Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Opencast Mine Locally 'Better Than Alternative' Claims Firm

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Opencast Mine Locally 'Better Than Alternative' Claims Firm

Article excerpt

Byline: DANIEL HOLLAND Local democracy reporter @danhollandnews

ANORTH East mining firm has defended its record on climate change - and insists that digging for coal on the outskirts of Newcastle will be better for the environment than the alternative.

Banks Mining has come in for heavy criticism over its plans to dig a new opencast mine at Dewley Hill, near Throckley, which community campaigners say will cause "divides and destruction".

But the County Durham-based firm has fired back, calling critiques of its environmental credentials "disingenuous".

This week, the Northumberland Wildlife Trust severed its corporate ties with the developer to "take a stand" over the Dewley Hill plans.

Banks is also behind a controversial scheme to mine near Druridge Bay in Northumberland, but says that the environmental cost of all its activities if offset by the impact of the 11 wind farms it has developed since 2005.

Jeannie Kielty, community relations manager at The Banks Group , said: "We are doing our bit for the climate.

"We are actually building wind farms, not a lot of developers can say that. The investment we make in renewables comes directly from our coal mining business.

"It is quite disingenuous of some opponents to claim that coal mining Dewley Hill is an issue for climate change, because there is a clear demand for coal in the UK."

Banks claims that 800,000 tonnes of coal and 400,000 tonnes of fireclay can be mined and transported from Dewley Hill - and the site shut down and fully restored - for less greenhouse gas emissions than the transportation alone of the same amount of coal to the UK from their main competitors in Russia and Australia.

She added: "The argument of us contributing to climate change is non-existent. Surely it is better for the environment and the economy and our communities that we do this locally rather than abroad. …

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