Updated plans for a proposed new surface mine in Northumberland are set to go on show at a public exhibition next week.
Regional employer Banks Mining has run a succession of meetings this year aimed at getting local residents, community groups, employers and community leaders involved in developing plans for the proposed Highthorn surface mining scheme, which is located to the south east of the village of Widdrington.
Having assessed the feedback provided by more than 350 attendees at these meetings, the family-owned firm has now updated its Highthorn project proposals, and will give local people their first chance to assess them at a public exhibition taking place between 3pm and 8pm on Wednesday 16 September at Widdrington Community Centre in Widdrington Station.
As well as detailing the physical and operational elements of the proposed scheme, the exhibition will also contain details of the wide-ranging, long-term community, environmental, economic and tourism benefits that Banks Mining will be looking to introduce as part of the Highthorn project, which has been developed in response to feedback gathered from local people, groups, businesses and community leaders over the last two years.
Banks Mining is looking to deliver a range of benefits as part of its Highthorn planning application including tourism, wildlife and leisure improvements, along with an employment, skills development and training programme.
Banks Mining employs more than 200 people at its Shotton and Brenkley Lane surface mines near Cramlington, and its local operations already contribute around £35m to the regional economy every year through wages, investments, business rates and the local supply chain.
The family-owned firm believes that the proposed Highthorn scheme, which would be located over half a kilometre inland from Druridge Bay, could offer real and lasting social, economic and environmental benefits for the surrounding area.
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, says: “The Highthorn site represents one of the best and largest remaining coal resources in England, and as well as helping us to create and sustain a significant number of jobs, we believe the application offers real and lasting social, economic and environmental benefits for the surrounding area.
“We’ve listened to how local people want to see their area benefit from our proposed Highthorn scheme, and believe that the resulting exciting ideas we’ll be outlining at the exhibition are ambitious, clearly defined and wholly deliverable.
“Our exhibition will give local people the chance to find out exactly what we’re looking to achieve through the Highthorn scheme, as well as to ask questions about every aspect of the project to our project team, and we’re hoping as many local people as possible will come along to assess what’s on show at the event for themselves.
“As a North East business that has worked and invested in this special area for many years, we have a deep personal commitment to working the Highthorn project sensitively and to the highest environmental standards, and to delivering a supporting package of measures which make a positive, lasting contribution to communities in the Druridge Bay area.”
For further information on the Highthorn project, and to register support for it, please visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/highthorn