Dewey Hill coal mine: Plan for Newcastle greenbelt mine rejected

image copyrightDefend Dewley Hill
image captionDefend Dewley Hill campaigners welcomed the rejection of the plans

Plans for an opencast coal mine on greenbelt land in Newcastle which opponents said would be "noxious" have been unanimously rejected.

Durham-based the Banks Group had proposed the 250-acre operation at Dewley Hill, near Throckley.

Newcastle Council planners rejected the scheme as not "environmentally acceptable" after a three-hour hearing.

The refusal is a third blow for Banks' mining operations in the North East this year.

It previously lost bids to extend the use of its Bradley mine in County Durham and was also refused permission for an opencast site near Druridge Bay in Northumberland.

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The company said the latest rejection was "outrageous" in the midst of an economic crisis.

It said 200 jobs would have been supported by the mine and 33,000 trees would have been planted once the land had been restored.

image copyrightDefend Dewey Hill
image captionThe mine was planned for 250 acres of greenbelt land near Throckley

However, Jude Campbell, of the Defend Dewley Hill campaign group, said mining was the area's "heritage not its future" and described opencast as "the most destructive and noxious form of mining, devastating everything in its path".

The council's planning committee voted 11-0 to refuse permission for the scheme which would have seen 800,000 tonnes of coal and 400,000 tonnes of fireclay extracted to fuel Throckley brickworks.

More than 5,000 objections had been lodged against the Throckley plans, as well as a petition signed by more than 19,000 people.

Jeannie Raine, spokeswoman for the Banks Group, said: "It's outrageous that, in the height of the worst economic crisis, the planning committee has decided to dismiss over 200 existing, well-paid North East jobs and has not grasped the opportunity to support a £75m investment in the regional economy."

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