Secretary of State says no to damaging opencast mine in Northumberland
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, has today announced his decision to reject plans for an opencast coal mine at Druridge Bay, on the Northumberland coastline. He concluded that “overall the scheme would have an adverse effect on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change of very substantial significance”.
In 2016, Mr Javid ‘called in’ the proposal for a Public Inquiry, citing climate change concerns – the first time this has ever happened for a fossil fuel extraction project. Friends of the Earth and local community group Save Druridge presented reams of evidence to the Inquiry about how a new mine would lead inevitably to more carbon pollution. Today’s decision is a victory for campaigners and scientists who have been calling for fossil fuels to be left in the ground in order to avert dangerous climate change.
Rose Dickinson, Friends of the Earth campaigner, said:
“This is a significant victory for local residents and the climate, it means an important step forward has been taken in ending the era of fossil fuels.
“This is the first coal mine ever to be rejected in the UK because of climate change impacts – a vindication for everyone who has been calling for fossil fuels to be left in the ground.
“The science is clear that we need to leave 80% of all proven fossil fuel reserves unburned to avoid dangerous global warming. That’s why the government has done the right thing today by rejecting this mine. Now ministers should take the next step by banning all new opencast coal and stop trying to impose fracking on communities.
“Our renewable energy resources hold the answer: by being able to reduce emissions, meet energy needs, and bring the jobs and investment that is badly needed for communities here in Druridge Bay and elsewhere.”
The mine was opposed for years by local residents and campaigners, Friends of the Earth delivered 20,000 messages against the mine to Sajid Javid’s Westminster offices from residents and people around the country. This is climate leadership from Mr Javid because it is the first time that a big infrastructure project has been turned down in part due to considering climate change.