14:13 Monday 02 December 2013

'No surprise' over coal extension for Minorca

Written byHELEN KREFT

A GROUP opposed to open cast mining near Swadlincote has said it is not surprised over plans to extend it – extracting a further 250,000 tonnes of coal.

UK Coal Surface Mining has now submitted an application to extend part of the Minorca Surface Mine site, in Measham to include Measham Fields Farm House and Pig Unit.

The Minorca Opencast Protest Group (MOPG) hopes that the proposals will not delay the work on the site and that coaling will cease with the site restored by 2017.

Emma Blackham, the secretary of MOPG said: “We are not surprised by this proposal – we never understood why it was not part of the original planning application. We understand that working the mine has already resulted in the loss of a viable Pig Unit and the associated jobs that went with it. Now, on top of that, a house will be demolished, which is a shame, given the shortage of accommodation in the area.

“However, it was agreed that we needed to see the detail contained in the new (plans) before we make any further announcements.

“We would also like to emphasise at this point that this is not the much feared Minorca North application, which we expect to be submitted to opencast along the north side of Swepstone Road.”

A spokesman for UK Coal Surface Mines said: “There is an opportunity to recover a further 250,000 tonnes of coal from within a relatively small area (1.9 hectares) adjacent to the existing 130 hectare site boundary. The planning application includes a restoration scheme which would re-build the ageing farmhouse that is currently located on the area in question.

”It would not require any extension of the site’s current operational timescale or for any additional materials to be stored above ground. No extra HGV movements would be needed.

The Minorca site currently employs more than 50 people, and supports the local supply chain. The Minorca Community Fund has so far released £36,250 in contributions to community and environmental projects in the area and has also made two payments of £256,000 to support the re-instatement of the Ashby canal.”

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