Skip to content or view screen version

The Financial Risks and the Bradley Public Inquiry

Steve Leary | 03.10.2014 16:15 | Climate Chaos | Energy Crisis | Social Struggles | London | Oxford

People living around the Bradley site fear that if planning approval is given for mining the 550,000 tonnes of coal on the site is that all they will be left with is a big waterfilled hole. This press release gives reasons why this fear exists


LAON PR 9-2014 3/10/14


One of the great concerns of those opposing the attempt by UK Coal to mine the Bradley site in Co Durham, is whether the site will be restored once the coal has been mined. This fear has been prompted by a number of reasons.

The Scottish Restoration Crisis mention in the Loose Anti Opencast Network’s (LAON) set of objections, refers to what has happened in Scotland, where last year, when the price of coal fell to £55 per tonne, two Scottish Coal producers went bust, leaving 34 un-restored sites which may cost the taxpayer £200m to put right. Now the price of coal has fallen further, to £47 per tonne. Local people do not want to see a repeat of the same thing happening at Bradley.

Their fears are heightened, because of the financial state of the Company seeking planning permission. UK Coal Production does not own the land it only owns the mineral rights. The Company, otherwise known as Juniper (no 3) Ltd, is in liquidation, following the collapse of the old UK Coal company last year. This situation is hardly reassuring.

In addition, evidence to be put before the Public Inquiry which starts in the Leadgate Working Men’s Club in Leadgate on October 7th by the Loose Anti Opencast Network (LAON), suggests that by the end of the coal extraction period, the UK as a whole will be producing more coal than it needs for power generation purposes as the more polluting, old, coal fired power stations close. As a consequence it will become ever more difficult for UK Coal to gain planning permission for new opencast sites. This LAON argues is likely to create new financial problems for UK Coal / Juniper (no 3 ltd) as the income stream it needs to finance the expensive task of completing site restoration dries up.

“Whichever way you look at it, this proposal to mine the coal at the Bradley site looks to be a risky proposition” said Steve Leary LAON’s spokesperson, who will be presenting LAON’s evidence at the Public Inquiry.

“When UK Coal first applied for planning permission for this coal things were looking very different. The world price for coal was rising, driven by an apparent insatiable demand for coal from China. Now a few years later, things look very different. China itself faces over production problems, as well as the country making determined efforts to rapidly switch to renewable energy resources to cure its pollution problems. As a consequence world coal prices have fallen to a five year low. In response, UK Generators, are offering shorter and shorter contracts to domestic coal producers for their coal, keeping down UK coal prices, as they can easily import cheaper coal.

Given this background, local people are right to fear that if UK Coal win their case, the real legacy they will be left with will be a big, water filled hole in the ground, where there was once an opencast mine.”


This is the fifth 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. Previous press releases on this topic can be sent if requested. The Public Inquiry begins on Tuesday 7th October in Leadgate Working Men’s Club. Leadgate, Co. Durham


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 Carole Rooke @


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
- e-mail: