Friday, 18 January 2013

Open Cast Meeting last night

Hundreds packed in to the Snods Edge village hall last night to question County Council officials and directors of UK Coal as to the proposed open cast mine next to Whittonstall School. The Courant were there and will report it. Dozens asked questions or made their views clear and the meeting ran for over 2 and half hours. Whilst the feelings were high, and the opposition to this plan is clear, the meeting was well conducted, albeit so many people came that they were literally queueing in the street to get in.
The large majority spoke against the scheme. Some people made what would be classed as representations as to the scheme. I spoke briefly near the end, briefly making the points that
- of the more than 100 people who had made representations at public meetings in the Anchor or at surgeries, to me as their MP, at least 95% were against and barely 5 people were broadly in favour,
- the committee need to take on board the cumulative impact of this and other energy projects that are already up and running.
- there are massive similarities between this proposal and the Bradley decision just over the border in county durham
- the Energy Bill 2012 and other documents make it clear that coal use in this country must reduce not expand in the years to come.
There remain for me significant possible environmental impacts and the transport proposal will see a massive increase in HGV traffic on the roads - both these issues need to be addressed going forward.