Biomass and Coal: Burning the Future – Public Meeting

Thursday 5th february, 6:30-8:30pm, London

Tickets are free but the event is pretty much fully-booked – check Eventbrite to go on the ticket waiting list!


  • A speaker from a US alliance of conservation organisations that are campaigning against the destruction of their country’s forests to produce pellets for Drax and other UK power stations. In the southern US, remnants of highly biodiverse and carbon rich wetland forests are being destroyed for pellet production.
  • Richard Solly from the London Mining Network will report back from his recent visit to the world’s largest opencast mine in Colombia, Cerrejon, a mine linked to brutal evictions, pollutions and malnutrition amongst local communities.

Drax burns coal from Cerrejon and wood pellets from the southern US, but despite the clear evidence of forest destruction and community impacts they still receive millions in subsidies.

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Low coal prices puts mine on hold


The site after tree felling


The site before tree felling

Residents are angry that coal company ReCycoal have put mine plans on hold indefinitely after clear felling the trees. The company has made the announcement citing low global coal prices.

In early 2013 Sheffield City Council approved ReCycoal’s Hesley wood Tip site. The coal site was heavily contested by local people but Sheffield council approved the mine. The Director of Public Health, asked for a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) due to concerns over the small particles affecting health especially with the cumulative effects of the M1. The council officer was determined to give the site the go ahead and didn’t want to delay the start of work by 5 weeks to allow a HIA as it would have prevented the company from felling the trees before the end of that years’ season.
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Druridge Scoping Report

DSCF6015Mining company Banks have released their scoping report for the site they call Highthorn, at Widdrington, Northumberland. The site lies between the village and the beach close to Druridge Bay. The scoping report includes changes in their plans. These changes include the time between the proposed start of operations in 2016 to the completion of restoration being reduced from 13 years to between eight and ten years, and the removal of 114 hectares to the east of Widdrington village from the study area being considered for the scheme. The application is expected in late spring this year.
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Duridge Bay Application Reduced

Banks Mining have announced a reduction in the size of their application to mine coal at Highthorn close to Druridge Bay, Northumberland.


International Protest Against Banks Plans

The news this week in The Chronicle says ‘The company has now submitted a scoping report to Northumberland County Council in which it has reduced the area it proposes to mine a second time – by over 100 hectares – and the time it seeks to work there – by three to five years.’ The original plan was to mine around 7 million tonnes from 1,700 acres. To see the full article see here.
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Not a field of cows to be moved around

SDC10077Las Cruces is one of many villages in a contested landscape shaped, most recently, by mining. A culture of capitalist accumulation tries to move in while the coal moves out. I saw this in 2009. Five years later, i saw a culture of commoning stoically sticking its dancing heels in.

Drummond, originally a coal mining company from the Appalachians Alabama, USA are now the fourth largest coal exporter globally. They  finance, manage and profit from El Descanso and La Loma opencast mine, twenty minute drive north from Las Cruces. In 2012 they exported 25 million tonnes of coal, 70% is this to Europe.
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