livelihoods, families, local history, quality of life, homes, air quality, tranquillity, health, wildlife and ecosystems in this area. Even if the legal battle is over, the fight is not.
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