Jobs vs views as plans announced for more opencasting

Posted on 08th August 2013 | in Business News , Community , News

A  storage area could be situated on land north of the Widdrington Inn roundabout

A storage area could be situated on land north of the Widdrington Inn roundabout

Land between Widdrington Station and Druridge Bay has been identified as another source of coal which can be extracted by opencast methods. There could be up to seven million tonnes of high quality coal, from a site named Highthorn.

The company, Banks Mining, say they are keen to take notice of public opinion and are asking residents to get involved in discussions and help form decisions. Some of the plans for involving the community include presentations to local councils and other community groups, stalls set up at various events and consultation with tourists and visitors.

The planning application for the site will probably be submitted to the County Council in autumn 2014, after everybody has had their say, and they say, opinions have been taken into account. If planning permission is given, Banks Mining is hoping to start work in 2016, completing coal extraction in 2027, and over the next five years, restoring the land.

Banks Mining say:  ”We have worked and restored over 100 surface mining sites since 1976 and have grown to employ over 400 people in the mining, property and renewable sector.”

They stress that they are keen to hear from the public before plans are submitted. “We will be carrying out extensive public consultation before we submit a planning application …. We want to involve all sections of the community with the project.”

Some of the benefits of the work, according to the company, include apprenticeships and support towards training and qualifications, new cycle routes, faster broadband and better public transport services.  The plans for restoration will be designed for wildlife and the local community.

If you have ideas, questions or opinions, Banks want to hear from you. You can contact them via: Banks group, Inkerman House, St. John’s Road, Meadowfield, Durham, DH7 8XL Email:

Norma Hinson

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