Plans submitted for surface mine

Gary Morgan, business development manager at Banks Mining, with a visitor to the recent exhibition of the Highthorn proposals.

Gary Morgan, business development manager at Banks Mining, with a visitor to the recent exhibition of the Highthorn proposals.

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A planning application for a proposed surface mine in Northumberland has been submitted.

Banks Mining has submitted the application for a surface mine to Northumberland County Council at its new Highthorn site, which is located to the south east of the village of Widdrington.

The firm has been carrying out a programme of public consultation over the last two and a half years on its design for the Highthorn scheme to enable local people, community groups and businesses to provide their ideas and opinions on how the scheme might be designed and operated.

The time between the proposed start of work through to the completion of restoration would now be no more than seven years, rather than between eight and ten years, as had previously been planned, and the site has been moved further away from the south and east of Widdrington village through the removal of an extra 283 hectares of land.

Jeannie Kielty, development relations coordinator at The Banks Group, said: “We’ve taken considerable time to listen to local people on how they want to see their area benefit from our proposed Highthorn scheme, and believe that we have developed a package of ideas in response that will enable their ambitions to be realised.”

If the scheme goes ahead, it will also mean an end to the removal of up to 62,000 tonnes of sand from the beach and dunes at Druridge Bay every year. Northumberland County Council is expected to make a decision on the Highthorn planning application in 2016.