Controversial mining plan takes a big step forward

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Controversial plans for an opencast mine near to the villages of Cossall and Trowell have taken a big step forward — after a powerful government minister decided not to intervene.

UK Coal is behing the scheme at Shortwood Farm and its bid to extract 1.275 million tonnes of coal was given the green light by Notts County Council last December

But Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who has the power to overturn such decisions, has now decided not to ‘call in’ the application for closer scrutiny.

The scheme also includes plans to excavate 250,000 tonnes of fireclay.

Strong objections have been raised by local residents and Broxtowe’s Conservative MP, Anna Soubry.

A petition of more than 1,000 names had been collected by locals objecting to the mine.

But Sally Gill, head of planning at the county council, said the authority was pleased by the news. She said: “We welcome the decision by the Secretary of State not to call in this application.

“We will now continue work on the legal agreements, with a view to formally issuing consent in the near future.”

Consent is subject to a number of matters being incorporated in a legal agreement — including the creation of a community fund to support local projects, bridleway repairs, road junction improvements and a structural survey of the Bennerley Viaduct — all to be funded by UK Coal.

UK Coal also welcomed the decision.