OPENCAST: Decision is a hammer blow

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The decision by Northumberland County Council to grant approval for the strip-mining of three million tonnes of coal at Druridge Bay is a hammer blow to the county’s future.

Rather than supporting its community, its existing tourism businesses, and its environment, the council has appeared to have sold us down the river based on promises, misinformation and make-believe.

Coal and the coal barons did not make this county great, it was the communities that mined the coal — their solidarity and self-belief, their common purpose and shared danger — which made Northumberland great.

It was Thatcher who took away that common purpose, and it has been successive governments that have stood idly by and allowed self-belief to ebb away.

I believe that today’s coal barons have no wish to make Northumberland great again — their only interest is in the £150million that the coal represents to their balance sheet.

In this decision the county council has shown itself to be backward-looking and timid.

I believe it has betrayed the future of Druridge Bay, the future of our county, and the climate for future generations. It should be ashamed, and will surely come to regret the decision.

Northumberland will be great again, but only when this polluting and disease-causing industry is truly in the past.

Tom Stewart

Berwick-upon-Tweed Constituency Green Party