MP calls for new coal mines to be prohibited

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has asked the Government to change planning law to prohibit the development of new opencast coal mines.

Earlier this year, the-then Communities Secretary Sajid Javid rejected plans by Banks Mining for a new surface mine near to Widdrington and Druridge Bay.

The company has since said that it will challenge the decision in the High Court, especially after the proposal was backed by Northumberland County Council and a Government planning inspector.

But now, Anne-Marie has written to the new Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire, to ask him to consider changes to the National Planning Policy Framework that would prohibit the further development of opencast coal mines.

In the letter, Anne-Marie says that opencast mining is incompatible with stated Government policy on climate change, and doesn’t align with how the Government is leading the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which is an alliance of nations, states, cities and organisations committed to moving the world from burning coal to cleaner power sources.

She said: “The decision to refuse the Druridge Bay application was a historic one.

“Opencast mining can have severe implications on areas of incredible natural beauty, like ours, and cause damage to the tourism economy and the fabric of the community.

“The damage that it can cause to our environment through greenhouse gas emissions means that is simply no longer right for our environment that such applications be accepted.

“Britain is taking a global lead on tackling climate change, and action to change planning laws would strengthen that leadership by example. It would send a strong signal to countries across the globe about our commitment to tackling polluting fossil fuels and towards greener solutions for energy. It is my ambition that we build on what has started in Druridge Bay, and to help make this the greenest Government in British history.”

Banks Mining’s Highthorn scheme split opinion in the community.