Anger over coal plans

NDET 98678 Proposed open cast site Tupton.
NDET 98678 Proposed open cast site Tupton.

PLANS to extract coal from land the size of 40 football pitches near hundreds of homes have been met with concern from residents.

Mining company, Provectus, have released proposals for a three-year coal extraction scheme on 30 hectares of land west of the A61 Derby Road between Old Tupton and Clay Cross Library.

But residents say the scheme – which will see 175,000 tonnes of coal extracted – will cause noise pollution, dust, and traffic problems.

“It will be three years of misery” said John Gregory, 59, a retired IT lecturer whose Woodland Way home is just metres from the proposed site. “The main processing area is between us and Hilltop farm. Whatever they say there is going to be noise and dust and we have a lot of bungalows around here with elderly folks who are in their homes every day.”

He added: “It will most likely be taken to Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, and I have done the sums and the amount of coal they are taking out is probably enough coal to keep the station going for just 14 days to a month.”

The land is currently used for agricultural purposes, but Bryn Hopkinson, consultant to Provectus, said much of it is damaged from previous coal extraction on the site.

He said: “The important point is that we have no interest in developing this land. It will be put back to agricultural use but it will be better because the land will be of a higher quality. The damage will be sorted out.”

But Kevin Tittley, Old Tupton resident and lecturer in the agriculture department at Derby College, said: “I have lived here for 20 years and it has been used for agricultural purposes since then. It has grown a range of crops and has been used for livestock.”

Another resident, retired chemistry teacher, John Kidd of Ashover Road, raised concerns about the environmental impact of the scheme.

He said: “The coal to be extracted is an outdated, highly polluting fuel which the UK is attempting to move away from. By my calculation, if the coal is extracted, it will be burnt to produce half a million tonnes of the global warming gas carbon dioxide.”

Provectus have outlined their plans in a letter to homes near the proposed site, and will hold a public consultation on May 25 at Clay Cross Social Centre from 10am - 7pm and on May 26 at Holmgate Community Centre from 10am - 7pm. If the site is deemed suitable, they hope to file a planning application within six months.

John Gregory has set up an opposition website, that can be viewed at www.hilltopproject.com while the Provectus site, www.hilltop-project.com will go live in two weeks.