Hundreds set to march against mining plan

NDET 18-9-12 MC 17'John Gregory, committee member Hilltop Action Group by the proposed open cast site in Clay Cross
NDET 18-9-12 MC 17'John Gregory, committee member Hilltop Action Group by the proposed open cast site in Clay Cross

Hundreds of angry campaigners will take to the streets on Saturday to demonstrate their opposition to open cast mining in Clay Cross.

The plans could see around 200,000 tonnes of coal extracted over three to four years on land between Clay Cross and the Royal Oak roundabout.

Members of Hilltop Action Group are now set to march around the two mile site on Saturday, starting at the Royal Oak in Old Tupton at 10.30am.

John Gregory of the committee, said he expected between 300 and 400 people would be taking part.

He added: “The march will show the strength of community feeling and opposition to this. Nobody wants it, it’s not good for the regeneration of Clay Cross.”

But Bryn Hopkinson, for Provectus, said the project could create many jobs. He added: “The economic benefit to local tradesmen and businesses that would also flow from the scheme has been welcomed locally.”

One concerned schoolgirl, fearing for the future of her community, has taken the dramatic step of writing to both the Queen and the Prime Minister about the plans.

Mum Helen Orwin, of Clay Cross, said daughter Abigail, 11, was elated to receive a response from both.

She added: “It has raised awareness of what is going on.

“This does concern Abigail and she is a great believer in putting pen to paper.”

Supporters of the project, which would need council consent, claim there will be no blasting, no waste brought to the site and no long term impact on wildlife.

Unemployed Richard Bull, 26, of Holmgate, feels the mining, being lead by Provectus regeneration, may create work opportunities and provide community facilities.

He added: “The majority are of the view if works can be done without causing undue disturbance and a community benefit will result, then the sooner work kicks off the better.”