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Former pit goes back to nature

Easington Colliery, which closed in 1993. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A new proposal aims to breathe new life into an old coal mine with plans to turn land in Easington Colliery into a nature reserve.

The former colliery, on the outskirts of the village towards the coast, closed in 1993 and the site was landscaped for wildlife and recreation six years later.

Now, proposals have been unveiled to declare the land, which is owned by Durham County Council, as a local nature reserve to help protect the site for future generations and get more local people involved.

Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) are a great place for families to enjoy and to interact with the natural environment.

By formally declaring the site as a nature reserve we would be protecting it in the long-term and providing an accessible recreational facility in Easington as well as allowing local groups to help offer environmental learning and health-based events for the whole community.

– Cllr Neil Foster, the council's Cabinet member for economic regeneration

The site boasts a high conservation value as it contains species such as the common toad, skylark and dingy skipper butterfly.

It also features many different types of habitats including woodland, ponds and lowland meadow.

As well as highlighting the area's natural qualities, confirming the site as a LNR will also help attract future funding to further improve public access and nature conservation.

Consultation with the local community has shown strong support for the plan with many residents expressing an interest in getting involved. It has also been welcomed and backed by Natural England.

The proposal is due to go before members of Durham County Council's Cabinet when they meet at County Hall later today (October 15).

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Three arrested after fraud claims at school

Glendene Arts Academy, Easington. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Three people have been arrested following allegations of fraud at a school in County Durham.

Police say concerns were raised about alleged financial irregularities at Glendene Arts Academy in Easington.

The school is for children with learning difficulties.

Three people have been arrested after fraud claims at Glendene Arts Academy in Easington. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A 57-year-old man and a 56-year-old woman were arrested in Whitley Bay.

A 41-year-old man was also arrested in Darlington.

Driver dies in car accident

A driver has died following an accident near to Easington services in County Durham.

A silver Peugeot 206 is thought to have left the road at around 12.30am on Friday March 7, and hit a lamppost.

The driver was taken to James Cook Hospital where he died.

Officers investigating the incident are appealing for anyone who may have seen the incident to contact them on 101 and ask for Durham Constabulary.

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Exhibition of mining history for 30th anniversary of miners' strike

With the 30th anniversary of the miners' strike approaching, an exhibition of mining history has been held in County Durham.

Hundreds of people visited Easington's Welfare Club to see memorabilia and hear brass band music. The town's pit was the scene of many protests during the 1984 strike.

Brass band plays in Easingotn 30 years after miners went out on strike Credit: ITV
Exhibition held at Easington Welfare Club Credit: ITV

Full Report: Easington miners celebrate Thatcher's funeral

Flags were flying at half mast across the country today - but the councils in Newcastle, Gateshead, Durham and York did not lower their flags for the funeral of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

In Easington, ex-miners celebrated - to mark the 20th anniversary of the closure of Easington Colliery - and the death of the woman they say led to its decline.

Watch the full report below.

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