Minister visits mine and new fire HQ

The visit delegation on site at Shotton, with Bob Neill shown fourth from the right.

The visit delegation on site at Shotton, with Bob Neill shown fourth from the right.

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A GOVERNMENT minister has visited an opencast mine site and fire station in south east Northumberland.

Communities and local government minister Bob Neill was shown around the Banks Group’s Shotton surface mine, near Cramlington, and was also given a peek at the emerging Northumberlandia earth sculpture being formed from around 1.5 million tonnes of soil and clay taken from the mine and set to form the centrepiece of a 14.5-hectare public park after it opens in 2013.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, said: “I think that the minister was both surprised and impressed by the set-up at Shotton.”

Mr Neill also paid a visit to Northumberland’s fire and rescue headquarters at West Hartford, near Cramlington.

The MP was given a tour of the station by acting chief fire officer Alex Bennett.

Mr Neill said: “I was delighted to have to opportunity to meet Alex and to be shown around the headquarters.”

“This new fire station was delivered on time and to budget, providing local communities, not only with a modern fire service, but also with opportunities to improve fire safety through easy access to local fire stations.”