Scotland’s biggest opencast operator Hargreaves has been shown to be trying to bribe a local resident opposing its mine application in County Durham. At the public inquiry, due to end today, evidence has come to light of Hargreaves offering to exchange land for “withdrawing any objection(s)” by Steve MacQuarry, the Planning Director for Hargreaves. To read the letter click here. Local residents have complained that this is a dishonest method of quietening complaints.
Local residents have disagreed with Hargreave’s experts during the hearing. For example, Hargreaves hydrologist explained a video quite clearly showing water flowing down two slopes towards the pair of semi detached houses as the effect of the beck ponding back. It was apparent to local people that the hydrologist had not visited the site as the beck in question is some 75 metres away and on the other side of the walkway.
Nor was the hydrologist aware of the specific situation of two houses close to the application site which are below the level of the road. Local people are concerned that the incidence of flooding at these houses would increase if the appeal were to be successful. The inspector said he would visit these houses to see for himself.
Residents were also concerned that the ecology report does not fully consider important areas likely to be affected were the application to go ahead. Moorsley Marsh/ Robin House Wood/ Old railway track in close proximity to the proposed open cast mining site, which the Local History Society use as a beneficial site for close identification of inhabitant species with local primary school’s.