London Indymedia

LAON's April Review of English Opencast Sites

Steve Leary | 09.05.2013 14:40 | Climate Chaos | Energy Crisis | Social Struggles | London | Wales

This review updates information on planning developments affecting new English Opencast sites. In addition, it has information on the sites that would be affected if UK Mine Holdings / UK Coal Operations were, as recent press stories indicate, to go into administration. In addition it has news on the the land slip at Hatfield Colliery, latest developments over the Helsley Wood Tip and opencast mining on the Canobie Coalfield.


2013 SERIES: No 4.1 April 1 – 30th 2013 9/5/13

From June 2012 to January 2013 a monthly review was published that grew to cover the whole of the UK, and by January it had reached 35 pages and was becoming unwieldy and imposing a strain on meeting the end of month deadline by which all information on all the sites had to be checked. The decision was taken to split the review into three parts, one covering England to be published on or just after the 1st of the month, the Scottish part to be published on or just after the 10th of the month and the Welsh part to be published on of just after the 20th of each month.
On the date this review was published these were the number of opencast sites being planned or derelict or at risk of becoming derelict.

In the Public Domain in the English Planning System 15
In the Public Domain in the Scottish Planning System 14
In the Public Domain in the Welsh Planning System 4
Approved sites, but still inactive after 2 years (Scotland)) 3
Sites Affected by the collapse of Scottish Coal (i.e. work 18 has, either stopped, it was mothballed or the site is not restored (Scotland)
Derelict Sites: England 2
Derelict Site: Scotland 1
Derelict Site: Wales 1

This is the way to read each entry on potential or actual opencast sites:
Site Name, Location, Planning Authority, Position in the Planning System (either Scoping Inquiry, Application Submitted, Application Approved), the name of the Applicant / Operator and the size.


BIRKLANDS, (nr .Marley Hill, Gateshead), (Gateshead) : Reference No DC/11/00687/MIN) (Application) (Hall Construction Services) (275,000) (34.8 hectares)

Last news on this site 8/2/13: An email from Gateshead Council indicated that a revised application was to be submitted shortly.

‘Opencast, the threat returns’ (local action group) (no date)

Not a news story, but an on line petition that can be signed to show opposition to open casting at this proposed 275,000 tonne site. See

You can read this application and still make comments here:

BRADLEY (nr. Consett) (Co Durham) (Judicial Review due in June) (UK Coal) (500,000) (68 hectares)

Last news on this site: ‘UK Coal awaits planning permission decisions’ (Argus Media 14/3/13) @

NEW: BRENKLEY LANE ADDITIONAL (north of Dinnington and near Seaton Burn, Newcastle / Northumberland border) (Newcastle Council)(Scoping Inquiry) (400,000 tonnes) (3 hectare addition) (Banks Mining)


This is an area that has seen opencast operations in operation since 2002, when the Dehli site, north of the present site began operations. The Brenkley Lane site originally gained approval in 2009 for the extraction of 2.4m tonnes of coal and 200,000 tonnes of fireclay on a 130 hectare site for 11 years. Approval also meant that as use was to be made of part of the Dehli site, as an overburden storage area and for dispatching coal, that this site would not be fully restored. For information on some of this see:

‘Brenkley Lane proposal gets go ahead’ ( Agg Net, 28/10/2009 ) @


‘Banks Mining wants to increase work at Shotton and Newcastle surface mines ‘ (Northern Echo, 18/4/13) @

Banks Mining have announced that they intend to seek planning permission to extract another 400,000 tonnes of coal from its Brenkley Lane site and another 550,000 tonnes of coal from its Shotton site. This 3 hectare extension of the Brenkley Lane site is not expected to extend the working life of the site beyond the original 2021 completion date.

COMMENT: This new application, when it comes, demonstrates that promises to fully restore sites within a certain time period, which influenced the granting of the original planning permission, are easily broken and should not be trusted. This will extend the total period this site and the adjacent Delhi site has been worked to a total of 22 years.

‘Public Exhibitions planned for proposed additional extraction at Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines, (Banks News, 19/4/13) @

Banks announces a series of public exhibitions on their plans to extend the Brenkley Lane and Shotton sites:

“Additional proposals going on show between 3pm and 7pm on Tuesday 23 April at Dinnington Social Club, and the Shotton plans following between the same times at Stannington Village Hall on Thursday 25 April. “

“New coal mining sites will extract 1m tonnes” (Bdaily Business News, 19/4/13) @

‘Banks aims to extend surface mines’ (Insider News North East, 22/4/13) @

Additional Information:

Both applications are expected to be submitted in a few weeks.

DEANFIELD (West of New Sharlston, Wakefield) (Wakefield) (Scoping Inquiry) (UK Coal) (1.180,000 tonnes) (138 hectares) (Ref No 13/00006/MIN) Details about the Application can be viewed here:

Last news on this site: ‘UK Coal awaits planning permission decisions’ (Argus Media 14/3/13) @
A Health Impact Assessment survey has been started on this proposal on 21/3/13. You can see a copy of it here:

and Wakefield Council has used Twitter to advertise the existence of the survey here:


It appears that the site is on the proposed Birmingham to Leeds HS2 line according to a map on the ‘Stop HS2 through Altofts’ Facebook page @

DEARNE LEA, WEST CLAYTON (S.E. of Huddersfield) (Kirklees Council: Reference No. 2012/62/9113/ED) (Application) (George Harrison Ltd) (190,000) (18.8 hectares)

This application is to be determined by The Heavy Wollens Sub Committee of Kirklees Council on the 11/4/13. The Case Officer, Simon Taylor, is recommending rejection. His report and recommendation can be read here:

11-Apr-2013, pages 73 -110 @

‘Kirkless Councillors set to rule on Clayton West mining plan’ ( The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 9/4/13 ) @

This news item reports that this application is to be determined this week. It has generated objections:

“..But the plan has drawn a host of objections, including from English Heritage, Wakefield Council, Skelmanthorpe Action Group and West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service, who say there is the potential for late prehistoric/Roman and medieval period remains on the site...”

The Case Officer is recommending that the application be rejected.

‘Plans to extract coal worth £14m rejected by Kirkless Councilors rejected – find out why here’ (Huddersfield Examiner, 12/4/13) @

“ ...Clr Paul Kane, chair of the planning committee said: “I can’t see any special circumstances for opencast mining.
“The reason I asked about the worth of the coal is because there’ll be £3-4m profit on that and they’ve offered £40,000 to the community, it’s ridiculous.

“The area is a jewel in the crown and while Bretton Hall and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park may be in Wakefield we don’t want to approve anything that may be detrimental to attracting people here....”

Refusal of Permission Letter to George Harrison / Silkstone Environment from Kirkless Council @

Thanks go to Nick Rose for sending me the above two items of information


To contact the Skelmansthorpe Communituy Action Group see:

FERNEYBEDS, WIDDRINGTON STATION (8 miles NW of Ashington) (Northumberland County Council) (Application) (Banks Group) (750,000) (95.6 hectares)

Item 1 ‘Ferneybeds opencast mine at Widdrington Station gets approval’ (Journal, 4/4/13) @

Item 2 ‘Mining bid is given green light’ (Morpeth Herald, 4/4/13) @

Item 3 ‘Plans for coal mine given the go ahead’ (News Post Leader, 11/4/13) @

Unanimous approval has been given by Northumberland County Council for Banks to work this site. Banks were given credit for the way they had engaged with the local community in developing their proposal which generated just 6 letters opposing the application. even though the area has been witness to opencast mining for 70 years. Banks, in exchange for mining 7250,000 tonnes of coal and 200,000 tonnes of fireclay are to provide community fund worth £75,000 and 40 jobs for three years. However, as Brenda Fordy-Scott, who spoke in favour of the Application and is Chairperson of the Widdrington Station Residents’ Association said (in the 2nd item)

“Nobody here really likes opencasting because it does disrupt things, but now we look forward to working together with Banks.”

COMMENT: No suprise over this decision, with only six letters of objection and the Halton Lea Gate decision, from last year, ringing in local peoples’ ears. The lack of opposition may well reflect a lack of faith in the impartiality of the present planning system and encourages a pragmatic approach to try and get the best deal possible which has the least impact on local people as the best option, as it is almost impossible to get an application rejected. Banks also has worked hard it seems at developing a more sophisticated approach to engaging with the community.


FIELD HOUSE, WEST RAINTON (c 4 miles NE of Durham) (Durham County Council / Sunderland City Council) (Pre Scoping Inquiry) (Hargreaves Services) (500,000) (52 hectares)

‘Extra public exhibitions by mining company outlining opencast proposals on Durham / Sunderland border’ (Northern Echo, 3/4/13) @

The Echo, reminding local people that to more exhibitions are just about to take place on the Hargreaves proposal for the Field House surface mine. They are at:
St Cuthberts Parish Hall, Sth. Street, East Rainton, 3/4/13 between 4-7pm and
Moorsely Village Centre, Moorsly Rd., Moorsly, 8/4/13 between 4-7pm
The Loose Anti Opencast Network also gets a mention!

‘Row over plans to open new opencast mine’ ( Sunderland Echo, 5/4/13) @

Local residents from East Rainton voice their objections to the Field House proposal as they attend the Public Exhibition held on 3/4/13.

Item 1‘Hundreds sign Durham anti opencast petition’ ( Northern Echo, 18/4/13) @

‘More than 800 people have signed a petition opposing any plans to opencast the Field Lane site. Lib Dem Cllrs Maureen and Carol Woods presented their petition to Durham County Council and to Hargreaves Services on the 17/4/13, prior to any application being submitted.

More information this site from Hargreaves Services Surface Mining Field House @

Public Consultation Leaflet on the Field House Proposal @

GREAT OAK, AUDLEY, STAFFORDSHIRE (Staffordshire County Council) (Scoping Inquiry) (UK Coal surface Mining) (450,000) (84 Hectares)

‘Fund -raiser to fight plans for an opencast mine’ (The Sentinel, 1/4/13) @

The event is the second of its kind. Organiser Chris Nelson said

"Opencast mines can completely devastate an area and it seems like a lot of destruction for a small bit of coal.

"I don't know why it is acceptable to go in and completely gut an area."

‘Events against Great Oak Opencast’ (Coal Action Network, 26/3/13) @

News that CAGOO are arranging two fund raising events:

6/4/13 A Family Acoustics Afternoon 1-5 pm The Broughy Arms, Nantwich Rd Audley (see above)

5/5/13 Evening of Respect and Remembrance, 7-10pm Photos, History, and Poetry from The Diglake Flood Disaster of Bignall End, Audley and District Community Centre, Nantwich Rd , Audley

‘Union backs battle on opencast plans’ (The Sentinel, 18/4/13) @

The NUM pledges to object to the GT Oak opencast application if and when UK coal submit one. Claire Hansbury, chair of CAGOO said:

".........The NUM view the Great Oak area as an exceptional circumstance case because they acknowledge and respect the bodies entombed within the site and like us, do not want them disturbed in any way.

"They view this as very insulting and harrowing for the families descended from the men and boys still down there, just as we do.

"So we would like to thank them and look forward to their objection response if UK Coal go ahead and pursue their formal application.....”

“....A spokesman for the NUM said: "The NUM has a neutral policy on opencasting and as a rule does not publicly oppose applications.
"The situation in respect of the UK Coal application to opencast the old Diglake Colliery site is significantly different given the events in 1895 and the fact that not all of the bodies were recovered.

"For that reason we will contact UK Coal and make them aware that the NUM has an objection to this application."

COMMENT: This support from the NUM could prove to be significant. It would be great if, at any future protest march against this application, if some NUM banners were visible in the parade.

To contact the Campaign Against Great Oak Opencast go to: or email CAGOO

There is also a web site ‘SAVE GREAT OAK’ under development. This is a link:

HAGUE FARM (?) off Hague Lane nr Renishaw, Derbyshire (no estimate of size)
UK Coal has put this site up for sale. The particulars indicate that they are seeking a partner to help ‘develop’ (work the site as a surface mine) within 5 years. Site particulars are available here @

HALTON LEA GATE (c 5 miles SW of Haltwhistle) (Northumberland County Council) (Judicial Inquiry) (HM Developments) (140,000) (75 acres)

Latest news ‘Village launches fighting fund’ (Whitehaven News / Hexham Courant , 27/3/13) @

To contrite to the cost of fighting this Judicial Review, please make cheques payable to

North Pennine Protection Group, Account no:01014587, Sort code: 40-23-06 and send to: 5 High Midgeholme, Brampton, Cumbria. CA8 7LT

To sign an e petition to the Government, started by a Halton-Lea –Gate resident, opposing similar applications, please sign the ‘STOP OPENCAST MINING NEAR RURAL COMMUNITIES petition

HILLTOP PROJECT (nr. Clay Cross, Derbyshire) (Derbyshire County Council) ( Scoping Inquiry) (Provectus Remediation) (130,000) (30 hectares)

Latest News: The Hilltop Action Group’s response to this last Provectus Newsletter can be read here:

‘New Year Update’ (Hilltop Action Group, January 2013) @

To keep in touch with the Hilltop Action Group, go to

HOODS CLOSE Whittonstall (Northumberland County Council) (Application) (UK Coal) (500,000) (208 hectares) (Ref No C/10/00255/CCMEIA)

UK Coal hopes to extract 2.2m tonnes of coal and 500,000 tonnes of fireclay over a seven year period. The Scoping Inquiry state began soon after August 2009 with an application following in 2010. This is still a live application.

‘UK Coal pledges to restore site’ (Hexham Courant, 10/4/13) @

Shotley Low Quarter Council is told by UK Coal that the Company pledges to restore the site even if it has to pull out earlier that the 7 year plan for working the site. Parish councillors also voice their concerns about traffic problems should planning permission for the site be granted.

‘Former Great British Pub Awards Winner continues fight against coal mine’ (Morning Advertiser, 17/4/13) @

Helen Geer from the Feathers Inn, Headley on the Hill, describes how the delay in deciding the planning application for the Hoods Close site is strengthening the oppositions case as more and more local businesses indicate how detrimental the effects will be on other businesses if planning permission is granted.

‘Whittonstall: Call for Talks On Opencast Scheme’ (Hexham Currant, 2/4/13) @

Shotley Low Quarter Council call for a new Public Meeting to discuss the merits and drawbacks of the Hoodsclose Application once new councillors have been elected to NCC, who may not then have any detailed knowledge of the Application, which they could be determining from June onwards.

You can find further information and make a make a comment here:

You can also contact the Whittonstall Action Group here:

MARLEY HILL COLLIERY RECLAMATION (Sunnyside, Gateshead (Co Durham also affected), (Application) (UK Coal) (c1.0m) (118 hectares) (Case Officer for Gateshead: Ian Armstrong, Case Officer for Co Durham, Clare Teasdale.

‘Road safety concerns over opencast plans’ (Northern Echo, 4/4/13) @

Stanley Town Council has raised concerns over heavy lorry movements associated with this proposed development. As part of the reclamation process associated with the development UK coal are asking for permission to import materials to the site
“The council’s clerk Russell Morgan said: “The planning application states there will be lorries carrying cement, blast furnace slag and pulverised fuel ash to the site for use in the reclamation scheme.
“Stanley Town Council comments that an inevitable increase on traffic overall will have an impact on road safety, pedestrians, vehicles and residents in general which must be given due consideration.””
In addition, note this comment
“ Alan Thompson, treasurer of the Tanfield Railway, said the visitor attraction was not opposed to the scheme.
He said: “They are coming as close as they are allowed to but our engine shed will remain intact and they are not going near the original track bed.
“Hopefully it will improve the view for people travelling on the train when it is landscaped.” “

COMMENT: Having spoken to Ian Armstrong, the Gateshead Case Officer, the item of news may be a bit misleading. The material mentioned in the article is the contaminated material on the site, which is going to be dug up, treated and reburied in a concrete silo on the site. It will never leave the site. However, this news has prompted LAON to become directly involved with this application. Some time ago, I read a paper from the Natural History Society of Northumbria (NHSN) on the locations where a rare beetle species COLEOPTERA was located. One of these was the Marley Hill Colliery. On the 5/4/13 I alerted both the Case Officer for Co Durham and NHSN about the existence of this species on the proposed site. This resulted in some correspondence between the parties, with NHSN asking for full details about the Application’s ecological report in the EIA. It seems that the NHSN will be concerned about this Application and will be considering lodging an objection if no mitigation measures are included in the restoration scheme to safeguard this beetle’s habitat. It will also be interesting to see if the EIA report mentions the existence of this rare Coleoptera beetle on the site.

A petition opposing this application has now been launched (c 20/3/13) by the local Liberal Democrat Councillors to oppose the Marley Hill application. You can sign the petition here:

MINORCA NORTH (Leicestershire, Leicestershire County Council, UK Coal, Amount of estimated coal reserves not published, Stage: Exploratory Drilling) (no estimate of size)

Last news 10/11/12

SCHOOLHOUSE LANE off A692 nr Marley Hill , Co Durham

It now seems that this site has been sold in February 2013. This is a 2,952 acre site with 6.8m tonnes of coal, opposite where the Bungalow is on Schoolhouse Lane. For more information see these particulars from the Fisher German website:
‘School House Lane, Marley Hill, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Durham, NE16’ @

SHORTWOOD FARM (Trowell, nr Nottingham, Nottinghamshire) (Application) (UK Coal) (1,275,000) ) (130 hectares)
UK Coal has applied to mine 1,275,000 tonnes of coal over a 5yr period on a Greenfield site.

‘Proposed Opencast’ (Bramcote Today, Trowell Residents Meeting 4/4/13
Shortwood Farm was one of a number of issues raised at this residents meeting. It gives an update on what is happening and the activities of SOCO.

To send a letter opposing this application, go to:

There is now a local group formed to oppose this application, the Shortwood Farm Opencast Opposition.(SOCO) It is contactable via
To find out more about the Application see:

NEW SHOTTON SOUTH WEST (near Cramlington, Northumberland) (Northumberland County Council) (Scoping Inquiry) (550,000 tonnes) (Banks Mining)


This will be the 2nd extension Banks have sought for this site. Originally planning permission was granted in 2007, after a Public Inquiry as Northumberland County council had rejected the original proposal, which had met local opposition. Approval was given for the extraction of 3.4m tonnes of coal, 2m tonnes of shale and 750,000 tonnes of fire clay on a 300 hectare site.. As part of the exchange, Banks promised to restore the site as green belt land within 8 years (by 2015). The promise of a land sculpture called ‘Northumberlandia’ in a new public park influenced this decision as the Enquiry found that the:

“.... scheme ‘would add to the local and regional economy’, does not conflict with ‘green belt’ development policy and ‘would enhance the landscape in the long term’.”

For information on the 1st approval see ‘Shotton Opencast coal proposals approved’ (AggNet, 5/12/2007) @

Banks then applied for its 1st extension to the site, which was approved in 2011. This gave permission to extract a further 2.0m tonnes of coal from within the confines of the original site over a 2 year period, extending the life of the site to 2016, with full restoration not expected to be completed now until 2018. For more information on this see ‘Life of Shotton Opencast Extended’ (The Journal, 13/1/11) @


‘Banks Mining wants to increase work at Shotton and Newcastle surface mines ‘ (Northern Echo, 18/4/13) @

Banks Mining have announced that they intend to seek planning permission to extract another 400,000 tonnes of coal from its Brenkley Lane site and another 550,000 tonnes of coal from its Shotton site. This will extend the coal extraction time at the Shotton site to 2017. As yet there is no information about when the site restoration will be completed, but 2018 looks likely, if there are no more extensions announced for this site, which will then have been worked for a total of 11 years.
COMMENT: If I recall correctly, this application met fierce local objections when it was first proposed. The Public Inquiry decision back in 2007 was a landmark decision for Northumberland’s Mineral Planning policy as it overturned their policy of not approving applications in ‘reserved areas’. In addition, this new application, when it comes, demonstrates that promises to fully restore sites within a certain time period, which influenced the granting of the original planning permission led to the original planning permission, are easily broken and should not be trusted.
For more recent news items on this application go the BRENKLEY LANE ADDITIONAL site news items above.

WELL HILL FARM, STANNINGTON (nr Morpeth) (Northumberland County Council) (Judicial Review?) (130,000) (Hargreaves Services)

NEW: WHITEMOSS LANDFILL, WESTERN EXTENSION (Skellmersdale, Lancashire) (Planning Inspectorate) (Scoping Inquiry) (Tonnage not yet known) (Whitemoss Landfill Ltd) (12.7hectares)

Whitemoss Landfill Ltd, a private family company, are applying for an extension to their existing landfill site to treat hazardous waste by applying for an extension to their existing site, so that they can continue to treat hazardous waste up to 2035. As they prepare each ‘cell’ in which to store the waste, they intend to excavate coal and associated clays and mudstones, some of which will be sold and the rest used to prepare the cells. This then is also an opencast site.

Initial details of what is being proposed, was made public on 24/4/13. As the proposer is claiming that this is a Major Infrastructure Project, they are applying to the Planning Inspectorate for it to consider whether the proposed development warrants this designation. This means that Whitemoss Landfill has to provide a web based facility through which consultees can lodge opinions about the proposals. The Planning Inspectorate also provides a facility through which progress with this application can be tracked.

The Whitemoss Landfill Ltd Western Extension web site:
National Infrastructure Planning: Website for the Whitemoss Landfill Western Extension:


English Derelict Sites

KEEKLE HEAD (Cumbria) Last news item on this unrestored site
‘Radioactive dump plan for West Cumbria rejected’ (BBC News Cumbria, 9/5/12) @

DENTON FELL (Ref no 1/89/0866) (Cumbria) An enforcement notice was issued in 1999. The unrestored site featured on BBC’s Countryfile programme broadcast on September 30th 2012.

(Thanks go to Jeremey Ackertill for forwarding this information)

English Unrestored Sites

PEGSWOOD MOOR (Northumberland County Council) (Banks)

This is the Saga of the Leaking Lake. On ceasing coaling at this site in 2004, Banks was to create a Country Park with a 12 acres lake suitable for boating and sailing. However by 2006 it was clear that the lake was leaking. In 2011 Banks started a public consultation exercise on their plans to now restore the site, without a lake using a landfill operation that would result in 40 to 80 lorries a day entering the site. Latest news:

‘Mining bid is given green light’ (Morpeth Herald, 4/4/13) @

Although this is mainly a story on the approval of the Ferneybeds application (see above) an attempt was made by Pegswood County and Parish Councillor David Woodard to make the prior restoration of Pegswood a condition, so that work on the new site could not start before the restoration of the Pegswood site was completed

“ The project was due to be finished seven years ago, but there were problems with a ‘leaking’ lake and there is still no resolution.

Councillors were advised that they could not attach a condition to the Ferneybeds plans as there is not a close enough link, but the committee called on Banks to resolve the Pegswood situation as soon as possible.

Chairman Trevor Thorne said: “The restoration of Pegswood Moor is causing members some frustration. Like Coun Woodard, I would like to see the completion of this scheme because it has been around a long, long time. I ask the central planning team to put pressure on the developer to get a final outcome.” “



‘Lorry protest after colliery landslide’ (Doncaster Free Press, 6/4/13) @

Extra HGV traffic caused by the inability to transport coal by rail from Hatfield Colliery because a movement of the colliery’s spoil heap has blocked the rail line between Doncaster and Scunthorpe is causing problems for Hatfield residents. They now want a special route to be used and restrictions on HGV movements between 8.00pm and 8.00am.


‘Judicial review bid over Sheffield opencast plan’ (Sheffield Star, 10/4/13) @

‘Residents prepare legal action over coal plant’(Sheffield Telegraph, 15/4/13) @

These two news items report that the Cowley Action Group have issued instructions for a Judicial Review to be undertaken into the decision by Sheffield Council to allow ReCycle Coal to extract coal and remediate the Helseywood Tip:
“A spokeswoman said: “The decision to take legal action is based upon the council’s failure to take full account of the impact of the development on air quality, as Sheffield is an Air Quality Action Zone.
“The council also refused to undertake a Health Impact Assessment, despite this being recommended by the director of public health.”


‘Landowner questions whether Longtown mine can go ahead’ (in Cumbria / Cumberland News, 12/4/13) @

A dispute seems to have arisen between landowner Buccleuch Estates, New Age Exploration and possibly Dart Energy over the exploitation of the Canonbie Coalfield and the viability of the Lochinvar coking coal development. Buccleuch Estates are landowners of part of the site New Age wants to mine. Buccleuch have an agreement with Dart Energy for them to exploit any methane gas reserves available in the coal seams below their land. Dart Energy already have a license from the Coal Authority for this development. Buccleuch argue that the gas extraction should be done prior to any coal mining by New Age. In addition Buccleuch have already indicated previously that they intend to develop an opencast mine for thermal coal elsewhere on the Canonbie coalfield.


On 30/4/13, the Financial Times published a news item which suggested that UK Coal Mine Holdings was to seek voluntary liquidation. If this happened, then it would probably postpone the gaining of planning permission for the following sites mentioned above:

Bradkley, Deanfield, Hoodsclose and Shortwood Farm.

In addition, UK Coal are currently working six sites, which are likely to be the more newsworthy because of the potential loss of jobs involved:

BUTTERWELL nr Morpeth, Northumberland (Planning Authority, Northumberland County Council)
HUNTINGTON LANE, nr Telford, Shropshire. (Planning Authority, Telford and Wrekin Council)
PARK WALL NORTH, nr Crook, Co Durham, (Planning Authority, Durham County Council)
POTLAND BURN, nr Ashington, Northumberland (Planning Authority, Northumberland County Council)
LODGE HOUSE, nr Ilkeston, Derbyshire (Planning Authority, Derbyshire County Council)
MINORCA, nr Measham, Leicestershire (Planning Authority, Leicestershire County Council)

Five of these sites do have a Restoration Bond as part of the planning permission. it is not known whether the restoration costs of the sixth site, Huntington Lane are covered by such a Bond.

In addition, four other sites are currently undergoing restoration.

CUTACRE, nr Bolton (Planning Authority Bolton Council

MAIDENS HILL, nr Morpeth, Northumberland (Planning Authority, Northumberland County Council)

STEADSBURN, nr Morpeth, Northumberland (Planning Authority, Northumberland County Council)

STOBSWOOD ,nr Morpeth, Northumberland (Planning Authority, Northumberland County Council)

The Northumberland sites do have Restoration Bonds. The situation at the Cutacre site is not known.


Unless otherwise stated, this has been researched and complied by Steve Leary

© Steve Leary


Steve Leary, LAON’S Co-ordinator, at

You can now follow LAON on twitter @


Action to Reduce and Recycle our Waste, Skelmersdale, Lancashire Campaign Against Great Oak Opencast, Staffordshire, Coal Action Network Cowley Residents Group, Sheffield , Hilltop Action Group, Derbyshire, Whittonstall Action Group, Northumberland
North Pennine Protection Group, Northumberland, Pont Valley Network, Co Durham, Pittington Residents Group Co Durham, Newton Lane Action Group, Leeds, Residents Against Birklands, Gatshead Skelmansthorpe Action Group, Kirklees Shortwood Farm Opencast Opposition, Nottinghamshire, West Hallum Environment Group, Derbyshire, Smalley Action Group, Derbyshire, Minorca Opencast Protest Group, Leicestershire, Stop Opencast at Sharlston, Wakefield and Alumwell Action Group. Walsall Just Say No to Lignite, N Ireland, Coal Action Scotland Saline Parish Hub, Fife Green Valleys Alliance, Rhymney Valley Merthyr Tydfil Anti Opencast Campaign, Merthyr Tydfil Llwdgoed Action, Merthyr Tydfil and Varteg Protest, Torfaen

Steve Leary
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