Newcastle City Council unanimously rejects opencast coal mine

Decision should signal end of the road for opencast coal mining in England
  Published:  18 Dec 2020    |      2 minute read

Friends of the Earth has welcomed today’s unanimous decision by Newcastle City Council's planning committee to reject a planning application for an opencast coal mine at Dewley Hill.

The decision should be the final nail in the coffin for opencast coal mining in England.

The decision follows a recommendation last week by council planning officers that the application be turned down because of the impacts on landscape, biodiversity and the green belt.

Newcastle City Council declared a climate emergency last year and Friends of the Earth argues that climate change should also have been grounds for rejection. Coal from new mines is likely to be in addition to coal mined elsewhere - not replacement coal. This is likely to lead to more coal being burned overall, leading to increased carbon emissions.

Welcoming the decision, Friends of the Earth north east campaigner Simon Bowens said:

“We’re delighted that Newcastle City Council has made the right decision.

“Opencast coal doesn’t just threaten our landscape and biodiversity. Adding to the global supply of coal would lead to more being burnt and more climate-wrecking emissions pumped into our atmosphere.

“This decision will hopefully bring down the curtain on opencast coal mining in England.

“The focus should now be on developing the clean energy solutions that can power our economy and create the new green jobs of the future.”

Friends of the Earth is calling in the government to call in Cumbria County Council’s decision in October to give the go-ahead to a new coal mine. Simon Bowens said:

“Coal must be left in the ground if we’re to confront the climate emergency. The government must ‘call in’ Cumbria County Council’s controversial decision to give planning permission to a new mine near Whitehaven.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. Banks Mining propose to extract 800,000 tonnes of opencast coal from the Dewley Hill site on the western edge of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In March 2020, Newcastle City Council resolved “to express its belief that where possible no new exploitation of fossil fuels should take place in order to cut carbon emissions and accelerate the uptake of low carbon technology”.

2. Newcastle City Council declared a Climate Emergency to make Newcastle carbon neutral by 2030.

3. Friends of the Earth is urging the government to ‘call-in’ Cumbria County Council’s decision on October to give planning permission to a controversial new coal mine - press release.