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SSSI status for restored Midlands coal site

Heathland at former Bleak House surface mine recognized as a Site of Special Scientific Interest 

LAND restored after an opencast mining scheme recovered more than 3 million tonnes of coal has been named as a Site of Special Scientific Interest by Natural England.

Around 115 acres of the former Bleak House surface mine site, located between Heath Hayes and Chase Terrace, near Cannock, in Staffordshire, have been restored to heathland by UK Coal’s land rehabilitation team.

Now Natural England has concluded that the ‘mosaic of habitats’ that has been created, and which now supports 140 wildlife species, is nationally important and has designated it a SSSI.

UK Coal’s land rehabilitation manager, Trevor Hind, said: ‘Natural England’s SSSI designation of the Bleak House land further acknowledges the success of UK Coal’s common sense and practical approach to land restoration. It demonstrates that, in extracting energy for the nation, surface mining can put something back for future generations to cherish.’

Work on the Bleak House site started in 1993 and restoration was completed in 2001. During its operational life the site produced 3.26 million tonnes of power station coal from 13 seams, with excavations reaching a maximum depth of 90m.

The company’s land rehabilitation team continues to manage the heathland area with rotational cutting operations and controlled grazing by cattle and wild deer, in co-operation with a local farmer.

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