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Press release from the Loose Anti Opencast Network (LAON)
LAON PR 8-2014, 2/10/14
The coal to be quarried from the Bradley site, if the appeal at the forthcoming Public Inquiry beginning on 7th October at the Leadgate Workingman’s Club, Co Durham,  is upheld, it will be used as fuel, either for generating electricity or for making steel. Either way, it will not only create 1,600,000 tonnes of CO2, when burnt, but it will create other forms of air pollution, including that caused by nitrous oxides and sulphur dioxide, which will contribute further pollution to the air we breathe.
The release of these pollutants will have effects on some peoples’ health, which can have very serious consequences. As our objection states:
“….the burning of this coal from Bradley will contribute to 1,600 premature deaths, 68,000 additional days of medication, 363,266 working days lost and more than a million incidents of lower respiratory symptoms, which is costing £1.1 to 3.1 billion (€1.3 to 3.7 billion) each year”, caused by burning coal in UK power stations, according to a recent report from the Health and Environmental Alliance.
The seriousness of this issue is heightened, as LAON’s objection makes clear, because planning decisions have to take account of whether granting approval would or would not contribute to the UK breaching European Union legislation on air quality. Since the UK Government is already guilty of breaching such standards, this adds to the reasons why this appeal should be rejected.
Steve Leary, who will be giving evidence on LAON’s behalf at the Public Inquiry, said.
“All of the planning guidance I’ve read puts great stress on planning decisions being sustainable – that they should enhance the quality of life and the quality of the natural environment including the quality of the air we breathe. Allowing this appeal will have exactly the opposite effect. This coal is only going to be mined and burnt in a way which will make the air we breathe more pathological, more likely to cause someone’s premature death and incapacity.  All of us will be left partly responsible for picking up the tab for providing these unfortunate individuals with the cost of providing their care.
We have to end what is called a ‘silo mentality’ that affects decision making when it comes to air pollution issues and planning, that tends only to take account of the local immediate impact that mining this coal has on air quality. We will be asking the Inspector to see things ‘in the round’ and take account of what the effect will be on all of us if this coal is mined and then burnt reducing the quality of the air we all breath”
A full copy of LAON’s objections and a summary of LAON’s objections can be downloaded from this page on the Pont Valley Network site @
This is the fourth 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
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 @
The contact person for the Pont Valley Network is Carole Rooke @ , Tel
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.
Steve Leary, LAON’s Spokesperson, at
You can now follow LAON on twitter @