DCSIMG

Concerns at plans for new opencast

Exhibition of UK Coal plans at the Dales School at Blyth with (left to right) local residents Dawn Edwards, David Wardle and Peter Wood-Area Planning Manager-UK Coal.
REF 1903145323

Exhibition of UK Coal plans at the Dales School at Blyth with (left to right) local residents Dawn Edwards, David Wardle and Peter Wood-Area Planning Manager-UK Coal. REF 1903145323

Residents living near to a proposed opencast mine have expressed their concerns over the plans.

The UK Coal proposal would see 850,000 tonnes of coal extracted from a site that covers a large area to the west of Cowpen in Blyth, south of Bebside, and north of East Hartford and Shankhouse in Cramlington.

Derek Leathard, who lives on the nearby Heather Lea estate in Bebside, said: “We have real concerns about these plans.

“It is ridiculous, it is literally at the end of our gardens.

“Under these plans there will be large machinery and a diesel train parked outside our housing estate giving off fumes.

“It will have a detrimental affect on house prices as no one wants to live next to an opencast, I probably won’t be able to sell my house until this is completed.

“I have a daughter, and we have real concerns about the possible health risks.

“This opencast has no benefit to the local economy and no benefit to the local people.”

But UK Coal has said the opencast would bring 80 jobs to the region, and clean up contaminated land, as well as creating wildlife habitats.

A spokesman for the company said: “Following feedback from local residents at the public information exhibitions last week, UK Coal will be making amendments to the scheme at Bebside.

“We received views and ideas from over 100 local people over the two nights.

“We endeavour to work closely with local residents and have been asked to host another event over the next few weeks to ensure that we include everyone who wants to be involved.

“Whilst we understand that a number of residents have some concerns, our feedback from the community also welcomed the prospect of new jobs and apprenticeships schemes for the area, the restoration of the contaminated land the additional economic benefits for local businesses.

“We hope, working with the community, to be able to alleviate their worries and put in place a Fund from which all the community will benefit.”

UK Coal is looking to submit its planning application for the site by the end of next month.

If successful, work would commence on site in 2015.

 

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