Re-post from indymedia.org.uk:
Last November members of the local community living in Smalley Derbyshire lost there second battle with UK Coal, with the open cast mine at Lodge House having planning approved for an extension that will see a further 192 hectares of land desecrated and a further 750,000 tonnes of coal extracted. There had been way over 400 written letters of objection to the extension, yet unsurprisingly, these fell on deaf ears within the local council’s planning department.
In 2008 Lodge House had been the scene of an occupation by activists who barricaded themselves inside an old farm house which had been located on the site as well as occupying threatened trees and digging in with a defensive network of tunnels. The site was evicted at great cost to UK Coal over the period of a week. Sneakily, the scabs working for the bailiff company UK Evict, moved in while some of the resident protesters had temporarily left the occupation to attend the Kingsnorth Climate Camp.
In the same month as the Lodge House extension being approved a committee hearing for a proposal by L.E.M. Resources to open cast 400,000 tonnes of coal over a three year period from George Farm was delayed by Derbyshire County Council. The council wanted to wait to receive more detailed information on the environmental impacts of the mine before proceeding with their decision. In terms of its location the new mine at George Farm would be even closer to Smalley than the open cast operations at Lodge House, and locals fear that, if approved, L.E.M would seek to extend the mine further, bringing it ever closer to their homes. This fear is not without reason, the extension at Lodge House is typical of open cast mining companies forever expanding their mines. Typically they will get their foot in the door with an application for a small mine, and once they are operational seek to extend again and again over a period of years, the initial approval of the original mine acting as precedent in their applications to extend it further.
George Farm is still yet to have been given approval by Derbyshire County Council, and with L.E.M being a relatively small company it probably wouldn’t take much to put them off and abandon their plans. So why not pay them a friendly visit at:
2 HEAP BRIDGE
The environmental consultancy (read advisers on how to circumvent environmental legislation) used by L.E.M for the planning application was Silkstone Environmental Ltd. They can be contacted at:
7 HALL ANNEXE
Tel: 0114 2573487
Fax: 0114 2573459
Along with UK Coal being in a constant state of financial difficulty, fairing terribly on the stock market, and Scottish Coal seeing profits down from £90 million to just £2 million last year the coal industry in Britain is in a state of collapse, all it may need is a couple of well aimed kicks to stop it in its tracks.