NCC, Storm Desmond and the Highthorn Opencast Mine

On the 15th December 2015, this story appeared in The Newcastle Chronicle ‘Council leader says flood-hit Northumberland left ‘out on a limb’ by Chancellor’ @ A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

In it the Leader of Northumberland County Council (NCC) highlights that so far Storm Desmond has cost the local authority at least £500,000. The story went on to explain that NCC is writing to the Government to recover these costs.

NCC also has to decide on whether to grant planning permission for a new opencast mine at the Highthorn site. As a consequence of this I posted these comments to the news item:

“ Cllr Grant Davey, it’s now been admitted that human induced climate change was partly responsible for Storm Desmond which has cost Northumberland County council at least £500,000. One of the major causes of human induced climate change, which causes so much damage, is burning coal for power generation.

Northumberland County Council has in front of it an application to mine 3m tonnes of coal for just this purpose at the Highthorn site at Druridge Bay. It has to do this in the context of a now outdated planning system which only asks NCC to take account of the immediate and short term environmental impacts of working this site, not the wider, longer term consequences, of burning the coal and raising the risks of causing more storms such as Desmond and increasing the costs falling on NCC as a consequence of climate change.

Cllr Davey, it’s now time to be bold.  For the reasons you have stated on the costs falling on the taxpayer, be they living in Northumberland or elsewhere in the UK caused by burning coal, NCC should reject this application because of its wider environmental impact.

In addition, if NCC is seeking compensation payments from the Government, it should also ask the Government to review the now outdated, since the Paris Agreement was signed last weekend following the UN Paris COPT21 meeting, set of planning rules, the National Planning Policy Framework, so that they do recognise the wider environmental and climatic effects caused by burning coal. As the UK is a signature to this agreement, Cllr Davey and the NCC should find that they are pushing at an open door.

Steve Leary for The Loose Anti Opencast Network.”