After strong local opposition the application was submitted to a planning inspectorate and late last year the Secretary of State, John Denham backing the planning inspector found in favour of UK Coal and the open cast coal mine has been approved.
UK Coal have said they will return the site to green fields once the mining has finished. Jon Lloyd the chief executive of UK Coal spent most of his career in the property development business before joining UK Coal.
CAMPAIGNERS AGAINST UK COALS HUNTINGTON LANE SURFACE MINE were out on the bridges of Telford this morning, equipped with a large banner broadcasting their message of 'No New Coal'. The opencast coal site near New Works in Telford is due to commence operations in the near future.
The 230 acre site is part of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is also home to the protected scheduled New Works Ancient Monument.
A spokesperson for the campaigners said "We believe that burning coal to generate electricity is an antiquated and out-dated technology. It is highly inefficient and is responsible for the release of huge quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. If the UK government were serious about addressing the causes of climate change there would be no need for the development of sites such as Huntington Lane. It's a tragedy that this beautiful space in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty will be lost in the pursuit of dirty coal."
Campaigners say that were the UK to hit its existing renewable energy and energy efficiency targets, the country’s power needs could be met whilst reducing both greenhouse gas emissions and fuel bills. It could also deliver thousands of jobs for areas like Telford.
"The truth is that the green energy sector offers a huge opportunity for job creation whereas jobs in the fossil fuel industry simply aren’t sustainable in a climate-changing world. Serious investment in the renewables sector would inject the economy with what the industry is calling a new wave of ‘green collar jobs’. In fact the government’s renewable energy strategy consultation identifies the potential for upwards of 160,000 new jobs if it meets the UK’s 2020 renewable energy targets."