CONTROVERSIAL plans for opencast mining moved a step closer as mining giant UK Coal confirmed it started drilling bore holes in countryside between Ilkeston, Cossall and Trowell this week.
As the plans were announced this week, claims have been made that the group formed to oppose the plans Cossall, Awsworth and Trowell Against Coal (CATAC) has ‘fizzled out’.
Calls have now been made by councillors and residents to get together to fight the scheme, which they say could result in the loss of treasured ‘DH Lawrence’ countryside after its links with the Eastwood-born author.
UK Coal submitted preliminary ‘scoping’ plans to Nottinghamshire County Council in November last year to surface mine in the area known as Shortwood Farm – just a few hundred yards from homes in Trowell.
Village councillor Ken Rigby is urging residents to galvanise support against the proposal.
“You are going to have noise, pollution, traffic, and above all the possibility of blasting damage to your homes that will not be compensated,” he explained.
“It’s up to the individuals to crack on – I can send letter of complaints and oppose the plan from a political point of view but an action group will carry far more weight.”
In 1995 another mining firm RJB, which had planned to mine in the area, nearer to Cossall, was turned down on a legal technicality.
Cossall villager Iain Hardiker said that many CATAC members, who had joined the fight against the 1995 application, had dropped out of the group this time around because they were too old to take part.
“It’s no surprise that test drilling has started,” he said.
“A lot of the villagers are in their 80s and 90s and not able to help out.
“I would urge people in Trowell particularly to get together – there is a much higher population there who will be affected by this plan, moreso than in Cossall.”
Cllr Rigby and Mr Hardiker said they will talk about getting a group together.
Wollaton resident Sandra Bailey said the plan may put her off moving to Cossall.
“It seems everything has gone really quiet about it of late,” she said.
“I think it’s really terrible for the countryside and I’ll be holding back on moving to Cossall until I know what’s going on there with the mining.”
UK Coal spokesman Jack Tarr said that test holes were being drilled into the land at Shortwood Farm ‘for information’ all this week.
A Nottinghamshire County Council spokesman said said that UK Coal does not require planning permission for the borehole drilling but notified the authority ‘out of courtesy’.