A planning application to open cast 225,000 tonnes of coal at Birklands, to the south of Marley Hill, could open the door to more opencast mining near Kibblesworth, Lamesley, Sunniside, Marley Hill and Byermoor.
The plans will mean heavy lorries travelling on the narrow country lanes to reach Lamesley and the A1.
But serious concerns remain about the ability of these roads to cope with the heavy lorries. There are also worries about damage to the environment and noise and dust which could impact on nearby villages.
Councillor Jonathan Wallace, who has been asked by residents of Hedley Hall Farm, the hamlet closest to the proposed site, to help the campaign against the proposals, said, "There is a great deal of coal under the ground especially to the south of Sunniside, Marley Hill and Byermoor that can only be mined by opencast means. If this application is given the go-ahead, it could open the door to other, much bigger opencast schemes right on our doorsteps.".
A petition has now been launched opposing the opencast plans and you can sign it here.
Petition - Say 'NO' to open cast:
We, the undersigned, express our concern at proposals to opencast 225,000 tonnes of coal from Birkland Lane, between Kibblesworth, Sunniside, Marley Hill and Beamish.
In particular we believe that:
- roads in the area are inadequate and the extra traffic, especially heavy lorries, will significantly increase the dangers of accidents;
- the increased noise of lorries will impact adversely on residents of Hedley Hall Farm, Birklands Lane, Kibblesworth and Lamesley;
noise from the site will impact adversely on all surrounding villages and settlements;
- damage to countryside and the greenbelt will result;
the environment of the area will be damaged in the short term and will take many years to recover;
- the tourism potential of the area will be setback, therefore threatening current and prospective jobs in the tourism industry.
We therefore call on Gateshead Council’s Planning Committee to reject application DC/11/00687/MIN for opencast coal mining at Birklands Lane near Kibblesworth.