Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 13.55.52More than 10,000 people have now objected to the proposed Highthorn opencast coalmine at Druridge Bay in Northumberland, campaigners can announce.

Following an appeal by conservationist Bill Oddie to Friends of the Earth supporters, 8,000 people have now written to Northumberland County Council objecting to Banks Mining’s application for an opencast mine – which councillors are due to hear on Tuesday 5th July.

The objections are in addition to the 2,600 already gathered by Save Druridge and other local groups since the application was first lodged last October. Objections now dwarf letters of support by over ten to one.

Those submitting objections include:

  • Local businesses, such as the owners of the popular Drift Café and Ellington campsite;
  • Hundreds of local residents from villages and towns like Cresswell, Ellington, Widdrington, Morpeth and Ulgham, as well as places further afield from Alnwick to Newcastle;
  • Thousands of people who have loved visiting Druridge Bay and who have contributed to Northumberland’s burgeoning tourism economy;
  • Conservation groups including the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, National Trust and RSPB;
  • Respected climate scientists, such as Sir John Houghton, first chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who warn that new coalmines are not compatible with tackling global warming.

Save Druridge member and local resident Jonathan Rodger who lives within sight of the proposed mine said:

“Ten years ago this Planning Application would have gone through like all the others in the surrounding area, however this country has now woken up to the harm fossil fuel does.

“Northumberland is no longer a dirty, industrial county, it now thrives on tourism, in fact, the county received the prestigious British Travel Award’s Silver award in 2015.

“People love to come to this area which is renowned for its mature Nature Reserves including a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It’s a wild coast that is rugged, beautiful and unspoilt. Having a coalmine a few hundred feet away can only do more harm than good on a number of levels.

“This campaign has drawn massive support from across the North East and beyond. It is plain that the public overwhelmingly opposes the destruction of Druridge Bay by open cast mining. We hope these voices will not go unheeded by the planners when they make their decision next month”

Friends of the Earth campaigner Guy Shrubsole added:

“It’s clear that this opencast coal mine is not wanted and not needed.

“Banks Mining cannot possibly guarantee job security when coal prices are at rock bottom and the world is moving away from fossil fuels. It should be investing in green jobs and stop damaging Northumberland’s growing tourism industry.

“Druridge Bay is a special place, loved by residents and visitors alike. Why sacrifice it to a dying fuel whose time has come to an end?”