A PROTEST group has criticised Leicestershire County Council for its handling of the financial problems faced by a coal giant and its impact on a mining site in North West Leicestershire.
The Minorca Opencast Protest Group (MOPR) has slated the authority saying it missed out information about how much money is still owed by UK Coal and the effect it is having on the Minorca opencast site in a statement issued by the authority on June 26.
MOPG aim to fill in the gaps missed by the council in a report to be given to Measham Parish Council on July 3.
The group said that the information does not state what has happened since the company failed to make payment deadlines in April after experiencing financial difficulties and being granted an extended ‘period of grace’.
The report highlights the consquences that could arise should the company go into administration.
It includes the restoration bond being insufficient to restore the site, the money due for restoring Ashby Canal being short by more than £250,000 and the site becoming difficult to sell and potentially derelict.
Following lobbying from the MOPG, UK Coal has now paid the outstanding community fund and have agreed to pay further outstanding payments within three weeks.
Leicestershire County Council has also received assurance that should UK Coal fail to meet their obligatons, the land owners , Harworth Estates Agricultural Land Ltd, will honour the payments.
Steve Leary of MOPG and the report’s author said: “We are pleased that Leicestershire County Council has, somewhat belatedly, taken the action that it has in gaining the assurance from Harworth Estates.
“We are less pleased that UK Coal have been given a further 3 weeks in which to pay.”