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Proposed Coal Mine in Pont Valley, UK

Local residents and anti-coal activists are calling for the planning permission for a new open pit coal mine to be revoked, in line with the UK's commitment to coal phase-out by 2025.


Development company Banks Group has until the 3rd June 2018 to start open pit coal mining at the ‘Bradley’ site near Dipton and Leadgate in County Durham. By 2021 approximately 550,000 tonnes of coal [1] could be extracted unless Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, appeals the decision following public outcry.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Proposed Coal Mine in Pont Valley, UK
Country:United Kingdom
State or province:County Durham
(municipality or city/town)Dipton and Leadgate
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Coal extraction and processing
Specific commodities:Coal
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Banks Group anticipates that work to create a new access road will commence in spring this year, with the start of mining operations following soon afterwards. Around 30 new jobs would be supported on site, and they would set up a community benefit fund [11].

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Project area:71.3
Level of Investment:Unknown
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:20,000+
Start of the conflict:01/12/2007
Company names or state enterprises:Banks Group from United Kingdom - Operators
UK Coal from United Kingdom - Attained planning permission
Relevant government actors:Durham County Council

UK Government Department for Communities and Local Government
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Coal Action Network

Pont Valley Network

Derwent Valley Protection Society

Burnopfield Environmental Awareness Movement
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
National activists are mobilising around this conflict, organising skill-sharing workshops in anticipation of further resistance [5].
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsPotential: Other Health impacts, Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactsRespiratory Problems
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Under negotiation
Development of alternatives:Coal Action Network are advocating a complete and legally binding phase-out of coal in the UK based on the findings in their 'Ditch Coal Report' [12].

The report examines the impacts of coal extraction in the main countries that UK power stations source coal from. Common themes include communities living near to coal infrastructure routinely subjected to serious injustices: the displacement of people from their land, often by force; adverse health impacts inflicted on communities throughout the supply chain; disenfranchisement of those most affected from decision-making and political processes concerning coal mine development; and the destruction of biodiversity and water courses, affecting the livelihoods of those who depend on them.

Thus the report concludes:

" The authors of this report call on the UK Government to take decisive action and announce a complete and legally binding coal phase out, as soon as is practically achievable, as well as a removal of support for carbon capture and storage, and an enforced ban on coal mining in the UK. Simultaneously, all support for coal infrastructure abroad should be withdrawn, and the London Stock Exchange effectively regulated to prevent listed companies engaging in harmful activities.

If the Government will not take a lead on this, then it is the role of those of us who consume the end product – through our electricity supply ­ of harmful coal extraction, to take action against mining, coal

infrastructure, and power station operators using diverse methods including divestment, direct action and solidarity with directly affected communities."
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Banks Group are yet to start mining, but it is planned.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Planning Permission Application
[click to view]

[5] Section 97-100 of the Town and Country Planning Act
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] Banks Group Bradley Project
[click to view]

[10] Save Druridge Report
[click to view]

[4] Letter to Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
[click to view]

[11] Bradley Mine Details
[click to view]

[8] UK Government launch 'Powering Past Coal Alliance'
[click to view]

[9] Coal Action Network - Appeal to Secretary of State
[click to view]

[12] Coal Action Network Ditch Coal Report
[click to view]

[3] Activists Set Up Camp (The Northern Echo)
[click to view]

[7] Coal Action Skillshare
[click to view]

[2] Protesters Scale Trees (Coal Action Network)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[6] Petition to revoke planning permission
[click to view]

Other documents

Appeals to the Secretary of State A coalition of local and anti-coal activists appeal for planning permission to be revoked. Source: Coal Action Network
[click to view]

Tree Protectors Activists brave the snow to protest construction at the proposed coal plant.
[click to view]

Pont Valley Protection Camp Activists establish a camp to blockade access to the site

Credit: Gavin Engelbrecht
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Alice Owen [email protected]
Last update22/03/2018