A campaign group against the Highthorn surface mine scheme for a 325-hectare site between Druridge Bay and Widdrington Station has reacted to the decision of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee to vote in favour of the proposal.
Lynne Tate – who is part of Save Druridge, which organised the rally outside County Hall before the meeting – said: “We expected the approval decision, but we didn’t expect it to be unanimous.
“We thought some of the councillors on the committee would not be as archaic as the others and we’re surprised the issue of climate change was not mentioned by the members.
“The council is living in the past as the Government is looking to phase out coal over the next decade.
“Banks has planning permission for the nearby Ferneybeds site (it was granted in 2013) and instead of pressing ahead to get the site ready for its operations, it has gone for Highthorn as well and we’re concerned about the cumulative effect if they both start operating at about the same time.
“We’re hopeful that the application will be called in by the relevant Secretary of State in the Government so that a public inquiry can take place.”