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Villagers oppose big opencast plan
4:12pm Friday 18th January 2013 in News
A COUNCILLOR has hit out at plans for a "Bermuda Triangle'' of opencast mines.
Durham County councillor for Leadgate and Medomsley, Watts Stelling, spoke out at a public meeting at Snod's Edge, near Consett, into UK Coal plans to dig 2.05 million tonnes of coal from a 208-hectare site at nearby Whittonstall, across the county border in Northumberland.
Hundreds of people from several villages attended the meeting to voice their opposition to the seven-and-a-half-year scheme.
Coun Stelling said: “UK Coal have been trying to mine this site since 1972. When they are turned down they simply appeal, and appeal again.
“They are trying to create a Bermuda Triangle of opencast mining, with Whittonstall, Bradley and Marley Hill in Gateshead all on their radar.”
Hexham Tory MP Guy Opperman told the meeting he would call on Northumberland County Council to turn down the planning application for the scheme.
“I have had 100 people contact me to say they oppose the opencast and four in favour," he said.
“The cumulative effect has to be taken into consideration.
“This application is remarkably similar to one at Bradley, on the County Durham side of the border. That was rejected by a planning inspector, although UK Coal are now appealing.”