April 30, 2014 | Brenkley News
Plans to allow additional work at a north east surface mine have been recommended for approval by officers at one of the Councils considering them.
Regional employer Banks Mining is looking to continue its operations at the Brenkley Lane surface mine, which sits to the north of Newcastle, and has identified an additional 14 hectare area on the site from which it wants to mine over 500,000 further tonnes of coal.
In September last year, Banks submitted a planning application for the project to both Northumberland County Council and Newcastle City Council, as the site straddles their respective areas, and Newcastle City Council officers have now recommended that the City Council’s planning committee approved the plans when they meet on Friday (2 May) to discuss them.
The Brenkley Lane mine has been operating successfully since 2010, and alongside Banks’ nearby Shotton surface mine, contributes around £35m to the regional economy every year.
Over 200 people are employed across the two sites, which already together provide more than £400,000 in annual business rates to Northumberland County Council and Newcastle City Council.
The additional work would not require any extension of the site’s current operational timescale, with the site still set to be completely restored by the end of 2021.
Banks held two public exhibitions last year to discuss its plans with local people, and used the feedback received to finalise the design of the Brenkley Additional scheme.
If planning permission is granted for this additional work, it would help enable Banks to increase its support for local facilities through Banks Brenkley Lane Community Fund, which provides grants to local community groups, voluntary organisations and environmental projects.
Mark Dowdall, Banks’ environment and community director, says: “The additional work we’re looking to undertake at our Brenkley Lane site will help provide both continuity of employment for the many local people that work on the site and additional revenues that will go towards further significant improvements of local community facilities.
“Brenkley Lane has operated in a safe, responsible and efficient way for the last four years, and we’re pleased that Newcastle City Council’s officers have recognised the many merits of our planning application in their recommendation for approval of it.
“Around 40% of the energy that we all use in the UK is produced through coal, and it makes far greater sense from an economic, environmental, employment and energy security point of view to utilise appropriate domestic supplies rather than relying on imports from potentially-unstable overseas markets.
“Our mining sites deliver significant employment, supply chain and community benefits to the local area, and we hope that the members of the City Council’s planning committee will see fit to follow their officers’ recommendation.”
A decision by Northumberland County Council on the planning application is expected in the coming months.
Anyone wanting more information on the Brenkley Additional proposals should contact the Banks Mining development relations team via email@example.com or on 0191 378 6100.