Residents taking their fight online against opencast

A battle to stop woodland and farmland on the outskirts of Blyth from being turned into opencast mine workings has gone online.

Residents living near the proposed site have launched a campaign group protesting against the plans by UK Coal to create an opencast mine at Bebside, and this week they launched a website to help their cause.

Site creator and campaigner, Sally Pattison, said: “We have over 100 signatures online now and over 100 on paper, which we are hoping to build on as our web page goes live.

“We have created a website – – in an attempt to provide information surrounding the current proposal by UK Coal.

“It attempts to answer questions some residents of the area may have regarding the proposal and gives people contact details of the campaign if they have any further queries.

“The website was created to be informative and hopefully provide people with the information they need in a simple and easy to understand format.”

The website also includes links to Northumberland County Council’s mineral policy, letters from the Coal Authority and information on what campaigners say are the potential health risks to children associated with opencast mining.

UK Coal has submitted a scoping request to Northumberland County Council with views to extracting 850,000 tonnes of coal over a five-year period, starting in 2015.

But residents say the development would lead to the loss of an important and vital open space and woodland, with nothing similar in the area.

One resident who did not wish to be named, said: “Hathery Lane is used all the time, especially since the road was re-surfaced last summer, it’s never been busier.

“Communities should be entitled to their green spaces.

“Bebside has been mined on and off for over 400 years, when is it going to end?

“Does the wildlife here ever get a chance to recover?

“We’re seeing more and more that this council just doesn’t take the environment seriously.

“This deal should not even be on the table for discussion.”

Julie Collop, from Bebside, added: “If the council let UK Coal’s application for the opencast go ahead it’ll be like ripping the heart out of Bebside and it’s people.”