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Ferneybeds planning application submitted

Banks Mining finalize planning application for proposed new surface mine in south-east Northumberland

FOLLOWING an extensive public-engagement programme, Banks Mining have submitted a planning application for a proposed new surface mine located to the south of the village of Widdrington Station, in south-east Northumberland.

The company plans to extract around 752,000 tonnes of coal from the Ferneybeds surface mine site over a three-year period, which would support around 40 local jobs and help bring substantial new revenues into the local economy.

As part of the plans, a new community benefits fund worth around £75,000 would be set up by Banks to deliver a range of community and environmental improvements in partnership with local people, and a new nature corridor would be included in the restoration of the site to help enhance the habitats for local wildlife.

The detail of the planning application was finalized with the help of around 20 local residents and community representatives, who took part in a series of community design workshops set up by Banks to give local people a voice in the scheme’s development.

Commenting on the application, Mark Dowdall, Banks’ environment and community director, said: ‘We’re very pleased to have reached this milestone, and especially to have had such active involvement from local people in getting to it. We’ve gone to great lengths to respond to the issues raised with us about this development and have included a number of measures in our application which we believe fully address them.

‘The surface mining industry is still a significant employer in this area, and we estimate that Banks’ existing operations here contribute around £20 million to the regional economy, a figure which would rise significantly if these new plans are approved.’

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