From the
organisers of
Hillhead logo

Shotton opencast coal proposals approved


THE Banks Group’s proposals for a new surface coal mine at Shotton in Northumberland have been given the go-ahead following a government enquiry into the scheme. The local authority, Northumberland County Council, had originally rejected an application by the company for the 300ha scheme in summer 2006.

However, after an enquiry into the scheme by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Secretary of State Hazel Blears MP has now ruled that the proposals are ‘environmentally acceptable’ and ‘would meet the highest standards’.


The enquiry found that the scheme ‘would add to the local and regional economy’, does not conflict with ‘green belt’ development policy and ‘would enhance the landscape in the long term’.

The DCLG decision also means that, as part of the overall scheme, a new public park based around ‘Northumberlandia’, a unique human form sculpted into the landscape by world-renowned artist and designer Charles Jencks, will be created in the area.

Steven Harrison, mining director at The Banks Group, said: ‘Coal still plays a crucial part in meeting the UK’s energy requirements and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, while the mining industry also continues to have an important economic role to play within the North East.

‘This decision will bring some £150 million into the local economy, and will also both safeguard many existing jobs and create new ones at the site, in supply chain industries and in the local area.’

Around 3.4 million tonnes of coal, two million tonnes of shale and 750,000 tonnes of fireclay are now expected to be mined over the eight-year lifetime of the project, and on completion of work the site will be fully restored to its former ‘green’ status.

This final restoration will include extensive new broadleaved woodland, extending existing wildlife corridors in Stannington Vale and the river Blyth; 11ha of grassland/woodland; new hedgerow planting and footpaths; and 70ha of parkland, including 16.5ha of open public access in the completed landform park.



Latest Jobs