Legal Challenge over Coal on Tourist Line; Troubled Rural Railway Runs into New Battle

Article excerpt

Byline: Neil McKay

LOCALS fighting plans to transport more than one million tonnes of coal along the route of a tourist railway have mounted a legal challenge.

They say hundreds of wagons a day would trundle along roads past their homes in Wolsingham, County Durham, bring S ing the coal to a planned rail depot. More than 1,200 people objected to the Weardale Railway plans to open the depot in Wolsingham, but the plans were passed by Durham county councillors in July. The development would see wagons delivering the coal from an opencast site at nearby Sunniside, to Wolsingham. From there it would be transported by rail through Bishop Auckland to Darlington, and on to the main east coast line.

An action group, No2Coal, was formed to fight the scheme over concerns about the impact of noise, dust and traffic on residents' safety and quality of life.

The group sought legal advice as to whether the planning judgement could be brought to judicial review.

A statement from the group said: "It is the considered opinion of the barrister that there are several areas of judicial failure on the part of Durham County Council that render the issuing of planning permission unlawful.

"A pre-action protocol letter has been sent to the head of planning and the legal department at Durham County Council, along with a courtesy copy to Weardale Railways. …


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