Green campaigners are claiming a significant victory after plans for an open-cast coal mine were turned down by the Government amid fears about climate change.
Banks Mining’s application to extract three million tonnes of material from a site near the scenic Druridge Bay in Northumberland was initially agreed by planners, but Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has blocked the proposal.
Protesters had said the plan would damage local wildlife and badly affect local tourism.
And environmentalists argued the UK should not give the mine the green light while urging other countries to reject fossil fuels.
In Mr Javid’s explanation for overturning the application, he concluded “overall the scheme would have an adverse effect on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change of very substantial significance”.
Iâve made a decision on planning permission for a surface coal mine at Highthorn, Druridge Bay, Northumberland â taking into account all evidence and material considerations, inc. potential environmental impacts, Iâve refused the application â my letter: https://t.co/1CGFCPBZMe?— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) March 23, 2018
A spokesman for Mr Javid’s department said: “He has considered all the evidence heard at the public inquiry, together with the recommendation of the Planning Inspector.
“His decision took account of all material considerations, including the potential environmental impacts of the scheme.”
For Rose Dickinson, of Friends of the Earth, it was a “significant victory”.
FANTASTIC NEWS! Thanks to 1000's of you, the UK Govern't has seen sense: there will be NO climate wrecking opencast coal mine at beautiful #DruridgeBay! This is a big decision that sends a powerful message: fossil fuels must stay in the ground. Please RT. #SavedDruridge pic.twitter.com/54BXS59Hu2— Friends of the Earth (@friends_earth) March 23, 2018
She said: “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.”
Mr Javid “called in” the application for a public inquiry, citing climate change concerns.
Campaigners, including local community group Save Druridge, presented evidence about how the mine would impact Northumberland and contribute internationally to climate change.
Banks Mining had initially persuaded local councillors to back the scheme to extract coal, sandstone and fire clay as it would create more than 100 jobs and boost the local economy.
The bay is a regional beauty spot and attracts an annual gathering of skinny dippers.
Protesters said the plans would have affected otters, dolphins and pink-footed geese.