Northumberland County Council backs controversial coal mine proposal

Northumberland County Council has backed controversial plans to open a surface mine close to nature reserve.

Developer Banks Group submitted plans which involve extracting three million tonnes of coal, sandstone and fireclay from a site at Highthorn, claiming the move would create jobs and investment.

However critics have argued the coal mine would ‘damage tourism and scar the landscape.

Nonetheless, Banks Group have contended that it would restore the area after the extraction was completed and would invest £48 million to local suppliers.

Jeannie Kietley, from Banks Group, said; "What's really important for Northumberland is job creation and making sure we continue to support the economy."

Council leader Grant Davey said: "I fully accept this has been a long and difficult process, with strong feelings on both sides, but I do believe this decision is in the best interests of Northumberland and its residents.

"It's also important to stress that the CBI (Commercial Bank International) and the North East Chamber of Commerce have written in support of the application."