Friday, July 27, 2007

The big news in my ward

I've spent much of the past 2 years helping to lead a campaign in my ward against an opencast application to mine half a million tonnes of coal and fireclay from a site next to the historic Gibside Estate. The petition opposing the plans, written by me, was signed by over 16,000 people, the biggest petition yet handed in to Gateshead. The application was rejected by Gateshead Council. The applicants then appealed.

Just as we were gearing up for a public inquiry this autumn, suddenly the appeal has been withdrawn. News arrived today. So before leaving the office this evening, I sent an email to over 1000 households in the area to tell them about what has happened. I also had to rapidly rewrite the Focus I was working on for Sunniside, the village where I live.

It's not all good news however. It is expected that the applicants will submit a new application in November. They clearly realized that the current proposals would not stand up to the scrutiny of a public inquiry. Next time their bid to opencast the site will be much more rigorous. So we will have to redouble our efforts to defeat it next time.

Sent via BlackBerry

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