For over thirty years, UK Coal and now Banks Group have wanted to start an open cast coal mine in the Pont Valley, between Dipton and Leadgate, at a site known as 'Bradley', in County Durham.
The community won 3 high court battles against UK Coal. They lost on the fourth which was a huge surprise because they'd presented even stronger evidence than the previous 3. UK coal got the permit, but they were bankrupt and they liquidated in 2015. Everyone thought that was the end of it and there would be no mine.This January, Banks Group announced they'd bought the land and the permit off UK Coal and intend to work the mine. There is no planning route that can stop this, only a) appealing to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government who can revoke the permit. See petition and attached letter,
and b) Directly blocking the machines from entering the site - if the work on the ground itself does not start by June 3rd then Banks will lose their permit and will have to start all over again through the planning process which is unlikely to be successful and they may not pursue it. For this reason a camp was set up on the proposed site (a collaboration between locals and experienced activists from outside the area) in preparation for taking direct action to halt the beginning of work.Coal Action Network has supported this community in their fight against opencast mining since it the organisation's inception in 2008. Follow their blog on https://www.coalaction.org.uk/2018/02/banks-begin-clearing-hundred-year-old-trees-at-bradley.