IT amazes me that so many people appear to have endorsed the efforts made by the Banks mining group to hide the true legacy of its operations near Cramlington.
Amidst all the publicity about a few piles of earth with a silly name, where is the information about the hundreds of acres of farmland and wildlife habitat that have already been devastated?
Who is paying attention to the vast amounts of CO2 being generated by the opening of these surface coal seams and by the huge machines being used to extract the coal?
Has anyone considered the effect of all the extra traffic on the already crowded and crumbling roads around the site?
These and any other considerations we may have are brushed aside with the tired old excuse that “it will be a major boost to the local economy”.
The only part of the local economy that I can see obtaining any benefit is the Snowy Owl, apart from the Blagdon Estates, that is.
I don’t think many visitors to the site will sit in the car park after their visit and say “I know what will make our day complete, a trip to Manor Walks”.
I wish I didn’t sound so negative about this, if only Banks had followed the example set by other mineral extraction companies elsewhere in the country and had consulted meaningfully with the local community, with wildlife and environmental groups such as the RSPB and local wildlife trusts, things could have been so different.
Such consultations have produced wonderful nature reserves, some of which are already of national importance, they have resulted in countryside amenities appreciated as a resource in their own right, not as a ‘boost to the local economy’.
With such consultation we too could have had significantly improved wildlife habitat and a local countryside amenity of which everyone would have been proud.
This sort of thing can be done, it has been done elsewhere, it should have been done here.
Everyone who had a hand in not doing it should hang their heads in shame.