Newcastle city council’s planning committee recently unanimously rejected Banks Mining’s application to extract 800,000 tonnes of coal from a site at Dewley Hill near Throckley. Earlier this year Banks closed what it said was England’s last coal mine, at a site north of Newcastle. Now Friends of the Earth said the Newcastle decision should be the final nail in the coffin of opencast coal mining in England. Hey said “This decision will hopefully bring down the curtain on opencast coal mining in England. The focus should now be on developing the clean energy solutions that can power our economy and create the new green jobs of the future.”
The campaigners are now asking the government to call in Cumbria county council’s decision to allow a new deep coal mine to go ahead near Whitehaven, extracting coking coal from beneath the Irish Sea for steel production.
In September, the government rejected a controversial planning application for an opencast coal mine near Druridge Bay in Northumberland, with the official report saying it was not environmentally acceptable.