Friends of the Earth urges rejection of new opencast coal mine in Northumberland

By agency reporter
May 18, 2019

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire is being urged to reject planning permission for an opencast coal mine in Northumberland after Friends of the Earth revealed that UK power stations already have enough stock-piled coal to last until 2025, when coal-fired power generation is due to end.

The opencast coal mine, which would devastate a beauty spot at Druridge Bay, was originally recommended for approval by a planning inspector in November 2017, on the basis that there was a ‘window’ for using the coal for power generation before 2025.

The application was refused by Mr Brokenshire’s predecessor Sajid Javid in March 2018, due to the mines’ substantial impact on climate change – but this was over-ruled in November by the High Court. The application is now being considered by Mr Brokenshire.

However, new government projections, published in April this year, show that the forecast amount of electricity the UK will generate from coal between 2020 and 2025 has fallen by over 90 per cent since the previous year’s figures – and there is now more than enough coal in stock at power stations to generate this electricity.

Friends of the Earth is now calling on James Brokenshire to reject the planning application for the Druridge Bay open cast coal mine - and to revoke planning permission for an opencast coal mine at Bradley in County Durham.

Last week it was revealed that Britain has just gone a week without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since 1882.

A Friends of the Earth online petition urging the government to reject the Druridge Bay mine application has been signed by over 25,000 people.

Friends of the Earth fossil free campaigner Tony Bosworth said: “Power stations already have enough stock-piled coal to last until they close down in 2025, so giving new climate-wrecking coal mines the green light would be ludicrous.

“James Brokenshire must reject the Druridge Bay planning application and protect this wildlife-rich, beauty spot from devastation.

“With the world facing a climate emergency it’s time to consign coal to the history books and build a cleaner, safer future based on energy efficiency and the UK’s vast renewable power potential.”

* Friends of the Earth briefing on the issue here

* Friends of the Earth https://friendsoftheearth.uk/

[Ekk/6]

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