Monday, 22 December 2008

Halton Lea Gate Update

After a meeting with Sir Neville Trotter, former MP for Tynemouth, at his home in Newcastle, I headed back to Hexham where Peter Atkinson, MP, and I had one of our regular meetings.
In the afternoon I dashed off to Halton Lea Gate, to meet Stan Rowntree, vice chairman of the Hartleyburn parish council, and Ian Hutchinson, the Haltwhistle County Councillor, to discuss the opposition to the open-cast mine [see earlier post of the meeting Halton Lea Gate in November]. It seems to have very few environmental benefits and a multitude of drawbacks. Nick Kennan, chairman of the North Pennine Protection Group, was also there: he was very helpful in explaining the environmental problems it will bring. Nick is passionate about what he does and knows his stuff. This may not be a big story elsewhere but it is in Halton Lea Gate: and the struggle here is a microcosm of the environmental debate that is going on in England today.

There is no doubt we need to address alternative energy supplies, as oil and gas decine and climate change affects us more and more. But are we right to be digging literally within 100 metres of peoples back gardens and blighting the landscape that we are trying to promote as a tourist and environemental attraction for such poor reward? I know that you cannot visit this village and then see the damage that will be done to these peoples homes and way of life without feeling that this is not the right way forward.