THE three remaining deep pits in Northumberland – including Whittle Colliery – must be allowed to operate in the future, if a balanced mining industry is to be maintained in the county.
That is the view of a major report on the state of the coal industry prepared by Northumberland County Council.
The consultative document, which was presented to Planning Committee members on Monday, stresses that deep mining is still an important employer directly or indirectly and that perhaps opencast production should be reduced to achieve a healthy balance.
The report states: “A gradual reduction in the level of opencast production in Northumberland would not appear to be unduly detrimental to the interests of the industry.”
Councillors believe that the North East and Northumberland in particular may be bearing more than its fair share of opencast working.
l THOUSANDS flocked to the 122nd Alwinton Border Shepherds Show on Saturday to make it one of the most successful on record.
Show secretary Elizabeth Dixon estimated that around 6,000 people turned out to support the county’s last show of the season – far in excess of last year’s attendance.
Bright sunshine helped to boost the numbers, along with the many attractions for young and old which justify Alwinton’s reputation as one of the best shows in the county.
All the categories, including the sheep, dogs, vegetables, flowers, industrial and children’s classes, were well-supported.
Even the sports, including the fell race attracted good entries.