Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Minister to Have Final Say on Mine Application

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Minister to Have Final Say on Mine Application

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Muncaster Reporter @MichaelMjourno

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a surface coal mine close to a Northumberland beauty spot have been called in by the Government.

Northumberland County Council unanimously approved proposals for the mine at Highthorn near Widdrington, west of the beach at Druridge Bay.

Developer Banks Group wants to dig three million tonnes of coal from the site by 2023, and says the scheme could create at least 100 jobs.

The council was 'minded to approve' the plans amid mass opposition from campaigners, who claim it would cause irreparable damage to the land and wildlife.

The application was passed on to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, who has now decided to call in the application.

Lynne Tate, a member of the Save Druridge campaign, said: "We are absolutely over the moon that common sense has prevailed.

"We are really pleased the application has been called in on climate change grounds, which was a concern for us.

"We're delighted they have taken the decision out of the hands of the council and have our fingers crossed it will be refused."

Jacqui White organised the 'Hands off Druridge Bay' petition, which was signed by more than 13,000 people.

She said: "I was not surprised at all following the amount of public pressure that was put on the Government.

"We've had the Wildlife Trust, the RSPB and Bill Oddie all backing our campaign. The plans never made sense to me."

And Friends of the Earth campaigner Guy Shrubsole said: "Hopefully this means that ministers have realised that digging up yet more coal completely contradicts the Paris climate deal. "Thousands of people objected to the ill-conceived opencast coal mine at Druridge Bay because it would be hugely damaging for the local area. …

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