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Close to a potential opencast coal site? (Steve Leary) | 17.01.2011 11:28

A by product of the work done to suggest that 553m metric tonnes of Carbon Dioxide from escaping into the atmosphere is the revelation that most of this coal lies so close to where people live. read more here.

How close are you to a potential opencast coal site?

A report published today by the Minorca Opencast Protest Group, which explores the extent to which Carbon Dioxide would be prevent from escaping into the atmosphere if Andrew Bridgen’s 500m Buffer Zone Bill is passed, contains information which may startle many people.

The report, based on published figures includes the following,  that of the estimated 516m tonnes of English coal reserves that could be mined by opencast methods, between 250,000m and 500,000m tonnes may be made inaccessible if this legislation is passed. This amounts to making inaccessible between 48%  and 97% of known surface mine coal reserves. The report goes on to state that

“However, this bald statistic of between 48% and 97% of potentially surface mineable coal being inaccessible if this legislation is passed shows how close most of this coal is to where people live.”

Said Steve Leary, the author of the report

Slowly a picture is emerging of how important this proposed legislation is too many unsuspecting people. We have already published information about the known current and potential opencast mine sites in England in our English Opencast Coal Sites 2009 -2010 documents. Now, as by product of trying to establish how this legislation could affect Climate Change we have come across this significant evidence.

It is startling to think that up to 97% of known reserves of coal in England amenable to opencast mining lies within areas / sites that are as close, or possibly even closer, than 500m from where people live. Without the protection of the proposed Buffer Zone, a benefit which our fellow citizens in Wales and Scotland already enjoy, more and more communities across the Midlands and Northern England may find themselves confronted by an opencast mining application if this legislation fails to become Law.

Thousands of people across England lives could be affected if this fails to become Law. They, like the communities close to the following proposed sites,  Bradley in Co Durham, Minorca in Leicestershire, Lodge House Extension in Derbyshire, Hoodsclose Halton Lea Gate and Ferneybeds in Northumberland and Shortwood Farm in Nottinghamshire, who are currently opposing new opencast applications. They are opposing these applications because they do not want to face the disruption, loss of amenity and risks associated with exposure to noise and especially dust associated with such developments.

Information like this on how close people across England live to these sites shows that this is not just a local problem, it is a national problem which needs a national and not a local solution.”

The Briefing Note ” Climate Change and the 500m Buffer Zone” is the fifth in a series on the 500m Buffer Zone Bill produced by the Minorca Opencast Protest Group, who are fighting a current application for an opencast mine near the village of Measham in Leicestershire. This and the others in the series are free to download from the Measham Village web site at:

Andrew Bridgen’s Bill, the Planning (Opencast Mining Separations Zone) Bill, is due for its second reading on February 11th.  UK Coal’s Minorca Surface Mine Application is now before Leicestershire County Council, but no date has yet been set for a decision on this Application.

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