Failing coal company UK Coal have been taken over by the Pensions Protection Fund (PPF)in order to prevent miners at the Daw Mill Colliery loosing all of their pensions.
The deal will see miners from Daw Mill loose 20% of their pensions1presumably the bosses wont be loosing their investments.
The future of the 6 opencast coal mines and two deep pit mines UK Coal is currently operating is unclear. As is the situation over the further 6 sites from which the company is applying to extract another 6.6 million tonnes of coal from. This situation leaves workers and local residents in the lurch.
This week two local papers reported that local residents were unhappy by the drawn out manner UK Coal has has applied for planning and the affect on their lives. At Whittonstall local people have been fighting a UK Coal application for two and a half years. The company want to extract 2.2 million tonnes from a 500 hectare site in picturesque Northumberland called Hoodsclose. The company also want to extract a further 3million tonnes from another 3 sites adjacent to Hoodsclose. In Staffordshire UK Coal has delayed their application to remove 450,000 from the controversial Great Oak site. The site is the land over the old Dig lake colliery where 77 men and boys were killed in a flooding disaster in 1895. The majority of the bodies are still in the ground.
UK Coal is also still trying to open a new mine at Bradley, Co. Durham, despite continual resistance from the local communities. They have launched a judicial review to contest the Inspectors decision against the mine, following a three week appeal. The results of the judicial review should be announced this month.
The nations biggest coal company Scottish coal went into liquidation in April 2013. It was then revealed that there is insufficient money in the restoration bonds to restore the sites which have been completed or closed to the tune of up to £60 million in East Ayrshire alone.
In England there is not a statutory requirement for companies to have restoration bonds.The situation is very unclear with regards to miners jobs and pensions as well as the operation or restoration of sites. The UK needs to move away from its reliance on coal for power generation in order to reach EU climate change targets and as the coal fired power stations not adapted to meet emissions-reduction targets will have to close by the end of 20152.
1. Pensions expert and former government adviser Dr Ros Altmann said: "The sad reality of UK Coal's demise will result in its workers facing reductions of around 20% in their future pensions. http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/company-news/woolworths-ruling-may-cost-jobs-in-future.21440696
2. Under the EU's Large Combustion Plant Directive, polluting power stations that were not adapted to meet emissions-reduction targets will have to close after generating for 20,000 hours from January 2008, or by the end of 2015, whichever comes first. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/kingsnorth-power-station-closure-confirmed-7545448.html