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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).