OPENCAST: Don’t dismiss our concerns

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An open letter to Frances Wilkinson, Northumberland Country Council planning officer, re the proposed opencast mine near Druridge Bay.

I was astonished, shocked and upset that I failed to hear the words ‘climate change’ pass your lips during the lengthy, detailed and well-delivered summary of your report to the strategic planning committee.

In your report, you stated that: “The burning of the coal that would be extracted from the site would contribute to CO2 emissions. Establishing the extent of this would be based on very generic estimates and assumptions and so little reliance could be placed on any conclusions.”

Do you really think that you can so lightly dismiss the emphatic warnings of the folly of this proposal by six climate and environmental scientists of international renown, who took time out from their busy schedules to address this issue? I believe your treatment of my distinguished colleagues has been dismissive.

According to Lord Robert May, then president of the Royal Society, “Never have we faced such a global threat. The longer we procrastinate, the more difficult the task becomes.”

That was in 2006, and here we are in 2016 planning to create a massive new coal mine. It simply beggars belief.

But such warnings and appeals for urgent and radical action have been made repeatedly.

I conclude with the words of someone who, like me, is a scientist but not a climate scientist, and also, like me, a grandparent. I commend them to you, whatever your family circumstances: “How could I look my grandchildren in the eye and say I knew about this and did nothing?” (Sir David Attenborough).

David W Golding CBE PhD DSc DCL,

Development Co-ordinator, North East Call To Action