Friday, January 30, 2009

Speaking on opencast mining

I was recently invited to speak at an environment conference in Newcastle. The event is tomorrow and I have agreed to attend. I am speaking in the afternoon and have been given 10 minutes to speak and then answer questions. I have been specifically asked to speak about opencast mining.

Nearly 4 years ago I led a campaign against an opencast scheme in my ward. The proposal was to mine 400,000 tonnes of coal and fireclay from a site right next to a couple of villages and with a route for lorries right through the centre of a number of villages. The campaign resulted in a petition of 18,000 signatures being handed in to Gateshead Council, the largest ever in Gateshead. I also managed to run a strong media campaign and as a result of that, I continue to do media interviews. It has also resulted in the invite for tomorrow.

I will be speaking on how the campaign was run and how to get a positive result - in this instance the rejection of the application and the eventual abandonment of the appeal by the applicant. I do of course, have to write the speech now. Fortunately I am on the train heading to Newcastle so I have some time to use up.

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