People living in the communities around a new County Durham surface mine are being invited to apply to be part of the liaison committee that will form a central part of its operations.
Earlier this month, North East employer Banks Mining revealed it is working towards securing the land rights required to operate the Bradley surface mine in the north west of the county, which sits off the A692 between Leadgate and Dipton.
As part of preparations for potentially commencing work on site in the spring, Banks Mining is now setting up a project liaison committee, which will provide a forum in which information on all aspects of the scheme and its operations can be shared between the company and the local community.
The first liaison committee meeting is currently being organised for the end of February, and Banks is now actively looking for one or two representatives from each of the communities closest to the site – Leadgate, Medomsley, Burnopfield and Dipton, and especially people living on Pont Lane, Douglas Terrace and Hedley Terrace – to put themselves forward to be part of it.
Permission to extract around 500,000 tonnes of coal from the 71 hectare site was granted to UK Coal a number of years ago, and Banks Mining anticipates that work to create a new access road onto the A692 will commence in spring this year, with the start of mining operations following soon afterwards.
These operations would be scheduled to run for between two and three years with all activity on site complete in 2021. Restoration will include the creation of a new nature reserve and parkland area, as well as the return of some of the land to agricultural use.
Around 30 new jobs will be supported at the Bradley site if the project goes ahead, along with others in the local supply chain, and a related community benefits fund would be created which would be available to support local projects and initiatives.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, says: “The project liaison committees that we set up around our projects provide a vital and very effective link between our project teams and the local community, enable members to ask direct questions or request information that can be passed back to others living in the area.
“We’re looking to hold the first committee meeting towards the end of February, with others to follow every couple of months or so, and are keen to hear from local people in each of the communities closest to the site who would like to put themselves forward to be part of it.
“We are aiming to be as representative of the local area as we can, but the number of committee members will be limited to ensure that meetings are as productive as possible, so I would urge those who are interested to get in touch quickly.
“Taking on the existing planning approval for the Bradley surface mine has been identified as one of a number of different options for how we can meet our continuing high customer demand for coal, and we will ensure local people, businesses and community groups are kept fully informed of progress as it is made.”
To express an interest in being part of the Bradley liaison committee, please contact Lewis Stokes on 0191 378 6100 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on the Bradley surface mine project, please visit www.banksgroup.co.uk/projects/mining/bradley