Objection to the George Farm Opencast Proposal

Tagged as: climate_action environmentalism local_communities
Neighbourhoods: & denby derbyshire hallum mapperley smalley west

The Loose Anti Opencast Network has submitted an objection to LEM Resources plan to surface mione 400,000 tonnes of coal from the George Farm site at Denby in Derbyshire. This press release summarises the content of the objectio

         THE  LOOSE ANTI OPEN-CAST NETWORK

 

LAON PR 2012-14                                                                26/11/12

GEORGE FARM : WHY DESTROY WHAT’S THERE WHEN THE USE OF COAL FOR POWER GENERATION PURPOSES IS BECOMING HISTORY?

In an objection to the proposal to develop a quarry to take out 400,000 tonnes of coal from the George Farm site, the Loose Anti Opencast Network (LAON) make the following points:

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·        <!--[endif]-->By the end of 2016, six heavily polluting power stations which were using coal to produce electricity will be closed. This is equal to a third of the UK’s coal burning generating capacity. These power stations are Ferrybridge (Yorkshire), Ironbridge (Shropshire) Cockenzie (nr Edinburgh), Kingsnorth (Kent), Tilbury (Essex) and Didcot (Oxfordshire)

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·        <!--[endif]-->It is now Government policy for the foreseeable future to phase out the use of coal for power generation purposes

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·        <!--[endif]-->It is also now Government policy to use a new subsidy system to encourage the remaining coal burning power stations to be switched to burning biomass. As a consequence, Tilbury Power Station has already been converted to burning biomass, Ironbridge is to be converted. In addition, half of the UK’s biggest power station, Drax (Yorkshire)is to be converted by 2017 and another large power station Eggborough (Goole on Humberside) is also to be converted.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·        <!--[endif]-->New Department of Energy and Climate change figures predict what the consequence of these changes will be for on the demand for coal for power generation purposes in the UK until 2030. In 2011 the UK used over 40.5m tonnes of coal. By 2017, the date by when coal extraction on the George Farm site is most likely to finish if planning permission was granted anytime soon, demand is expected to have fallen to 26.6m tonnes, a drop of about 34%.

The use of coal for power generation purposes is becoming history and for the foreseeable future this trend will continue as Power Generating companies continue to reduce the country’s capacity to burn coal.

In addition, the objection points out how easy it is to import coal.

“ All the years of disturbance and nuisance local people will suffer could be avoided if 4 loads of 130,000 tonnes of coal could, instead, be unloaded in Immingham and transported by a far more environmentally friendly method of transport, rail, to the power stations where it is needed.

This would also mean that the current generation of residents would not have to wait for 25 years before the site began to look mature, assuming that this was in fact a 5 year ‘Green to Green’ proposal, with no submission of a future plan to extend the site.”

Steve Leary, who wrote the submission, is the Co-ordinator of the Loose Anti Opencast Network have been working with The West Hallum Environment Group and the Smalley Action Group, who fully support this objection.

He commented

“ We in LAON have been working with members of local groups in objecting to this application. The new evidence LAON has presented shows why coal for power generation purposes is becoming history. The simple question which Derbyshire County Councillors face is knowing that this is the case, is 4 shiploads of coal worth saving local people from  years of disturbance plus innumerable traffic movements by road, if account is also taken of journeys made by employees and suppliers servicing the site in addition to the known estimated heavy lorry movements.  This is a stark choice that the Planning Authority has to take. The case being put here is that protecting local people from the loss of amenity caused by working this site, if permission is given, is worth 4 shiploads of coal, especially when the use of coal is becoming history.

LAON also has to alert local people to another threat which may impinge on the decision about George Farm. Currently, the Government is seeking further changes in the planning system that might make it easier for proposals such as George Farm to gain planning permission. In the Growth and Infrastructure Bill currently before Parliament, Clause 21 will give the Secretary Of State power to define certain developments as ‘Major Infrastructure Projects’ . If quarrying and surface mining are so defined, as the draft legislation suggests then the decision will be made by means of a Public Inquiry and not by the local planning authority, thus making it far more difficult for local people to object to such proposals. So far The Government has refused to define precisely what it means by ‘Major Infrastructure Projects’. It would be deeply ironic if the surface mining of coal was so defined in view of the predicted decline in the use of coal for power generation purposes”

About LAON

The Loose Anti-Opencast Network (LAON) has been in existence since 2009. It functions as a medium through which to oppose open cast mine applications. At present LAON links individuals and groups in N Ireland (Just Say No to Lignite), Scotland (Coal Action Scotland), Wales (Green Valleys Alliance, The Merthyr Tydfil Anti Opencast Campaign), England, (Coal Action Network), Northumberland, (Whittonstall Action Group, Halton Lea Gate Residents)) Co Durham (Pont Valley Network), Leeds, Sheffield (Cowley Residents Action Group), Kirklees, (Skelmansthorpe Action Group)  Nottinghamshire (Shortwood Farm Opencast Opposition), Derbyshire (West Hallum Environment Group, Smalley Action Group and Hilltop Action Group) , Leicestershire (Minorca Opencast Protest Group) and Walsall (Alumwell Action Group).

Contacting LAON

Steve Leary LAON’Ss Co-ordinator, at infoatlaon@yahoo.com

 

You can now follow LAON on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/Seftonchase

 

Contacting the West Hallum Environment Group

Neil Paget, Chairperson, The West Hallum Environment Group @ 

 smalleychildcare@btinternet.com

 

Email Contact email: infoatloan@yahoo.com