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The Bradley Opencast Decision : the 1,600,000 CO2 Question

Steve Leary | 26.09.2014 12:00 | Climate Chaos | Energy Crisis | Social Struggles | London | Oxford

After the recent marches against Climate Change comes the start of a Public Inquiry into whether UK Coal should be allowed to dig up 500,000+ tonnes of coal which will be burnt to produce c 1,600,000 tonnes of CO2. This press release explains why the Inspector should take account of this when judging whether to grant the Appeal.


LAON PR 5-2014 26/9/14


On October 7th, the latest stage in the long running battle over whether UK Coal should or should not be allowed to dig out over 500,000 tonnes of coal on the Bradley site near Leadgate in Co Durham starts. This will be the second Public Inquiry appealing against a decision made by Durham County Council to refuse planning permission.

This is a very topical issue. In the week following worldwide marches, where ordinary people expressed their concern about the threat of climate change and urged Governments across the world to take action to prevent climate change, the Loose Anti Opencast Network (LAON) has published their objections to Bradley opencast mine proposals, one of which highlights how giving approval for this mine to go ahead will increase the risk of climate change.

LAON argues that planning policy lays down a general concern to prevent climate change when any decision making body considers granting planning approvals. The fact that mining this coal and then using it in coal fired power stations to create over 1,600,000 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide and contribute to global warming, should be a negative factor when assessing the merits of the appeal. LAON argues

“ ...Under such circumstance, our responsibility is to ensure that this coal is not used in such a way that contributes to global warming and set an example to other countries to do the same. Those countries must take their own blame, if they then allow the same amount of coal to be mined and burnt in our power stations. We will have stopped this additional CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.”

Global warming also has another effect LAON points out. In England we are currently spending nearly £800m annually on climate mitigation measures to prevent flooding caused by the expected rise in temperature levels:

“.. It is therefore ironic,” LAON says in its objection, “....that Durham County Council will have the responsibility of regulating this site if the Appeal is upheld. Ironic because at the same time Durham County Council, a costal county which could experience another tidal surge, like all UK local authorities, is employing staff at public expense, to ensure that the consequences of burning coal in this way and releasing millions of tonnes of CO2, is minimised through measures to mitigate the effects of climate change caused by increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. A true assessment of the economic benefit of this proposal should include an assessment of the part of the costs borne by National and Local Governments in the UK, in trying to counter act the consequences of climate change caused by burning coal in an unabated way....”

A full copy of LAON’s objections and a summary of LAON’s objections can be downloaded from this page on the Pont Valley Network site @

LAON will be asking the Inspector at the Public Inquiry to take account of this evidence that the exploitation of this coal reserve will contribute to climate change. This in turn will trigger public expenditure costs to mitigate the effects that climate change has on local populations and this should be considered as a negative point when making a judgement on the Appeal.

Steve Leary, who has written the objections and will an expert witness for the Pont Valley Network said

“The Pont Valley Network was a founder member of LAON and therefore it’s a privilege to be asked to speak on behalf of the local residents, who have been for so long opposing this application. By working together we believe we have used the new National Planning Policy Framework to developed new ways by which to oppose surface mine applications. It will, of course, be up to the Inspector to decide if our objections carry any weight.”



This is the first of a number of press releases LAON will be issuing in the lead up to the Public Inquiry which will explain different parts of LAON’s set of objections.


The Pont Valley Network is group of diverse individuals with varied experiences and backgrounds. We understand that as people we don’t always communicate with each other that well. We might disagree or agree with each other for many reasons but we share one thing in common:

We all live or have lived and care for Pont Burn Valley. We recognise its unique heritage and natural beauty and are prepared to work hard to preserve it.

This is a link to their website @

The contact person for the Pont Valley Network is David Marrs @


The Loose Anti-Opencast Network (LAON) has been in existence since 2009. It is a UK and Northern Ireland wide network of 30 local community groups opposed to local opencast mine proposals / operations. It functions as a medium through which to oppose open cast mine applications and works with groups where local people feel that such a development is inappropriate.


Steve Leary, LAON’s Spokesperson, at

You can now follow LAON on twitter @


Coal Action Network 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, GatEshead Cowley Residents Group, Sheffield , Skelmansthorpe Action Group, Kirklees Shortwood Farm Opencast Opposition, Nottinghamshire, West Hallum Environment Group, Derbyshire, Smalley Action Group, Derbyshire, Hilltop Action Group, Derbyshire, , Minorca Opencast Protest Group, Leicestershire, Campaign Against Great Oak Opencast, Staffordshire, Stop Opencast at Sharlston, Wakefield and Alumwell Action Group. Walsall Just Say No to Lignite, N Ireland, Coal Action Scotland Mining and Environment Group, East Ayrshire Saline Parish Hub, Fife Stop Cauldhall Opencast, Midlothian Green Valleys Alliance, Rhymney Valley Residents Against Ffos-y-Fran, Merthyr Tydfil Merthyr Tydfil Anti Opencast Campaign, Merthyr Tydfil Llwdgoed Action, Merthyr Tydfil Varteg Protest, Torfaen United Valleys Action Group, Rhymney Valley and Wales Against Opencast Group.

Steve Leary
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