Save Dewley Hill from a coal mine

Would you like to help stop plans to create an opencast coal mine on the edge of Newcastle?

Just copy and paste the following planning objection, including your name and address and, ideally, any additional comments you’d like to make, and send it to Newcastle council at dewleyhill@newcastle.gov.uk  Thank you!

Dear David Grimshaw,
Re: PLANNING APPLICATION NO 2019/0300/01/DET - Objection

I am writing to object to the proposed open cast coal mine at Dewley Hill. I strongly object on the following grounds:

1. Climate change
With the IPCC warning that urgent and unprecedented changes are needed within the next 12 years to prevent catastrophic temperature rises, the extraction of any new coal should be regarded as environmentally unacceptable. For, in licensing this additional extraction, we act to push ourselves perilously closer to disaster.
The precarity of our situation has been recognised by Newcastle City Council who recently declared a climate emergency. We ask them to honour their commitments and reject this application. On the basis that the plans contravene national and local policy (Paragraphs 148 and 149, Chapter 14 of the NPPF, and CS16), planning permission should be refused.

2. Biodiversity
Biodiversity is important in its own right, but human survival also depends on it. To approve the development would signal a loss of habitat to myriad protected species (bats, yellow hammer, barn owls, and badgers, to name a few), and of many hedgerows, which are considered a priority habitat in their own right. Furthermore, as the site forms part of a wildlife corridor, the damage would extend far beyond the site - fragmenting the corridor serves to increase wildlife vulnerability to climate change and other stressors. Thus the development would run contrary to the government’s biodiversity strategy (Biodiversity 2020) which aims to create a more cohesive and resilient ecological network. Accordingly, the proposals are noncompliant with paragraph 150, chapter 14 of the NPPF, and CS18.

3. Sustainability
When a development is environmentally unacceptable the NPPF states that planning permission should only be granted in the event that economic and social benefits outweigh the costs. The plans fail this test.
Despite the creation of jobs being touted as a benefit of the mine, the reality (which is acknowledged by Banks) is that the majority of the 50 jobs on site will be staffed by existing personnel, i.e. very few - if any - jobs will be actually ‘created’. Banks have also attempted to link the proposals to their ability to provide an unspecified number of future apprenticeships. However, as they can only boast that their Shotton and Brenkley Lane Surface Mines (which have been operational for 19 years collectively) have facilitated the completion of three apprenticeships, the significance on these to the local economy would be negligible. Furthermore, coal is a dying industry; it is a career with no future.
The local community firmly assert that the negative impacts would firmly outweigh any purported benefits of the development: dust, heavy traffic and congestion, air pollution, loss of amenity and the potential damage to a Neolithic barrow. Consequently, the plans fail to meet the criteria set out in paragraph 211, Chapter 17 of the NPPF and should therefore be rejected.