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Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan fights to stop Highthorn mine

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has written to the Communities Secretary Greg Clark asking him to ‘call in’ the decision by Northumberland County Council to approve plans for an opencast coal mine at Highthorn, near Druridge Bay.

The county council was 'minded to approve' the plans in the face of opposition to the proposal and a long-fought campaign by the Save Druridge campaign team, meaning the decision will be passed to the Secretary of State for their consideration.

Mrs Trevelyan, who spoke alongside conservation expert Bill Oddie at a rally in May, has asked Mr Clark to remove the application from the control of Northumberland County Council. The Secretary of State would only step in if the application in question conflicts with national policy, which Mrs Trevelyan said it does.

She has also written to Energy Secretary Amber Rudd to back her calls.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan addressing the Save Druridge picnic in May Credit: Anne-Marie Trevelyan

If Mr Clark agrees to call in the application, he will appoint an inspector to carry out an inquiry into the proposal. The inspector is required to take national policy into account, and will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State, who makes the final ruling.

Druridge Bay is a beautiful area of our Northumberland coast which would be put at risk by this decision. I am extremely concerned that this application has been approved, even though it is in direct conflict with our national policy on energy production and risks the commitments we have made under the Paris Agreement."

– Anne-Marie Trevelyan

Northumberland County Council leader Grant Davey acknowledged it was a difficult decision to make but said it was made for the benefit of the county.

I fully accept this has been a long and difficult process, with strong feelings on both sides, but I do believe this decision is in the best interests of Northumberland and its residents."

– Northumberland County Council leader Grant Davey

Jeannie Kielty, development relations coordinator at The Banks Group, said Banks Mining would invest around £120m in the North East economy through the Highthorn project, and create at least 100 jobs on the site.

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