Banks mining company has announced that it wont mine 752,000 tonnes of coal from Ferneybeds, in Northumberland. The news is welcomed by local campaigners, who are pleased that they wont be subject to dust coming from the mine, increased HGVs on local roads, noise, light pollution and loss of habitat.
The application to mine at Ferneybeds, Widdrington Station was approved in April 2013. The mine has never been started amid complications over power lines and sewage amenities on the site. On the 14th November 2016 Banks announced it would not work this site.
Banks are one of the few companies actively pursuing new coal mine applications. Their proposal to mine at Highthorn, next to Druridge Bay was approved earlier this year, but has subsequently been ‘Called In’ by the government. There will be a public inquiry to make the final decision. Highthorn and Ferneybeds are in very close proximity to each other. Banks are also proposing a new mine on the outskirts of Newcastle at Dewley Hill. Both of these applications are strong opposed by local people.
There are currently 15 opencast mines operating in the UK, according to the Coal Authority Statistics. In reality a number of these mines are now in restoration but still selling off their stockpiled coal.
On the 9th November the government launched the coal phase out consultation, which looks to stop the generation of electricity from coal by 2025. More details to follow.