Javid refusal for open cast mining bid prompts angry response
27 Mar 2018
Communities secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to overturn a ruling by the government planning inspector and refuse permission for an opencast mine in Northumberland has drawn a furious response from the developer.
The minister cited the negative impact on climate change and the landscape when he turned down the proposal by the Banks Group.
Although welcomed by environmental groups, the statement prompted an angry response from Gavin Styles, managing director of the company’s Banks Mining arm.
“The planning inspector’s clear and carefully considered judgement was that ‘the national benefits of the proposal would clearly outweigh the likely adverse impacts…’ yet Mr Javid has chosen to flagrantly disregard this expert opinion from the comfort of his London office without ever having taken the time to even visit the area in question,” said Styles.
Mr Javid has chosen to flagrantly disregard expert opinion from the comfort of his London office
Gavin Styles, managing director, Banks Mining
“Furthermore, his decision to notify the world of his judgement via social media 90 minutes before we, as the applicant, had received official notification of it is deeply unprofessional, and shows an utter disregard for the jobs of the hundreds of people that we employ.”
The scheme was expected to create more than 100 jobs in the area and the government could still be challenged in the High Court if the company exercises its legal right to apply to do so.
Styles said Banks would review the precise reasons for the secretary of state’s decision “before deciding on the most appropriate next steps to take”.
The government has previously vowed to end all power generation through coal-fired sources within seven years. In the last six years coal’s contribution to power generation in the UK has plummeted to little more than a sixth of what it was in 2012.
Open cast mining in the UK has been mostly limited to Scotland, including sites such as the Glenmuckloch surface mine (pictured).