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Council praised for rejecting opencast plan.

Let's give praise where it is due. I attended Blyth Valley Borough Council planning meeting this week. The committee listened to two short presentations from both HJ Banks, who are proposing the opencast operation, and from SCRAM (Support Cramlington Residents Against Mining), who are fighting the application.

After a few questions and observations from councillors, who had visited a nearby opencast site at the Milk Hope Centre, a vote was cast. The councillors were unanimous in their decision to say "no" to this opencast operation.

Much publicity has been given to Northumberlandia, the artform park which would be formed if the plan was given the go-ahead. However, with no safe access to the park and it being of no benefit to the people of Cramlington, it was totally dismissed. As was the argument for Alcan needing coal from Northumberland coalfields. Alcan stood by and watched Ellington Colliery close for no reason, and now want to save our environment in the quest for cheap coal.

I was delighted that BVBC stood firm and said no to this site, which is the size of 342 St James's Parks To quote one councillor: "The disadvantages far outweigh the advantages."

Councils and councillors often receive much criticism, but it is good to see this council using common sense and listening to the people who live in the borough. Well done BVBC.

LYNNE KELLY, Blyth, Northumberland
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 25, 2006
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