Today Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary, has intervened in plans to give planning approval to potentially the UK’s largest open-cast coalmine. Before the Minister makes a final decision, the proposals by Northumberland County Council will now be the subject of a public inquiry.
The move to “call-in” the controversial Druridge Bay case has been strongly welcomed by environmental lawyers ClientEarth.
ClientEarth EU Energy Transition and Environment lawyer Susan Shaw said: “This proposal conflicts with UK law and policy in many, many ways. Perhaps most strikingly, it is wholly inconsistent with the UK’s climate change programme and clean energy policies, and we are pleased the Minister has called the case in on climate grounds.
“The UK set itself as an international leader on climate change when it committed last year to phase out our ageing coal fleet by 2025. Authorising new coalmines is manifestly not the way to achieve this.
“These proposals are self-evidently bad for the environment, bad for the climate and bad for local communities. Coal is an ailing industry and investing in these projects takes us in the wrong direction. Instead of new mines we need to be investing in a decentralised, low-carbon energy system for the future.
“The Banks Group’s plans to build this mine pose an array of environmental threats to Druridge Bay – and far beyond. It’s our view that Northumberland County Council should have outright rejected this application, with over 10,000 objections to it. The Secretary of State has done exactly the right thing in calling it in and we urge him to refuse planning permission.”