Our petition was successfully delivered to Leicestershire County Hall yesterday after Phil Owen and Bob Walsh completed their 15 mile trek from Swepstone.
On the way they were interviewed by Judy Mayer from BBC Radio Leicester and filmed by ITV Central News along the way and at County Hall, where the Chairperson of the County’s Development Control and Regulatory Board was on the steps to receive the Petition. In addition Judy also interviewed Steve Leary along the way. Later, after the meeting, Phil Owen and Steve Leary were invited into BBC Radio Leicester for a pre recorded interview with Martin Ballard on the outcome of the meeting which was broadcast between 5.00 and 6.00pm.
The 502 signatures to the petition, which was asking for a decision to be made on the Minorca Opencast Mine application failed in its main purpose of persuading the Development Control and Regulatory Board to determine the application at its next meeting on July 15th
The Chairperson of Leicestershire’s Development Control and Regulatory Board, Cllr D Jennings, said this in response to the petition
“Thank you for submitting the petition requesting that Leicestershire County Council’s Development Control and Regulatory Board determine the planning application made by UK Coal for a new surface mine at the Minorca site at its meeting to be held on 15th July.
UK Coal was asked for further supporting information late last year and I understand your concerns regarding the length of time taken by UK Coal to respond to this request. UK Coal has advised that the delay has arisen due to the technical nature of the information sought, and given the sensitivity of the adjacent River Mease Special Area of Conservation (SAC), it is important that this information is available prior to any decision being made. In particular, the County Council require this information in order to complete an Appropriate Assessment to comply with the Habitats Regulations.
Officers have informed me that the information requested is expected to be submitted by the end of June and further consultation with the Environment Agency and Natural England on this information will be required before a final report can be prepared by officers. Consequently it is expected that the application would be determined at the August or September Board at the latest.
However, I do sympathise with your concern about allowing UK Coal an indefinite period to provide the additional information and I will take officer advice on giving UK Coal a deadline to submit it.”
As a consequence, the provisional date for determining this application has now been put back for a seventh time to August 19th at the earliest.
Steve Leary, the Minorca Opencast Protest Group’s Spokesperson said
“The outcome is somewhat disappointing in that we have to wait at least another month or maybe two months before we know what the outcome of this long drawn out planning application is. However a definite marker has now been put down, that if UK Coal do not provide further information to support their planning application, that Leicestershire County Council will make a decision on this by September 16th at the latest.
The hard efforts of all those who gathered the 502 signatures and especially the way in which the petition was delivered to County Hall has been of real benefit to the campaign which has gained over 60 new members, been a regional media story and made County Hall aware that many more local people, other than those living close to the proposed mine, now think we have a justified grievance over the length of time it is taking to determine this application.”
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