CPRE Northumberland

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Opposition grows to Dewley Hill open cast

Dewley Hill site (marked in red) Dewley Hill site (marked in red) © 2019 Microsoft corporation

Banks Mining, the company currently working on sites...

...in Brenkley and Shotton in Northumberland and Bradley in Co. Durham, has applied for permission to extract coal and fireclay from a site in the Green Belt between Throckley and Ponteland. This controversial proposal has received support from residents in both counties, but many more letters are coming in from those opposed to the scheme, including the two MPs whose constituencies lie alongside the site and many local residents’ groups.

CPRE Northumberland opposes the plan for a number of reasons. So much of the city’s Green Belt has been lost to development already, with more planned to disappear under concrete in the coming years. This makes this site doubly important as the last piece of Green Belt land in Newcastle seen by those travelling west out of the city. Let us not forget that Green Belts were created to allow city dwellers to leave behind the noise and polluted air of the urban world and pass cleanly into open countryside with its healthy air and unspoilt pastoral landscapes.

The site lies on a south-facing slope in the Tyne valley, highly visible from Throckley and Callerton Hill. Immediately east are areas where work is due to start soon on the construction of thousands of new houses. Their residents can expect years of noise and pollution from the mine workings, not to mention thousands of heavy lorries transporting the products away along roads which also lead to their homes.

Meanwhile, there are wider environmental issues involved. Evidence is growing by the day that the earth is moving towards an inevitable crisis if we go on generating our power by burning fossil fuels. Scientists insist that without a decisive shift in policy, today’s children will find that during their lifetime global warming and the increase in world population will create untold misery for millions of their fellow human beings and bring urgent problems of food supply and potential mass migration to their doorstep.

Opening yet more mine workings to extract coal for power stations is the last thing we need today, and we believe that a refusal for this application by a city associated for over a hundred years with coal will send a decisive message to the world that the age of coal is over.


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