Bradley Public Inquiry: fears over the development’s financial risks

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Press release from Loose Anti Opencast Network (LAON)

LAON PR 9-2014, 3/10/14

BRADLEY PUBLIC INQUIRY: FEARS OVER THE DEVELOPMENT’S FINANCIAL RISKS

One of the great concerns of those opposing the attempt by UK Coal to mine the Bradley site in Co Durham, is whether the site will be restored once the coal has been mined. This fear has been prompted by a number of reasons:

The Scottish Restoration Crisis mention in the Loose Anti Opencast Network’s (LAON) set of objections, refers to what has happened in Scotland, where last year, when the price of coal fell to £55 per tonne, two Scottish Coal  producers went bust, leaving 34 un-restored sites which may cost the taxpayer £200m to put right. Now the price of coal has fallen further, to £47 per tonne. Local people do not want to see a repeat of the same thing happening at Bradley.

Their fears are heightened, because of the financial state of the Company seeking planning permission. UK Coal Production does not own the land it only owns the mineral rights. The Company, otherwise known as Juniper (no 3) Ltd, is in liquidation, following the collapse of the old UK Coal company last year. This situation is hardly reassuring.

In addition, evidence to be put before the Public Inquiry which starts in the Leadgate Working Men’s Club in Leadgate on October 7th by the Loose Anti Opencast Network (LAON), suggests that by the end of the coal extraction period, the UK as a whole will be producing more coal than it needs for power generation purposes as the more polluting, old, coal fired power stations close. As a consequence it will become ever more difficult for UK Coal to gain planning permission for new opencast sites. This LAON argues is likely to create new financial problems for UK Coal / Juniper (no 3 ltd) as the income stream it needs to finance the expensive task of completing site restoration dries up.

“Whichever way you look at it, this proposal to mine the coal at the Bradley site looks to be a risky proposition” said Steve Leary LAON’s spokesperson, who will be presenting LAON’s evidence at the Public Inquiry.

“When UK Coal first applied for planning permission  for this coal things were looking very different. The world price for coal was rising, driven by an apparent insatiable demand for coal from China. Now a few years later, things look very different. China itself faces over production problems, as well as the country making determined efforts to rapidly switch to renewable energy resources to cure its pollution problems. As a consequence world coal prices have fallen to a five year low. In response, UK Generators, are offering shorter and shorter contracts to domestic coal producers for their coal, keeping down UK coal prices, as they can easily import cheaper coal.

Given this background, local people are right to fear that if UK Coal win their case, the real legacy they will be left with will be a big, water filled hole in the ground, where there was once an opencast mine.”
NOTE FOR EDITORS

This is the fifth of a number of press releases LAON will be issuing in the lead up to the Public Inquiry which will explain different parts of LAON’s set of objections. Previous press releases on this topic can be sent if requested. The Public Inquiry begins on Tuesday 7th October in Leadgate Working Men’s Club. Leadgate, Co. Durham

INFORMATION ABOUT THE PONT VALLEY NETWORK

The Pont Valley Network is group of diverse individuals with varied experiences and backgrounds. We understand that as people we don’t always communicate with each other that well. We might disagree or agree with each other for many reasons but we share one thing in common:

We all live or have lived and care for Pont Burn Valley. We recognise its unique heritage and natural beauty and are prepared to work hard to preserve it.

This is a link to their website @ http://www.pontvalleynet.co.uk/

The contact person for the Pont Valley Network is Carole Rooke @ c.rooke@aol.co.uk , Te

INFORMATION ABOUT THE LOOSE ANTI OPENCAST NETWORK

The Loose Anti-Opencast Network (LAON) has been in existence since 2009. It is a UK and Northern Ireland wide network of 30 local community groups opposed to local opencast mine proposals / operations. It functions as a medium through which to oppose open cast mine applications and works with groups where local people feel that such a development is inappropriate.

CONTACTING LAON

Steve Leary, LAON’s Spokesperson, at infoatlaon@yahoo.com

You can now follow LAON on twitter @ http://twitter.com/seftonchase

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