6pm in Snods Edge will see the public meeting on UK Coal's proposed application for open cast coal mining. I have received a slip from the House of Commons to ensure I can be there. I would urge anyone interested in green belt development, open cast mining and the cumulative impact of energy policy on this area to attend. I have written at length on this application before on this blog, and spoken about it in the House of Commons, most recently on the 20/12/12 in respect of the lack of a County Council minerals plan. I have met repeatedly with the local community from 2009 onwards in local surgeries, in a long meeting in the local pub and in people's houses.
Whilst I will go with an open mind to the meeting, and listen to what is said tomorrow night by all parties - and it is clear that there are some people in the community in favour of the application, and campaigning for the application - everything I have seen and heard, thus far, indicates that the vast majority of the population locally are against this application.
For my part I am satisfied that there are potential legitimate objections based upon planning grounds, concerns as to the viability and intentions of the applicant, further concerns as to the impact on the green belt, and a real issue as to whether this is sustainable and appropriate development, given the two contrasting decisions by inspectors in relation to the Bradley decision [planning refused] and the Halton Lea Gate decision [planning granted].