Plans for coal mine given the go ahead

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PROPOSALS for a new coal mine near Widdrington Station have been given the go ahead by planning officials.

Planners at Northumberland County Council unanimously backed the plans from Banks Mining to dig 725,000 tonnes of coal and 200,000 tonnes of fireclay from the 240-acre Ferneybeds site near Widdrington Station.

The application received six letters of objection, and was approved at a meeting on Wednesday.

Mark Dowdall, Banks’ environment and community director, said: “Having had the backing of Widdrington Station and Stobswood Parish Council for our planning application, and having also received a recommendation for approval from Northumberland County Council’s planning officers, we’re very pleased that the county council’s planning committee has also expressed its support for the Ferneybeds surface mine.

“This project will enable Banks to continue its long-term investment in an area in which we have worked for more than three decades.

“Our local operations are already directly employing around 200 people, as well as supporting many other jobs in the local supply chain, and the substantial contributions we’ve made to many local towns and villages over the years have greatly improved the community facilities that they enjoy.

“Our planning application has been carefully designed in close consultation with the local community, and we are wholly committed to living up to the promises we have made about the way in which it will be operated.

“Coal will remain a central part of the UK’s energy mix for the foreseeable future, and we know there will be great demand for the high quality materials that we extract from the Ferneybeds site.

“We will now be looking to finalise the details of our operations before commencing preparatory work on the site.”