The leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett, was in Northumberland this morning to offer her support to a campaign against a proposed opencast mine.
Ms Bennett met members of the Save Druridge campaign at the Drift Café in Cresswell, near to the proposed site of the Highthorn surface mine, as well as party activists from across the county.
Banks Mining submitted its bid for the site, earmarked for land to the south-east of Widdrington, to Northumberland County Council in October last year. The firm says the development would create at least 50 new jobs, while 50 existing roles would be transferred from its current surface-mine sites elsewhere in Northumberland.
There are supporters for the scheme, but it has also sparked fierce opposition. Objectors are concerned about a number of issues, including noise, dust and light pollution, environmental damage close to Druridge Bay and the impact on wildlife. A petition against the proposals has been signed by thousands of people.
Ahead of the determination of the planning application, a public meeting is to be held on Thursday, February 25, at Widdrington Community Centre, between 6pm and 8pm.