An online petition set up by a Linton resident against plans for opencast operations at a Northumberland site has received more than 7,500 signatures.
Jacqui White’s ‘Hands off Druridge Bay’ call has been posted on the 38 Degrees campaigning organisation’s website.
And she is also asking those who oppose Banks Mining’s application for a surface-mine at the Highthorn site – land to the north of the C116 which runs between the villages of Widdrington and Druridge – to submit an objection to the county council.
Concerns have been raised about the impact such a scheme would have on the area, although hundreds of people are in favour. They point to the economic and employment benefits it would bring.
Mrs White said: “I am delighted that so many people have already signed the petition.
“It is very encouraging, but during my conversation with someone at Greenpeace to get advice about how best to oppose to the opencast proposal, I was told that individual letters of objection have the most impact.
“Therefore, I am calling on the signatories to also put forward their comments to Northumberland County Council before the December 8 deadline.”
To access and sign the petition, go to https://home.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns and type Druridge Bay into the search box at the top of the page.
Mrs White’s own objection letter includes the following: ‘The area is of international interest and grants have been awarded to the Northumberland Wildlife Trust to maintain and protect it for the benefit of the wildlife.
‘If Banks is granted planning permission, the wildlife will suffer as it has no respect for human boundaries and the emerging tourist business will be knocked on the head.
‘The nature reserves in the area that will be affected include Cresswell Pond, Druridge Links, Ellington Pond, East Chevington, Hauxley and Druridge Pools. In recent years, marsh harriers have returned to breed at East Chevington after a gap of 300 years.
‘The few unskilled jobs on offer to locals cannot possibly offset the damage and disruption they will inflict on this delicate and valuable ecosystem.’