Surface mine extension refused on grounds that proposed benefits did not outweigh environmental impacts
DURHAM County Council’s planning committee today voted to reject Banks Group’s proposed Bradley West extension on the grounds that the environmental impacts of the scheme could not be outweighed by its proposed benefits.
Councillor Mark Wilkes, who proposed the motion to refuse the extension, said: ‘Is it in the national interest to pump out more CO2 and other pollutants into atmosphere and stymie the development of alternative technologies? We have to protect the local community and the nation from adverse environmental impacts.’
With regard to local impacts, a key contentious issue was that the site would be 33m from the nearest homes. On this point, Councillor Wilkes said: ‘This is where people live and sit in their gardens and want to breathe clean air.’
Speaking at the hearing, Alan Holmes of the Campaign to Protect Pont Valley argued that approval was inconsistent with Durham’s future plans, including on climate mitigation. He said: ‘The County Durham Plan asserts climate change issues should be considered in every aspect of strategy and decision making. The Officer’s Report recommends no weight is afforded to the emergent County Plan, even though it will form the basis of decision making well into the future.’
Anne Harris from Coal Action Network said: ‘Community groups and individuals who have petitioned, door-knocked, and written letters have managed to convince planners that a coal mine is not in anyone’s interest. The impact of this decision will be felt nationally as more mines are set to go before planning committees.’