10 July 2013
News that 2,000 jobs have been saved and that pensions have been protected by the rescue operation mounted around the collapse of UK Coal Mining and UK Coal Operations, has so far been praised on all sides as a job well done under the circumstances.
However this snatching of a victory from a defeat has not been greeted with joy by others. They can now only look forwards to more years of misery.
If the re-establish company, UK Coal Mine Holdings, is to either maintain its current level of production or even increase it, it can only do this, we suspect, by gaining new planning permissions for opencast mines across many areas of England.
The opencast mining activity being carried out by this Company is already disturbing the daily lives of those living close to the six working mines, Park Wall North in Co Durham, Minorca in Leicestershire, Butterwell and Potland Burn in Northumberland, Lodge House in Derbyshure and Huntington Lane in Telford.
Work on applying for planning approval for another 5 mines is already underway. These sites are:
- Bradley in Co Durham
- Hoodsclose in Northumberland
- Deansfield in Wakefield
- Shortwood Farm in Nottinghamshire and
- Great Oak in Staffordshire
In addition, the previous owners of the Minorca site in Leicestershire had carried out extensive drilling of a neighbouring area to the Minorca site in preparation for another possible application.
Do not expect everyone in these communities to be pleased with the saving of this Company. If they live near one of the working sites, they know how much noise and dust these mines make, and they just have to put up with it. If they are on the prospective list of possible mines, they not only have this to look forwards too but they are already affected by planning blight.
Steve Leary for The Loose Anti Opencast Network said
“ We believe that behind this deal is a misplaced concern to secure the UK’s Energy Security in the short term. Looking further ahead, it is clear from our research into the Government’s own predictions about the future use of coal for power generation purposes, that coal is to be phased out of the power generation mix. This has already started with the closure of six power stations because they are too polluting and the proposed conversion of others to burning biomass.
If this is true, it means a shrinking, not an expanding market for coal in the UK. We fear, that to realise the value of the estate left to be managed by the new set-up before it is too late, that there will be a surge in opencast mine applications in England. Many more communities may wake up soon to find that it is proposed that they have an opencast mine for a neighbour.”
INFORMATION ABOUT LAON
The Loose Anti-Opencast Network (LAON) has been in existence since 2009. 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.
Steve Leary, LAON’S Co-ordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can now follow LAON on twitter @ http://twitter.com/seftonchase