Utility issues put an end to opencast mine scheme

The proposed Ferneybeds opencast coal site at Widdrington Station.
The proposed Ferneybeds opencast coal site at Widdrington Station.
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An opencast mine scheme to the south of Widdrington Station will no longer go ahead.

Approval for the operation at Ferneybeds was granted in April 2013, but Banks Mining said it would not be possible to mine coal from the site with the power cables and combined sewer left in situ. Talks with Northern Powergrid and Northumbrian Water have not led to a resolution.

Jeannie Kielty, community relations coordinator at The Banks Group, said: “The logistical issues around the relocation of this infrastructure would have been both difficult and costly for the utility companies and, as such, we have reached an agreement for the infrastructure to remain on site.

“As a consequence, Banks Mining will now not mine the Ferneybeds site.

“We remain committed to maintaining our operational mining presence in Northumberland for many years to come, which makes developing our Highthorn scheme even more important than it already was, and our hope is that the unanimous cross party county council planning committee decision in favour of the Highthorn project will be ratified by the Secretary of State at the forthcoming public inquiry.”