Controversial plan is given green light

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Controversial plans to opencast mine 130 hectares of greenbelt land near Trowell and Cossall were given the go-ahead this week.

The proposals for Shortwood Farm were only just passed by Nottinghamshire County Council’s planning and licensing committee, after five members voted in favour, and four voted against.

Representations were made by local action groups and residents opposed to the plans at the meeting on Tuesday.

Campaigners said they were concerned about traffic chaos, excessive noise, dust and pollution and the ‘devastating impact’ on the landscape and environment.

Donna Butler from the action group Shortwood Farm Opencast Opposition called for a public inquiry and said many issues had been overlooked, including the close proximity of the site to local schools.

Resident Keith Harrison said the countryside – known as DH Lawrence land – should not be sacrificed.

“Greenbelt is not some sort of planning concept,” he said.

“We are talking about DH Lawrence land and the setting of the first paragraph in his novel, The Rainbow.

“This land is precious and should not be sacrificed in this way,” he said.

Mr Harrison went on to say that his son was asthmatic and he had ‘grave’ concerns about dust particles that would be generated from the site ‘for years to come’.

Cllr Owen, who represents Nuthall on the county council, said if the plans had to go ahead Trowell service station behind the site should be opened up to allow lorries access to the M1 so they could avoid village roads – something the highways agency has refused.

“These huge monstrous lorries will come out onto the A609 and go down to Nuthall Island which is one of the busiest traffic junctions in the East Midlands. Access to the motorway should be made via Trowell services. It’s absurd,” he said.

The committee’s vice chairman Sue Saddington said the five year plan was not worth 16 weeks of coal supply.

“If it was for years worth I might have a different opinion, but for 16 weeks? I find it mind boggling,” she said.

Anton Fix and David Bolton from UK Coal said the coal was needed to generate electricity for Nottinghamshire’s homes.

They said there were no material planning considerations that would allow refusal of the application, and at other surface mine sites, initial fears from the local community fell by the way side once work had started.

Committee chairman Cllr Sybil Fielding said: “To refuse planning permission, we would need sound planning reasons for doing so, or risk losing an appeal at considerable expense to the taxpayer.

“The permission allows mining to take place for less than five years and includes a comprehensive restoration plan which will have long term benefits for the local environment. The applicant demonstrated it was able to mitigate against potential sound and dust issues.”

The mining will extract 1.275m tonnes of coal and create 56 new jobs. Community funding of £207,000 will be offered by UK Coal.

Throughout the consultation 384 letters of objection were received and a 95 signature petition.