The government has delayed a decision on whether to allow a new open pit coal mine near Druridge Bay in Northumberland, but have not confirmed the reason why.

Northumberland Council granted The Banks Group permission in 2016 to build its Highthorn surface mine, which was expected to extract 3 million tonnes of coal near Druridge Bay.

However, opposition from the local community and environmentalist groups led the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, to call for a public enquiry in September 2016. Opposition to the development said the mine would destroy Druridge Bay, an area of natural beauty, and that it would be a u-turn of the government’s international pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris climate agreement.

Those who support the development of the mine argue that The Banks Group has promised not to conduct any mining activity within 500 metres of the beach and so will not affect the natural beauty of the north east coastline. They also say that the mine would create about 100 jobs and generate almost £50 million in related contracts and other benefits to the community.

The government was due to give its decision on whether permission would be granted or not by 5 March 2018, but they now say that more time is required. A petition with 86,000 signatures opposing the production of a second mine planned for a site at ‘Bradley’ in Dipton near Consett may have given the government some food for thought.

The Banks Group expressed its disappointment over the news. “We now have no indication as to when the Secretary of State is going to decide whether we are to be allowed to proceed.”


Jordans Solicitors has a department working with ex coal miners looking into their Vibration White Finger claims as it has come to light that many miners missed out on £1000’s. If you’re an ex miner and think you may have a claim, contact a member of our VWF team free on 03303 001103.

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