The Highthorn Call In Request: LAON’s Submission

Re: Highthorn Opencast Planning ref: 15/03410/CCMEIA

To the Rth Hon Gregory Clark MP Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 

An Addendum  COAL USE AND COAL STOCKS. was added on 23/7/16, It appears just before the appendix

This is a submission from the Loose Anti Opencast Network in support of those asking that the above planning application made to Northumberland County Council be called in and made subject to a Public Inquiry.

This submission contains what is believed to be new arguments in support of this proposal.

These new arguments, submitted by the Loose Anti Opencast Network challenge the idea that under the guidance set out in the NPPF, that this is a sustainable development.

These arguments are fourfold:

  • The initial definitions of sustainable development used in the introduction to the NPPF and The UK Sustainable Development Strategy Securing the Future document are not compatible with approving this development.

 

  • That this proposal is not an economically what pretty girls are made of sustainable development because there already exists in the UK more than  25m tonnes of  coal for which planning permission has been granted and which for one reason or another has not been developed, indicating that it is unlikely that the Highthorn development, if consented, will be completed by 2025. In addition, EDF pledge to take Highthorn’s coal is now less able to be kept, given an announcement made by EDF after the NCC decision.

 

  • That this proposal is not a socially sustainable development as burning the coal use from this site will prejudice the health of people and contribute to premature deaths both in the UK and elsewhere in the EU. It will damage health and well-being.

 

  • That this proposal is not environmentally sustainable. Sufficient evidence has been produced to cast doubt on whether this application meets this definition of being an environmentally sustainable development since the use of the coal is likely to damage the environment, it is not a prudent use of natural resources given the amount of coal for which planning permission already exists but is not being utilised and lastly, if approved, it will add to the risk of climate change.

For these reasons, the Loose Anti Opencast Network believes that sufficient doubt exists to call in this application, so that it can be subject to a Public Inquiry.

DISCUSSION OF THE INITIAL DEFINITION OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT USED IN THE NPPF.

The way ‘sustainable development’ is defined in the NPPF must mean that this phrase has the longest definition in the English Language, because as stated at paragraph 6 of the NPPF:

“The purpose of the planning system is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development. The policies in paragraphs 18 to 219, taken as a whole, constitute the Government’s view of what sustainable development in England means in practice for the planning system.”

 Four different definitions of “sustainable development” are defined in the NPPF document. The first, is in the preface by Greg Clark, then Minister for Planning who wrote in the preface that: 

“Sustainable means ensuring that better lives for ourselves don’t mean worse lives for future generations. 

Development means growth. We must accommodate the new ways by which we will earn our living in a competitive world. We must house a rising population, which is living longer and wants to make new choices. We must respond to the changes that new technologies offer us. Our lives, and the places in which we live them, can be better, but they will certainly be worse if things stagnate.

 Sustainable development is about change for the better, and not only in our built environment.”

 

In the Introduction to the NPPF, another paragraph gives further clarification on what is meant by this definition:

“International and national bodies have set out broad principles of sustainable development. Resolution 42/187 of the United Nations General Assembly defined sustainable development as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The UK Sustainable Development Strategy Securing the Future set out five ‘guiding principles’ of sustainable development: living within the planet’s environmental limits; ensuring a strong, healthy and just society; achieving a sustainable economy; promoting good governance; and using sound science responsibly ” (p2)

This document, first published in 2005, but reissued by the Coalition Government in 2011, had this to say about the consequences of Climate Change, partly induced by burning unabated coal: 

“What will climate change mean for the UK in the 21st century? Relative sea level will continue to rise around most of the UK’s shoreline. By the 2080s sea levels in the Thames Estuary may have risen by as much as 86 cm. (a) Winters will become wetter and summers may become drier everywhere. By the 2050s average soil moisture in the summer may be reduced by up to 30 per cent over large parts of England. By the 2080s this could be a loss of 40 per cent or more. (a) High summer temperatures will become more frequent and very cold winters will become increasingly rare.(a) A very hot summer, such as that experienced across Europe in 2003, may occur as often as one year in two in the 2040s, and could be considered a ‘cold’ summer by the end of the century. (b) Increased numbers of heat related deaths, cases of food poisoning and skin cancer and a higher risk of major disasters caused by severe winter gales and flooding. By 2050s, heat related deaths may increase by 2,000 cases per year, cases of food poisoning by perhaps 10,000 per year and skin cancer may increase by 5,000 cases per year. However, cold related winter deaths may reduce by perhaps 20,000 per year.(c) 

(a): Figures from: ‘Climate Change Scenarios for the United Kingdom: the UKCIP02 Briefing Report’, 2002, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia. Current values based on a 1961-1990 average, predicted values based on the High emissions scenario. Available from http://www.ukcip.org.uk b: Stott, P. A., Stone D. A., and Allen M. R., 2004, 

(b) ‘Human Contribution to the European heatwave of 2003’, Nature, volume 432, pages 610–614. 

(c): Figures from: ‘Health effects of Climate Change,’ 2001, produced for the Department of Health. Predicted case numbers based on the Medium-High emissions scenario.”

(p74) Securing The Future 2005, reissued in 2011 @ https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69412/pb10589-securing-the-future-050307.pdf

The same document then went on to say this about the importance of the role Carbon Dioxide plays in causing Climate Change;

“Why do we have targets for greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions? Our target under the Kyoto Protocol relates to the reduction in emissions of the six main greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (NO2), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). The UK Government also decided to set national goals for just one of these gases – carbon dioxide. This is because carbon dioxide is by far the most important of the six gases, and will be responsible for about two thirds of the expected future climate change. It is also one of the more difficult gases to control.

(p75) Securing The Future 2005, reissued in 2011 @ https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69412/pb10589-securing-the-future-050307.pdf

 

It would seem then, that this first definition of sustainable development implies that planning policies should be used to both minimise the risk of adding to the burden of the cost of treating health related illnesses and the risk of premature deaths from the consequences of making planning decisions that increase the risk of man-made climate change.  Related to this, since “Securing the Future” recognises that human induced Climate Change also increases health risks then planning decisions, it would seem, should err on the side of reducing this risk. In addition planning decisions should err on the side of reducing the financial cost of severe weather events that are a consequence of a change towards a warmer climate. Allowing new permissions for coal extractions when the known destination for the coal are plants which only burn unabated coal is to make a decision that errs on the side of increasing the risk of climate change, an unsustainable outcome based on this first definition as defined in the NPPF,

“Securing the Future” provides part of the evidence basis for the NPPF, it seems reasonable to examine the three operational ways that the NPPF then defines “sustainable development” to see if questions can also be raised about the suitability of this application. These are:

“ an economic role – contributing to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy, by ensuring that sufficient land of the right type is available in the right places and at the right time to support growth and innovation; and by identifying and coordinating development requirements, including the provision of infrastructure;

social role – supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by providing the supply of housing required to meet the needs of present and future generations; and by creating a high quality built environment, with accessible local services that reflect the community’s needs and support its health, social and cultural well-being; and

an environmental role – contributing to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment; and, as part of this, helping to improve biodiversity, use natural resources prudently, minimise waste and pollution, and mitigate and adapt to climate change including moving to a low carbon economy.”

(NPPF Paragraph 7)

LAON would submit that there is evidently a degree of tension between achieving the kind of sustainable development outlined in the preface of the NPPF document and the evidence that those statements are based on, and possible interpretations of these three operational definitions of “sustainable development” when it comes to assessing surface mine applications. This degree of tension itself becomes a reason for subjecting this application to the scrutiny of a Public Inquiry.

DISCUSSION OF THE ECONOMIC DEFINITION OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

In discussing the ‘economic’ definition of sustainable development stress is put on “coordinating development requirements,” Other critics of the decision by Northumberland County Council (NCC) to approve this application, the local MP Ann-Marie Trevelyan and the Shadow Energy and Climate Change Minister have drawn attention to the mismatch between the UK’s Energy and Climate Change goals of phasing out coal use by 2025, being incompatible with permitting a new surface mine which, even if it meets its own operational timetable, could remain operational after 2025, when demand for coal for power generation purposes in the UK, may be zero.

However, recent evidence suggests that granting planning permission for permission to extract coal is one thing, Developing a site and working the coal is quite another. There are a number of sites in the UK where either planning permission has been granted and the site has not been developed or since planning permission has been granted for the site, the site has ceased operating and the site has been mothballed. In addition there are sites in Scotland where recently the local authority was minded to approve the site subject to gaining a satisfactory Section 75 agreement (similar to the English section 106 agreement) but has subsequently withdrawn the application.

Appendix 1, “UK Coal Extraction Sites either Undeveloped, Mothballed or Aborted after Gaining Full or Partial Planning Permission” contains a list of such sites. The total tonnage of coal in the UK for which full or partial planning permission has been granted in recent years, but remains undeveloped, is believed to be 25,339, 412 tonnes. English sites in this position could provide a total of 4,841,561 tonnes, Scottish sites 19,945,000 tonnes and Wales at least 552,851 tonnes of coal.

This provides strong evidence that under present circumstances there is already a relatively huge backlog of coal sites awaiting development which is an unprecedented development in recent years. There is an evident risk that if Banks mining were to be granted planning permission, then the development of this site may be delayed. It should be noted that two sites owned by Banks Mining are on this list, Fernybeds in England which has been waiting to be developed since 2013 and the Rusha site in Scotland, which has been mothballed.

Delaying the development of sites with planning permission or mothballing sites is not without its economic cost, which is the opposite of contributing to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy, as locally the area suffers from planning blight prior to planning permission being granted and during the time the planning permission is valid. Delaying development or mothballing sites just adds insult to injury.

It should also be noted that EDF Energy wrote to NCC indicating their willingness to purchase coal from the Highthorn site. This assurance was based, it seems, on plans EDF had announced to upgrade two power stations in order to be eligible gain longer term three year contracts for supplying power through DECC’s auction process. However, three days after NCC reached its decision to grant permission for the Highthorn development, EDF announced that it was scrapping its upgrading programme for its two remaining coal fired power stations at Cottam and West Burton.

“EDF scraps planned coal plant upgrade over low power prices” (Daily Telegraph, 7/7/16) @ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/08/edf-scraps-planned-coal-plant-upgrade-over-low-power-prices/

This means that any promise to use Highthorn coal is subject to a great deal of doubt as these power stations will only be eligible to bid for one year rather than three year contracts, reducing the certainty that there will be a market for this coal and increasing the risk that this development as currently approved will increase the risk that this will be an uncoordinated development not in keeping with the UK’s energy needs . It also increases the risk that this development is not being made at the right time as it is the intention to phase out coal use from the UK Energy Mix by 2025

In conclusion, this evidence suggests that there is sufficient doubt over whether this proposal does meet the definition of being a development which fulfils.

 “ an economic role – contributing to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy, by ensuring that sufficient land of the right type is available in the right places and at the right time to support growth and innovation; and by identifying and coordinating development requirements, including the provision of infrastructure;”

This suggest that these observations are a valid reason for calling in this application.

DISCUSSION OF THE SOCIAL DEFINITION OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

This definition includes the following concepts: “supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities” and “support its health, social and cultural well-being”. Burning coal in unabated power stations and in power stations which still emit quantities of Nitrous Oxide and other pollutants is increasingly recognised as creating a pathological environment which increase the illness burden on the NHS and result in the increased risk of premature death as recognised by the “Securing the Future” document quoted earlier.

This evidence that burning coal can be a killer is hardly in keeping with the role of the NPPF to be to build “healthy communities” which contribute to “health…and well-being” 

The link between burning Coal, Air Quality and Premature Death is well known. A paper published by the House of Commons Library “Air Quality in the UK” outlines the history up to then of how this link was established after the Great London Smog in 1952, leading to the first Clean Air Act in 1954

“Air Quality in the UK” (Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, 2002)

The concern to improve Air Quality and lessen levels of pollution is ongoing. The recent House of Commons Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on Air Quality overall conclusion was that:

“Urgent Government action is needed to stop up to 50,000 people a year dying early from air pollution-related illnesses, says the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, in its report on Air quality.”

However

“Joining up government action

“Despite mounting evidence of the costly health and environmental impacts of air pollution, we see little evidence of a cohesive cross-government plan to tackle emissions. The Cabinet Office must establish clearly with all government departments their duty to consider air quality in developing policies. Furthermore, Ministers must tell the public more clearly how it is co-ordinating action since the work of the inter-ministerial Clean Growth Group is opaque; we recommend that the Cabinet Office report to Parliament before 21 July 2016 on the actions it plans over the coming year to join up effective action across government. (Paragraph 9)”

“Air Quality” (House of Commons, 2016, p 29) @ http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/defra-air-quality/

We would contend that approving the Highthorn application would be a demonstration of a lack of joined up government action to reduce Air Pollution and the risks associated with it.

This recent inquiry did not stress the role coal played in causing Air Pollution but it’s  Annex: Key air pollutants did identify the role played by Nitrogen oxides (NOx), Sulphur dioxide (SO₂) in producing Air Pollution, all produced by burning coal in current power stations.

The day after the Highthorn decision was made a major report on the role coal fired power generation plays on causing premature death in Europe was published “Europe’s Dark Cloud” (WWF European Policy Office, Sandbag, CAN Europe and HEAL, June 2016) @ http://www.caneurope.org/docman/position-papers-and-research/coal-2/2924-report-europe-s-dark-cloud-how-coal-burning-countries-are-making-their-neighbours-sick/file

This indicated that the UK was responsible for causing deaths in the UK and across Europe. Figure 4 indicates that in 2013 burning coal in the UK caused 1,520 deaths in the UK and 1,520 across Europe.

If these figures are true, it hardly means that approving this application, knowing that the only use for this coal is that it is going to be burnt in unabated power stations that still emit air pollutants will mean that this development fails the social definition of being a sustainable development:

social role – supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by providing the supply of housing required to meet the needs of present and future generations; and by creating a high quality built environment, with accessible local services that reflect the community’s needs and support its health, social and cultural well-being;

It does not do so since the use the coal will be put too will not contribute to creating healthy communities.

DISCUSSING THE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFINITION OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

“an environmental role – contributing to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment; and, as part of this, helping to improve biodiversity, use natural resources prudently, minimise waste and pollution, and mitigate and adapt to climate change including moving to a low carbon economy.”

It is not at all clear how the development of a surface mine will, in general, enhance our natural (national) environment. It may well be that Banks Mining proposal may eventually improve the local environment, but at the risk that the coal burned from this site will increase the risk of severe weather events caused by man-made climate change. Any benefit associated with this scheme has to be set against this risk. The Association of British Insurers estimated that the three winter storms that hit the UK in the winter of 2015 /16 has cost its members an estimated £1.3bn

“Flood Damage from the UK’s Winter Storms to cost Insurers $2 billion: ABI (Insurance Journal, 25/5/16) @ http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2016/05/25/409778.htm

In addition, closer to home, in Northumberland, these storms caused large amounts of damage with the local authority putting in a claim for £24m for the cost of dealing with flood damage, with a  neighbouring authority, Cumbria, also making a claim of £175m In all, English Local Authorities put in claims for £250m to repair flood damage.

“Northern councils hit with huge bill following winter storms and flooding” (ITV News, 25/3/16) @ http://www.itv.com/news/tyne-tees/2016-03-25/northern-councils-hit-with-huge-bill-following-winter-storms-and-flooding/

Other phrases used in this definition of this being an environmentally sustainable development have already been discussed above.  The discussion already undertaken which describes the amount of un-developed coal sites in the UK totalling over 25m tonnes of coal (Appendix 1) that have already had or have planning permission should be weighed in the balance when assessing whether it is a prudent use of natural resources to allow permission to be given to add a further 3m tonnes to this amount of coal extraction for which permission has been given in recent years.

Allowing this development, knowing where it is going to be burnt, will undoubtedly contribute to pollution.

Lastly this definition of sustainability has this phrase:

“and mitigate and adapt to climate change including moving to a low carbon economy.”

Allowing this development will breach this definition twice over – it will enhance rather than mitigate climate change – a risk recognised by the NPPF and will do nothing to help the UK move to a low carbon economy. Rather the opposite since allowing a new surface mine application will only increase the risk that new applications will both come forward and be approved at Dewley Hill (Newcastle) and the Hilltop Project (Derbyshire)

In conclusion to this section, sufficient evidence has been produced to cast doubt on whether this application meets this definition of being an environmentally sustainable development since the use of the coal is likely to damage the environment, it is not a prudent use of natural resources given the amount of coal for which planning permission already exists but is not being utilised and lastly, if approved, it will add to the risk of climate change.

ADDENDUM: COAL USE AND COAL STOCKS. Added on 23/7/16

In support of LAON’s claim that it is not prudent to allow another 3m tonnes of Coal to be added to the 25,319, 412m tonnes already identified as being ‘shovel ready’ or nearly ‘shovel ready’ in Appendix 1, two further items of information can now be added to reinforce this part of our argument.

Firstly recently produced statistics about the composition of the UK Energy Mix for the 1st six months of 2016 revealed that the total amount of coal used for power generation purposes in 2016 was 10.1m tonnes. Annualised, this is equal to 20.2m tonnes

( see + ET2.1 Solid Fuel and Derived Gases + ET2.6 Coal Consumption and Coal Stocks, DECC June 30th  @

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/solid-fuels-and-derived-gases-section-2-energy-trends)

Secondly, ET2.6 reveals that coal stocks, at power stations, stood at 9.3m tonnes on the 30th June.

Therefore the amount of coal that could be claimed to be in-hand prior to agreeing to exploit Highthorn’s coal, was 25,319, 412 + 9,300,000, a total of 34, 619, 412m tonnes. This is equal to one and a half years coal need based on the 20.2m tonnes coal consumption figure mentioned earlier.

Given the uncertainty about renewing contracts for coal fired power stations and the knowledge already know about increasing the UK’s Renewable Energy capacity over the next few years, this reduces the importance that should be attached to the Highthorn Coal reserve.

APPENDIX 1

UK COAL EXTRACTION SITES EITHER UNDEVELOPED, MOTHBALLED OR ABORTED AFTER GAINING FULL OR PARTIAL PLANNING PERMISSION

The total tonnage of coal in the UK for which full or partial planning permission has been granted in recent years, but remains undeveloped, is believed to be 25,339, 412 tonnes. English sites in this position could provide a total of 4,841,561 tonnes, Scottish sites 19,945,000 tonnes and Wales at least 552,851 tonnes.

Below is a list of those sites which have the following status:

Gained full or partial planning permission but remain undeveloped

Gained full or partial planning permission, but the application has been withdrawn.

Gained full planning permission but is now mothballed

IN ENGLAND

  • BRADLEY (Durham County Council) (520,561 tonnes) (Ref 1/2007/1049) (Case Officer: Claire Teasdale) (Juniper 3) (in administration)) (3/6/2015) (Surface Mine) Current Status of the Planning Permission: No work has been undertaken to meet pre development conditions as all as at 14/3/15)

Other References

‘Bradley, County Durham opencast scheme approved by Inspector’ (No Opencast / LAON, 14/6/15) @ http://noopencastnetwork.org.uk/england/bradley-county-durham-opencast-scheme-approved-by-inspector/

‘Coal, ‘a mineral of national importance’ could mean more opencasting’ (Northern Echo, 10/6/15) @ http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/13324457.Coal_____a_mineral_of_national_importance____could_mean_more_opencasting/

‘Mining planning policy criticised’ (Minerals and Planning, 16/6/15) @ http://www.mineralandwasteplanning.co.uk/mining-planning-policy-criticised/energy-minerals/article/1351669

  • FERNYBEDS (Northumberland County Council) (752,000 tonnes) (Surface Mine) (Case Officer Jo Nugent) Banks Mining) (9/4/2013) (Current Status of the Planning Permission as at 14/3/16: Still to fulfil all pre development conditions)

 

Other Reference

‘Northumberland approved Banks’ surface mine plan’ (Mineral Planning, 9/4/13) @ http://www.mineralandwasteplanning.co.uk/northumberland-approved-banks-surface-mine-plan/energy-minerals/article/1177795

  • FIELDHOUSE FARM (Durham County Council) (514,000 tonnes) (Surface Mine) (CMA/4/107)   (Case Officer: Claire Teasdale (Hargreaves Services) (Date permission granted 6/1/16) (Current Status of the Planning Permission: No work has been undertaken to meet pre development conditions as all as at 14/3/15)

Other reference

‘Opencast scheme for near Durham approved on appeal’ (Durham Advertiser, 7/1/16) @ http://www.durhamadvertiser.co.uk/news/14189028.display/

  • GEORGE FARM  (Derbyshire County Council) (Planning Reference No   CM6/1110/112) ( Case Officer Vicky Webb) (375,000 tonnes) (Surface Mine)  (LEM Resources Ltd) ( Status of the Planning Permission :Derbyshire County Council members approved the application on 3/12/12 subject to their being a satisfactory Section 106 agreement, which has not yet been reached as at 14/3/16)

Other Reference

‘Opencast coal extraction allowed at Lodge Farm, Derbyshire’ (Mineral Planning, 6/1/13) @ http://www.mineralandwasteplanning.co.uk/opencast-coal-extraction-allowed-lodge-farm-derbyshire/energy-minerals/article/1165631

  • HELSLEY WOOD (Sheffield) (Planning Reference No 12/019/46/ful) (No Case Officer) (c400,000 tonnes) (Coal Reclamation)  (RecyCoal) (Date Permission Granted 18/2/13) (Coal Recovery) (Current Status of the Planning Permission: Lapsed)

‘Sheffield woodland recycled coal scheme scrapped’ (Sheffield Telegraph, 17/9/2015) @ http://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/news/business/sheffield-woodland-recycled-coal-scheme-scrapped-1-7465108

  • ROSSINGTON (Doncaster) (c1m tonnes) (Coal Recovery) (RecyCoal) (Coal Recovery) Approval had been given for this project and work had commenced by 2012. However In September 2015 work was suspended at the site.

Other References

‘Coal Recovery’ (Harworth Estates, undated) @ http://harworthestates.co.uk/sector/natural-resources/coal-recovery/

‘Over 100 people to lose jobs as coal recovery suspended’ (Doncaster Free Press, 17/9/2015) @ https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=recycoal

  • SHORTWOOD FARM  (Nottinghamshire County Council) (1,280,000)  (Planning Reference: 5/13/00590/CCM) (Case Officer Johnathan Smith) (UKCSMR) (Finally 11/6/15) (Current status of the Planning Permission: No work has been undertaken to meet pre development conditions as all as at 14/3/16)

Other References:

‘Nottinghamshire opencast mine given final consent’ (BBC News, 12/6/15) @ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-33112199

‘Resident driven to tears after opencast mine in Trowell is approved’ (Nottingham Post, 11/12/14) @ http://www.nottinghampost.com/Driven-tears-OK-metres-home/story-20306146-detail/story.html

IN SCOTLAND

  • CAULDHALL (Midlothian Council) (10,000,000) (Surface Mine) (13/00105/DP) (Case Officer Adam Thompson) (Hargreaves Services) (19/11/13) (Surface Mine) (Current Status of the Planning Permission. Minded to Approve)

Other References

‘Opencast mine near Penicuik given go-ahead’ (Scotsman, 20/11/13) @ http://www.scotsman.com/news/opencast-mine-near-penicuik-given-go-ahead-1-3194913

‘10Mt surface mine proposal approved subject to legal agreement’ (Minerals and Planning, 19/1/14) @ http://www.mineralandwasteplanning.co.uk/10mt-surface-mine-proposal-approved-subject-legal-agreement/energy-minerals/article/1225163

‘Midlothian Matters – It’s time to move on from coal’ (Midlothian Advertiser, 6/3/16) @ http://www.midlothianadvertiser.co.uk/news/local-news/midlothian-matters-it-s-time-to-move-on-from-coal-1-4040614

  • GLEN TAGGERT EAST (Sth. Lanarkshire) (4,000,000) (Surface Mine) (Planning Reference No CL/10/X0521/NEW) (Case Officer James Wright) (was Scottish Coal, now Hargreaves Services) (Date Permission Granted c January 2012) (Current status of the Planning Application: Hargreaves Services are in the process (14/3/16) of seeking a variation to two planning conditions. If they succeed in gaining approval, it will extend the time the planning permission is valid by 3 years)

Other references

Glen Taggart Planning Application Documents @ http://pbsportal.southlanarkshire.gov.uk/Northgate/PlanningExplorer/Generic/StdResults.aspx?PT=Planning%20Applications%20On-Line&SC=Application%20Number%20contains%20CL/10/X0521/NEW&FT=Planning%20Application%20Search%20Results&XMLSIDE=/Northgate/PlanningExplorer/SiteFiles/Skins/SouthLanarkshire/Menus/PL.xml&XSLTemplate=/Northgate/PlanningExplorer/SiteFiles/Skins/SouthLanarkshire/xslt/PL/PLResults.xslt&PS=10&XMLLoc=/Northgate/PlanningExplorer/generic/XMLtemp/bg1wvufcpt5ebb2vg1uq20qt/de293026-ab9e-4c50-94f9-0a5408ee306a.xml

‘Glen Taggert East, what next’ (Coal Action Scotland, 3/1/2012) @ http://coalactionscotland.org.uk/index.html%3Fp=2876.html

“Phantom’ mine under fire” (Carluke Gazette, 2/3/16) (not on the web)

  • GREENBURN (Carsgailoch Hill Extension) (East Ayrshire) (Kier Mining, 4.0m tonnes.(Surface Mine) Minded to consent permission given in 2012 but awaiting a (Scottish) section 75 agreement. No development has taken place by June 2016. On the 15/6/16, according to information received from the Scottish Opencast Communities Alliance, Kier mining had withdrawn their application

Reference

Kier Construction gains approval for coal extraction at Greenburn mine” (Mineral Planning, 29/12/2012) @ http://www.mineralandwasteplanning.co.uk/kier-construction-gains-approval-coal-extraction-greenburn-mine/energy-minerals/article/1152612

  • GREENHILL (Falkirk) (Charmount Minerals) (191,000 tonnes) (Surface Mine) This site has had planning permissions since 2005. In 2014 it was decided to try and consolidate the various permissions into one planning document. No more information on the progress of this application is known.

References

“Calculation of Restoration Bond for Wester Greenhill Opencast Site” (Public Contracts Scotland, 20/11/14 @ http://www.publiccontractsscotland.gov.uk/Search/show/Search_View.aspx?ID=NOV192703

Scroll down at “THE REAL COST OF COAL PROVIDING THE UK WITH ENERGY SECURITY IS £469m….. AND THE COST IS RISING” (Indymedia, 30/1/2015) @ https://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2015/01/519382.html

  • RIGG NORTH (Dumfries and Galloway) (Hargreaves Services) (954,000 tonnes) ( Surface Mine) Original approval for extracting coal was gained by ATH Resources, prior to them going bankrupt, subject to a Section 75 agreement. In 2013 Hargreaves Services bought the site, but in 2016 they withdrew their application

References

“Permission granted for a Surface Coal Mine Site in Scotland” (SLR 23/11/2012) @  http://slrconsulting.com/news/2012/permission-granted-for-surface-coal-mine-in-scotland-1

“Rigg North Opencast Application Withdrawn” (No Opencast, 13/6/16) @ http://noopencastnetwork.org.uk/blog/rigg-north-opencast-application-withdrawn/

  • RUSHA (West Lothian) (1,200mtns) (Surface Mine) (Banks Mining) (Mothballed) This site began coal extraction in 2012, In May 2016, Banks Mining announced that the site was to be mothballed. No figures given of the size of the remaining coal reserve.

Reference;

“Rusha Mine suspension concerns politicians as workers sweat over their jobs at West Calder site” (Daily Record, 20/5/2016) @ http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/rusha-mine-suspension-concerns-politicians-8006553#mzQjI3hdYEL4jWpU.97

  • WELLSGREEN (Fife) (Halls Construction) (c 800,000tns) (Surface Mine) Minded to consent approval given in 2012, but as yet no agreement has been reached and no development has been undertaken. No more information on the progress of this application is known.

Reference:

“Opencast plans transported a stage further” (Fife Today, 11/10/12) @ http://www.fifetoday.co.uk/news/local-headlines/opencast-plans-transported-a-stage-further-1-2566276

IN WALES

  • NANT HELEN EXTENSION ( Neath Port Talbot) (Celtic Energy) (Surface Mine) (Mothballed)

The original coal reserve when permission for the extension was granted was estimated to be 3m tonnes. On 22/06/16 it was announced that the site was to be mothballed. It is not known what the remaining reserves are.

References:

“Operations – Nant Helen Extension” (Celtic Energy, undated) @ http://www.coal.com/operations/operations-nant-helen-extension/

“Jobs under threat in Nant Helen mine mothball plan” (BBC News, 22/6/16) @ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-mid-wales-36599294

  • SELAR (Neath Port Talbot) (Surface Mine) (Celtic Energy) (Mothballed) (A combined site, Selar North and Selar Central) (The combined original tonnage was 2,000,000. By December 2015 1,447,149 tonnes had been extracted leaving 552,851). (Planning Reference P/2013/720 for Selar Central) (Case Officer Alan Rees) (Date Permission Granted 3/12/13) (Current status: Celtic Energy have announced plans to mothball the site for 3 years from April 2016, leaving c 370,000 tonnes of coal still to be recovered.

‘Celtic Energy confirms it is mothballing its Selar opencast mine’ (Wales on Line, 18/10/2015) @ http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-news/celtic-energy-confirms-mothballing-selar-10282261