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Petition against mining proposal.

Byline: Katie Davies Reporter katie.davies@ncjmedia.co.uk

CAMPAIGNERS have handed over a petition fighting against plans to mine 250,000 tonnes of coal.

Around 500 people have signed the campaign against applications for an opencast mine at Birklands, near Kibblesworth, Gateshead. Families have raised concerns about lorries, nearby wildlife and the volume of traffic. This is one of two applications for opencast mines in the area. The second is at Marley Hill near to Sunniside.

Coun Jonathan Wallace, who is leading the campaign, said: "This is one of two applications for opencast mining in the area.

If given the go-ahead, residents fear that there will be a flood of applications to opencast the countryside. The Birklands application is too close to the hamlet of Birklands and would see heavy lorries travelling along inadequate country lanes near Kibblesworth. We are therefore calling for this application to be rejected."

County Durham-based Hall Construction want to dig out 225,000 tonnes of coal from the land, close to Tanfield Railway and Beamish Museum.

The company plans to extract the coal over a two-year period and send it on lorries along local country roads. If approved, the site, covering 85 acres, would be worked from 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

Gateshead Council service director of development and public protection, Anneliese Hutchinson, said: "No date has yet been set for this application to be considered by our planning committee. We always listen carefully to the views of local residents and concerns are taken into account when planning decisions are made. Any petitions received are valued and will be considered."

CAPTION(S):

Councillor Jonathan Wallace with residents who are campaigning against mining plans
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 23, 2014
Words:280
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