Thousands sign up to say hands off Druridge Bay

Dave and Jacqui White hand the Druridge Bay petition over to Mike Bird from Northumberland County Council. 'Picture by Jane Coltman
Dave and Jacqui White hand the Druridge Bay petition over to Mike Bird from Northumberland County Council. 'Picture by Jane Coltman

More than 11,000 people have backed an online campaign against plans for opencast operations at a Northumberland site.

Jacqui White’s ‘Hands off Druridge Bay’ call was posted on the 38 Degrees campaigning organisation’s website.

The petition opposing 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 – also included 26 paper signatories.

She and husband Dave handed it in to Mike Bird from Northumberland County Council at County Hall.

The concerns raised by those against the proposal include that it would have a major negative effect on the local environment, wildlife and air quality and harm tourism, including the static caravans sites in Cresswell.

Mrs White said: “I’m very pleased with the number of Hands off Druridge Bay supporters and I would like to thank all those who signed the petition and submitted a letter of objection.

“Many people living nearby and visitors use this area for leisure and they are horrified at the prospect of the impact of seven years of opencast.

“The fight will continue as we await the planning committee meeting to determine the application.

“The support from 38 Degrees has been great and I received helpful advice on how to effectively campaign online. I’m also grateful to Koast Radio for giving me time on air to discuss the campaign.”

Hundreds of people are in favour of the scheme. They point to the economic and employment benefits it would bring.

A letter in support by a Lynemouth resident, whose name was redacted, said: ‘This proposal would sustain 50 valuable jobs for those who work on current operational mines and it would also create 50 new jobs.

‘Banks is proposing to introduce a Skills Fund of £225,000 to help local people overcome barriers to work.’