6th Review of Potential UK Opencast Sites Oct 2012

Tagged as: and climate_action derbyshire environmentalism leicestershire local_communities nottinghanshire
Neighbourhoods:

This the 6th Review covers developmnts in the stages reached for current and potential opencast site planning applications for the 14 known English sites the 2 known Scottish sites and the 5 known Welsh sites. In addition it provides a link to a study commissioned by the last government on what would be the effect of implementing a 'buffer zone' of various widths around potential opencast sites on two British coalfields

REVIEW OF INFORMATION ON PROPOSED UK OPENCAST SITES  ACTIVELY UNDER CONSIDERATION FOR OCTOBER 2012 AND OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION.

NEW 2012 SERIES: No 6                                         OCTOBER 2012

 

 

NEWS EXTRA : THE EFFECT OF THE INTRODUCTION OF SEPARATION ZONES OR BUFFER ZONES OF VARIOUS WIDTHS ON STERLISING COAL RESERVES ON TWO BRITISH COALFIELDS

ON 18/912 THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT RELEASED FURTHER RESEARCH PAPERS UNDERTAKEN FOR THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT. ONE OF THESE ENTITLED ‘INVESTIGATING THE INFLUENCE OF SETTLEMENT PATTERN AND MORPHOLOGY ON THE STERILISATION OD COAL RESERVES,’ ( E BEE AND L NOKES) MAPS THE EFFECT OF INTRODUCING SUCH BUFFER ZONES ON THE SOUTH WALES AND  THE YORK, NOTTS AND DERBY COALFIELDS.

YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THIS RESEACH FROM THIS WEBPAGE. THEY ARE LARGE FILES SO THE 3 YOU NEED ARE 3,4 AND 5 IN THE LIST FROM HERE:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/archived/general-content/corporate/researcharchive/volume13planning/

IF ANYONE IN THE NETWORK WANTS TO READ THEM AND WRITE A SUMMARY TO PUT INTO THE NEXT REVIEW JUST SEND IT TO ME 

 

The way to read each entry is as follows:

Site Name, Location, Planning Authority, Position in the Planning System (usually either Scoping Inquiry, Application Submitted, Application Approved) and the name of the Applicant / Operator.

BIRKLANDS, (nr .Marley Hill, Gateshead), (Gateshead: Reference No DC/11/00687/MIN) (Application) (Hall Construction Services) (275,000)

‘Opencast, the threat returns’ (local action group) (no date)

Not a news story, but an on line petition that can be signed to show opposition to open casting at this proposed 275,000 tonne site. See

http://www.savebirklands.org.uk/

You can read this application and still make comments here:

http://public.gateshead.gov.uk/online-applications/simpleSearchResults.do;jsessionid=DE0DA6F1C3739817D51414835242B0FC?action=firstPage

BRADLEY (nr. Consett) (Co Durham) (Judicial Review) (UK Coal) (500,000)

No news on if and when the Judicial Review will begin. The Planning Inspectorate has yet to decide on whether it is to contest the Judicial Review.

DEARNE LEA, WEST CLAYTON (S.E. of Huddersfield) (Kirklees Council: Reference No. 2012/62/9113/ED) (Application) (George Harrison Ltd) (190,000)

To contact the Skelmansthorpe Communituy Action Group see:

http://www.skelmanthorpeaction.org.uk/contact.html

For more details on the Application and the possibility to make a comment  go to:

http://www2.kirklees.gov.uk/business/planning/application_search/detail.aspx?id=2012/91131

FERNEYBEDS, WIDDRINGTON STATION (8 miles NW of Ashington) (Northumberland County Council)  (Application) (Banks Group) (752,000)   ‘Official plan for Opencast’ (Morpeth Herald, 11/10/12)   Banks Group finally submits their plans for a 752,000 tonne site, offering  £75,000 for community benefits.. Site will be worked for 3 years. Local people are to have a Public Meeting to discuss the plans. A recent poll indicated that 66% of local residents were against any more opencast mining as the area has had 60years experience of the industry. See   http://www.morpethherald.co.uk/community/local-information/official-plan-for-opencast-1-5014696   For more details about the application please follow this link (provided by John Carpenter):

Ref. No: 12/03138/CCMEIA | Received date: Wed 03 Oct 2012 | Status: Pending Consideration | Case Type: Planning Application

Phased extraction by surface mining techniques of 752,000 tonnes of coal and 200,000 tones of fireclay and other minerals where viable. - Land South East Of Ferneybeds Farm Mile Road Widdrington Station Northumberland

 

GEORGE FARM (nr. Smalley, Derbyshire) (Derbyshire County Council: Ref No. CM6/1110/112) (Application) (LEM Resources) (400,000)

For more details on the Application and the possibility to make a comment go to:

http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/environment/planning/planning_applications/current_applications/application_details/app-details.asp?AppCode=CM6/1110/112&AppType=2

The Smalley Action Group has now set up a petition where you can register your objection to the Application. See

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Smalley-opencast/

HAGUE FARM (?) off Hague Lane nr Renishaw, Derbyshire

UK Coal has put this site up for sale. The particulars indicate that they are seeking a partner to help ‘develop’ (work the site as a surface mine) within 5 years. Site particulars are available here @

http://www.smithsgore.co.uk/property-for-sale-land-and-energy-portfolio-2320120

HALTON LEA GATE (c 5 miles SW of Haltwhistle) (Northumberland County Council) (Judicial Inquiry) (HM Developments) (140,000)

HELL LANE, nr Normanton, Wakefield, Sth Yorkshire

UK Coal has put this site up for sale. The particulars indicate that they are seeking a partner to help ‘develop’ (work the site as a surface mine) within 5 years. Site particulars are available here @

http://www.smithsgore.co.uk/property-for-sale-south-yorkshire-2320118

HILLTOP PROJECT (nr. Clay Cross, Derbyshire) (Derbyshire County Council) ( Scoping Inquiry) (Provectus Remediation) (130,000)

Provectus Remediation has indicated that they are intending to submit a plan to mine 130,000 tonnes of coal from a 30 hectare site over a 30 month period.

‘Readers Letter ‘ Anti Coal Protest forgets Heritage’’ (Derbyshire Times, 5/9/12)

An Ex Clay Cross miner makes wild claims about the recent anti opencast march. See

http://www.derbyshiretimes.co.uk/news/business/reader-s-letter-anti-coal-protest-forgets-heritage-1-4990617

‘Planning Issues, Opencast Coal Applications and Do We Need the Coal’?

I spoke at a Public Meeting organised by the Hilltop Action Group on 19/10/12 on the above topics. You can read the speech  i made here, but it already needs updating:

http://hilltopproject.com/information/steve-leary-speech/

To keep in touch with the protest campaign, go to

http://hilltopproject.com/

HOODSCLOSE  Whittonstall (Northumberland County Council) (Application) (UK Coal) (2.2m tonnes + 500,000 tonnes of fireclay)

UK Coal hopes to extract 2.2m tonnes of coal and 500,000 tonnes of fireclay    over a seven year period. The Scoping Inquiry state began soon after August 2009 with an application following in 2010. This is still a live application. UK Coal have now put this site up for sale and are looking for an investor to help develop the site.

‘UK Coal tempts village with a £1.25m sweetener’ (Hexham Courant, 26/10/12)

‘UK Coal hopes that an offer to extend the local primary school by building a £850,000 extension to the local primary school, Whittonstal First School and the offer of other benefits totalling £1,25, will soften the degree of local hostility that has greeted the Company’s plans for an opencast site here. Two quotes may illustrate local feeling

“However, there were no guarantees there would be no future applications to extend the site to neighbouring communities such as Hedley – an issue which has been of major concern.”

“While some felt the creation of up to 76 full-time jobs and a number of apprenticeship schemes within the area would be positive, others may well feel the £1.25 sweetener smacked of bribery.”

The local community is being short changed by this offer as generous as it may seem. To gain ‘acceptability’ for the Minorca site in 2011, UK Coal offered payments in cash and kind worth a total of £2.75m to extract 1.5m tonnes of coal. This is equal to £1.83 per tonne. For 2.2m tonnes of coal here, UK Coal is offering £1.25m, equal to 0.57p per tonne. See

 

http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk/news/news-at-a-glance/uk-coal-tempts-village-with-1-25m-sweetener-1.1008467?referrerPath=news

 

‘Opencast plan could hit Whittonstall First School’ (Journal 29/10/12)

 

The Whittonstall Action  Group suggest that parents might withdraw their children from attending the school if permission is granted to UK Coal for them to mine within 165 meters from the school. The school is to benefit from UK Coal if permission is granted by Northumberland County Council who will provide £850,000 for a school extension. See

 

http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-east-news/todays-news/2012/10/29/61634-32119824/?

 

You can find further information and make a make a comment here:

http://publicaccess.northumberland.gov.uk/online-applications/simpleSearchResults.do;jsessionid=2BC579DC2A201F65967E36E99DD92B3A?action=firstPage

You can also contact the Whittonstall Action Group here:

http://www.whittonstallactiongroup.co.uk/who.php

MINORCA NORTH (Leicestershire, Leicestershire County Council, UK Coal, Amount of estimated coal reserves not published, Stage: Exploratory Drilling)

The Minorca Opencast Protest Group, through my research has now found out that in February, UK Coal had applied for a licence from the Coal Authority undertake exploratory drilling to assess the coal reserves available on land adjacent to the current Minorca site.

‘Residents fear for the safety of their homes’ (Ashby Times, 26/10/12)

News item on how residents living in a relatively isolated group of houses have reacted to the prospecting activity of UK Coal as they continue to explore the size of the coal reserve next to the Minorca site. Some of the residents, who are tenants of a housing association, were afraid that their landlord might be willing to sell their houses to UK Coal and leave them homeless. However, Jerry Sykes, Communications Officer for the East Midands Housing group said

“I can confirm that we have no plan to sell the properties at Measham Hall. Neither is it our policy to sell tenanted properties”

(The Ashby Times does not have a web site)

SCHOOLHOUSE LANE   off A692 nr Marley Hill , Co Durham

UK Coal has put this site up for sale. The particulars indicate that they are seeking a partner to help ‘develop’ (work the site as a surface mine) within 5 years. Site particulars are available here @

http://www.findaproperty.com/investment/property-10856569

SHORTWOOD FARM (Trowell, nr Nottingham, Nottinghamshire) (Application) (UK Coal) (1,275,000)

UK Coal has applied to mine 1,275,000 tonnes of coal over a 5yr period on a Greenfield site.

To send a letter opposing this application, go to:

http://www.trowell.org.uk/shortwood-open-cast-mining-application-letter-writing-campaign/out

There is now a local group formed to oppose this application, the Shortwood Farm Opencast Opposition. It is contactable via soco..opencast@gmail.com

To find out more about the Application see:
http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/planningsearch/plandisp.aspx?AppNo=ES/2569

MARLEY HILL COLLIERY RECLAMATION  (Sunnyside, Gateshead (Co Durham also affected)), (Scoping Enquiry) (UK Coal) (c1.0m)

No recent news about this proposed development.

NEW: NEWS OF POTENTIAL AND ACTUAL SCOTTISH APPLICATIONS

CANONBIE SURFACE MINE?

(Dumfries and Galloway?) (Exploratory Licence), (Buccleuch Group / Kier Minerals) (no estimate of size)

‘Buccleuch plans for coal mine in the South West’ (Scotsman, 5/10/12)

The Duke of Buccleuch’s private company Buccleuch Group and Kier Minerals are applying for what appears to be an exploratory licence to see if it is worth developing  a surface coal mine on the Canonbie coal field. See

http://www.scotsman.com/business/energy-and-utilities/buccleuch-plans-for-coal-mine-in-the-south-west-1-2563788?

NEW WELLSGREEN (Fife Council / Levenmouth Area Committee) (Application) (Hall Construction Services) (800,000)

‘Opencast plans transported a stage further’ (Fife Today, 11/10/12)

A plan for Hall’s to extract 800,000 tonnes of coal near their existing Earlseat site clears another stage in gaining final approval. This application has the backing of the Levenmouth Area Committee and Fife Council. It is now subject to the legal conditions being approved and the approval of Scottish Ministers.Site to be worked for 4 years. See

http://www.fifetoday.co.uk/news/local-headlines/opencast-plans-transported-a-stage-further-1-2566276

COMMENT: Approval for this site seems imminent. Research reveals these previous news stories about this application:

‘Wemyss-Opencast plan surfaces for Wemyss Area’ (Fife Today, 4/510) @

http://www.fifetoday.co.uk/news/local-headlines/wemyss-opencast-plan-surfaces-for-wemyss-area-1-163111

‘East Wemyss – Opencast plan wins public support’ (Fife Today , 29/6/10) @

http://www.fifetoday.co.uk/news/local-headlines/east-wemyss-open-cast-plan-wins-public-support-1-161926

‘Opencast plan wins councillors’ backing’ (Fife Today, 15/9/12) @

http://www.fifetoday.co.uk/news/local-headlines/opencast-plan-wins-councillors-backing-1-2520814

There is no discernible media evidence about local opposition to these plans.

For other news about possible Scottish opencast sites see

Coal Action Scotland Targets Brochure March 2009 @

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/media/2009/08//435748.pdf

NEWS ON WELSH APPLICATIONS

THE BRITISH IN TALYWAIN, (Torfaen) (Pre Scoping Inquiry)(HSBC ) (No public estimate of coal reserves)

‘Residents still opposed at Talywain site, The Britiah,’ South Wales Argus, 5/12/10

Local residents vote in favour of the regeneration of the 1.200 acre site, but against opencast mining as part of that regeneration process. See

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/9969467.Residents_still_opposed_to_opencast_at_Talywain_site/

BRYN DEFAID, LLWYDCOED, MERTHYR  TYDFIL  (Rhondda Cynon Taf Council) (Scoping Inquiry) (Celtic Energy) (1.2m tonnes)

‘Plans for new opencast mine go on show to give residents a chance to have their say’ (Daily Post 25/10/12)

Celtic Energy is to mount 3 new public exhibitions on their revised plans for developing the Bryn Defaid Surface Mine. This second round of consultations is due to take place at the following locations:

October 30th from 3pm-8pm at Heolgering Community School, Heolgering Road, Merthyr Tydfil

November 12th -17th , Hirwaun Library, High St, Hirwaun.

November 19th – 24th, Aberdare Library, Green St. Aberdare.

The Company is expecting to submit a full application later this year. See

http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/local-north-wales-news/aberdare-news/2012/10/25/plans-for-new-opencast-mine-go-on-show-to-give-residents-chance-to-have-their-say-55578-32088645/

For more information on these exhibitions please follow the links below ( provided by Paul Brown)

<!--[if gte vml 1]><v:shapetype id="_x0000_t75" coordsize="21600,21600" o:spt="75" o:preferrelative="t" path="m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe" filled="f" stroked="f"> <v:stroke joinstyle="miter" /> <v:formulas> <v:f eqn="if lineDrawn pixelLineWidth 0" /> <v:f eqn="sum @0 1 0" /> <v:f eqn="sum 0 0 @1" /> <v:f eqn="prod @2 1 2" /> <v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelWidth" /> <v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelHeight" /> <v:f eqn="sum @0 0 1" /> <v:f eqn="prod @6 1 2" /> <v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelWidth" /> <v:f eqn="sum @8 21600 0" /> <v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelHeight" /> <v:f eqn="sum @10 21600 0" /> </v:formulas> <v:path o:extrusionok="f" gradientshapeok="t" o:connecttype="rect" /> <o:lock v:ext="edit" aspectratio="t" /> </v:shapetype><v:shape id="Picture_x0020_1" o:spid="_x0000_i1025" type="#_x0000_t75" alt="celtic maps.pdf" title=""Click to view OR drag to your desktop to save"" style='width:12pt;height:12pt;visibility:visible' o:button="t"> <v:imagedata src="file:///C:\Users\Steve\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image001.gif" o:title="celtic maps" /> </v:shape><![endif]--><!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->

celtic maps.pdf
1501K   View   Download  

 

<!--[if gte vml 1]><v:shape id="Picture_x0020_2" o:spid="_x0000_i1026" type="#_x0000_t75" alt="celtic Text-panels.pdf" title=""Click to view OR drag to your desktop to save"" style='width:12pt; height:12pt;visibility:visible' o:button="t"> <v:imagedata src="file:///C:\Users\Steve\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image001.gif" o:title="celtic Text-panels" /> </v:shape><![endif]--><!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->

celtic Text-panels.pdf
285K   View   Download  

 

<!--[if gte vml 1]><v:shape id="Picture_x0020_3" o:spid="_x0000_i1027" type="#_x0000_t75" alt="celticinfo boards.pdf" title=""Click to view OR drag to your desktop to save"" style='width:12pt; height:12pt;visibility:visible' o:button="t"> <v:imagedata src="file:///C:\Users\Steve\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image001.gif" o:title="celticinfo boards" /> </v:shape><![endif]--><!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->

celticinfo boards.pdf
1869K   View   Download  

 

NANT HELEN  REMAINDER  ( Onllyn, Neath- Port Talbot) (Powys Council) (Application) (Celtic Energy), (1.9m tonnes)

Surface miner Celtic Energy want to mine on this site for a further 4.5 years, on a site they have been working since 2002.

‘Our Proposals for the Nant Helen Remainder’ (Celtic Energy)

http://www.coal.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/celtic-energy-bannerstands.pdf

NANT LLESG, GWENT (Gwent) (Scoping Inquiry) (Miller Argent)

‘Group to fight plans for Nant Llesg coalmine’ (South Wales Argus 24/7/12) (9.0m)

Surface Miner Miller Argent have announced their intention to submit a planning application for a 9.0m tonne opencast site at Nant Llesg, This is a site near to Caerphilly and the infamous Ffos-y-Fran site. A local group, the Green Valleys Alliance has already been formed to oppose any application.

You can keep up with the campaign via their web site:

www.greenvalleyalliance.co.uk

NEW MARGAM PARC (PARK) SLIP EXTENSION (again) (Neath Port Talbot) (Pre Scoping Inquiry?) (Oak Developments) (1.5m tonnes)

‘’Garden city’ plan for Margam opencast site’ (BBC South West Wales, 11/10/12

One of a few news reports on this imaginative plan (The Big Picture Project) by Oak Developments to regenerate the site. Buried in the project is a plan to continue to mine this site for a further 1.5m tonnes for three years. Plan gets a mixed reception from local councillors.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-19909850

FURTHER RESEARCH REVEALED TH           ESE PREVIOUS NEWS STORY ABOUT THIS SITE

‘Residents in new mining concerns ‘(Wales on Line, 12/7/12)

Provides a summary of recent developments associated with this site. It was an unrestored site that had not been worked for some years. Celtic Energy were refused an application to extend the site in 2011 after a Public Inquiry and a Judicial Review. Now residents fear that a new restoration proposal will include new plans to extend the mine – fears realised with the new announcement on 11/10/12 

COMMENT : I’m not exactly clear about what is going on here for the future, whether this is effectively the announcement of a Scoping Enquiry for an extension. However it seems that this site has been worked continuously since at least 1988, when a previous extension to the Parc Slip site was mooted. See    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmwelaf/177/177we10.htm

In addition, when Celtic Energy, the previous owners, lost their previous appeal to extend the site in 2011 after an Appeal Court Hearing, the judgement comments raised questions about the strength of the guidance on Wales’s 500m buffer Zone policy as highlighted in the news story:

“In appealing against the refusal, the company argued the Welsh Government’s policy to exclude mining within 500 metres of homes was flawed.

The Court of Appeal judgement said Welsh Ministers were entitled on the evidence to take the view that “the savings that would be made by using coal from the appeal sites would not outweigh the objections to the proposed development”.

However, the judges went on to refer to a clash between the 500-metre exclusion zone set out in the Welsh Government’s technical advice note MTAN2 and the 200-metre exclusion zone specified in Neath Port Talbot council’s local development plan (LDP).

The judgement said: “Development control is development plan led, and decision makers need to ask themselves the question whether the development plan provision on such a basic point is overruled by a Ministerial technical advice note.

“MTAN2 does... direct attention to LDP policy, and it is not obvious that the 500-metre zone immediately replaces LDP provisions. Further guidance would have been helpful.”

According to the judges, it would be difficult for decision makers to ignore the advice note, given the source from which it came.” See

‘Energy firms bid to extend opencast mine turned down by Appeal Judges’ (Wales on Line / Western Mail, 13/10/11) @

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2011/10/13/energy-firm-s-bid-to-extend-opencast-mine-turned-down-by-appeal-judges-91466-29587287/

A new residents group has come into being to oppose this development, the No More Opencast at Parc Slip / Margam Group, who have set up a Facebook type page here

http://profileengine.com/groups/profile/431908322/no-more-opencast-at-parc-slipmargam:

 However, I’ve no contact with this group as yet..

NEW VARTEG (Torfaen Council), (Public Inquiry), (Glamorgan Power) (325,000 tonnes)

This is a catching up exercise on this long going planning application which started in either 2008 or 2009. Torfaen Council has rejected the application and a Public Inquiry sat at the beginning of this year. The results of that Public Inquiry are awaited. I caught up with this application (with help from Professor Malcolm Prowl) via this news story

‘Torfaen farmer stumbles upon collapsed mine shaft’ ( South Wales Argus, 5/10/12)

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/gwentnews/9992724.Torfaen_farmer_stumbles_upon_a_collapsed_mine_shaft/

NEWS EXTRA: CUTACRE, BOLTON

This is a controversial UK Coal site which is now undergoing restoration and some further development as permission has been given to build on part of the site. However , as the news item below illustrates, they have had a problem.

Flooding is ‘under control’ in Tyldesley’ (Leigh Journal, 28/10/12)

A stream which had been diverted to enable the Cutacre site to be worked recently changed it course after a heavy storm, blocked up a culvert, caused local flooding and deposited hundreds of tonnes of sand on farmland, Now the situation is to be remedied and is ‘under control’. See

http://www.leighjournal.co.uk/news/10004913.Flooding_is____under_control___/?ref=rss

 

This is produced for The Loose Anti Opencast Network. You can contact the Network at infoatlaon@yahoo.com

© Steve Leary

 

 

Email Contact email: infoatloan@yahoo.com