Bill Oddie to speak against opencast bid at beach picnic

Bill Oddie. Picture by Chris Taylor Photography.com
Bill Oddie. Picture by Chris Taylor Photography.com

A famous face will speak about his opposition to controversial plans for opencast operations at a beach event on Bank Holiday Monday.

The Save Druridge group has teamed up with various organisations, including Friends of the Earth (FoE), to put together a family beach party and picnic.

It is raising awareness of the concerns its members have over Banks Mining’s application for a surface-mine at the Highthorn site – land to the north of the C116 which runs between the villages of Widdrington and Druridge.

As a result of the FoE involvement, the special guest for the event is TV wildlife expert Bill Oddie.

He said: “When I heard that there was a threat of opencast mining in Druridge Bay, I honestly thought it had to be a rather sick April Fool’s Day prank.

“Heaven knows, we are used enough to having to combat new developments, but this is a grotesque step back to the bad old days.

“I myself have had tremendous pleasure enjoying the rich wildlife and imaginative management of Druridge Bay, Cresswell, Hauxley and other areas, which combine to form one the finest wild areas in Britain.”

The picnic and sandcastle competition will take place on the beach opposite the Drift Cafe just north of Cresswell between 1pm and 3pm and there will be music, stalls and food in Cresswell Village Hall from 2pm.

Main organiser Lynne Tate said: “Even at this late stage, there are people we speak to on the beach who are unaware of the application, so this will be an important event.

“We’re over the moon that Bill Oddie is supporting our campaign.”