Ed Miliband – Question 10



CPRE has described opencast mining as one of the most environmentally destructive processes taking place in the UK and we have spearheaded local opposition to these in Durham, Shropshire and Yorkshire. Our experience is that noise, pollution and disruption harm residents, damage urban regeneration and discourage investment. Yet, there is a worrying trend for the Government to overturn local decisions and permit damaging schemes. What action will you take to tackle the growing pressure for an expansion of opencast mining?



Since 1999 there has been a “presumption against” opencast mining in England. It is the responsibility of local planners to consider applications taking into account the environmental impacts alongside the local or community benefits. I believe this has made a difference. There is a value to the country in maintaining access to coal reserves, as long as it’s environmentally acceptable, and this can include shallow coals suitable for surface mining. My department doesn’t play a role in making the decisions on planning applications for new coal mining developments – that falls within the remit of the Department for Communities and Local Government.


5 responses

  1. Ed Miliband has knindly answered this question although out of his remit Therefore as a point of courtesy I make a quick response
    He points out that his department doesn’t play a role in making the decisions on planning applications for new coal mining developments – and that it is within the remit of the Department for Communities and Local Government

    That will be useful for anyone who does not know
    Ed Miliband also points out “There is a value to the country in maintaining access to coal reserves, as long as it’s environmentally acceptable, and this can include shallow coals suitable for surface mining”

    Environmentally acceptable is the key phrase
    One of our valued Durham members,Pitch Wilson,with his specialist knowledge, has since1970 campaigned against open cast mining that was destroying the countryside.Pitch will no doubt continue to keep environmentally acceptable at the heart of his involvement

    10 July, 2009 at 11:12 am

  2. I thank you for your contribution to this debate as it has allowed people to at least voice their concerns, some of which you may not be aware of and often something they are not able to do
    I have 2 questions I wish to ask as a result of recent events

    Question 1
    Will the proposed changes to the Ofgem site as from 1st April 2009 still provide sufficient data, available to the public to allow continued monitoring of generation output? This appears to be our only way to monitor the situation

    We needed to build and have wind turbines operating to see how they actually performed in respect of electrical generation and saving carbon dioxide emissions.
    Using data from the ofgem website it has been possible to determine how well the operating turbines are performing The results for 2002-2007 covering the 10 North East wind farms Malcolm Wicks said had no problems

    % Load factors for 2008 for Holmside13.33 Harehill16.99 and High volts18.66 These are the case studies in DTI ‘It’s only natural campaign 2004’

    Question 2
    Are we concerned with reducing carbon dioxide emissions to help combat climate change or simply installing wind turbines to meet targets

    Section 1 of the Climate Change Act 2008
    It is the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the net UK carbon account for the year 2050 is at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline.
    The coalition led by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) and Friends of the Earth has I understand petitioned the DCLG for an updated climate change policy It believes that the current climate change supplement to PPS1 and PPS22 on renewable energy are now out of date due it states. to the Climate Change Act, 2008 the UK’s and the Renewable Energy Strategy.2009
    The coalition also maintained that more consideration of onshore wind energy is needed in the fight against climate change”

    Finally I do however find it difficult to marry some of the comments you make both here and in the reply you so kindly sent to my letter a few weeks ago with the facts relating to onshore wind farms in the North East
    I realise you must rely on your advisors as with eight energy ministers in as many years there can not be continuity Nevertheless I wonder who advises the advisors

    29 July, 2009 at 12:41 pm

  3. Having found the need to post some comments as a community member,I felt it essential to clarify our Branch involvement as CPRE

    As these are at such an early stage specific details have been removed to respect commercial confidentiality

    Dear Elizabeth,
    I would like to confirm receipt of CPRE’s response to four wind energy development proposals in Co. Durham – namely xxxxxxxx ,xxxxxx, xxxxx xxxx and xxxx xxxxx– dated 3rd August 2009.
    Many thanks for the very quick consultation response – it is much appreciated.

    I will endeavour to keep you up-to-speed on the progress of the proposals, and I look forward to discussing matters with you further in the near future.
    Thanks again.
    xxx xxxxxx| Development Officer
    —————————————————————-FAO xxx xxxxxx xxxx xxxxxxxx August 3rd 2009
    From Elizabeth Mann Durham Branch Chair on behalf of Durham Branch Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE)

    Subject : Proposals for wind turbines at xxxxxxxx xxxxxs in Co Durham; xxxxxxxx,xxxxxx,xxxxxx xxxxx and xxxx xxxxx

    We offer some general points at this early stage and will look at specific issues for each site as the proposals develop

    • Landscape does not seem a problem and it is unlikely there will be people living nearby However CPRE landscape concerns cover not only the designation of the landscape but how it will affect people who live work or visit the area

    • The cumulative effect is already of great concern in Co Durham as is the height of these turbines at 126 metres and particularly the potential effect on aviation We note that all Sedgefield Borough is in line of sight of Durham Tees Valley Airport

    • We wonder whether all the electricity generated is to be used at the sewage works and although it is not deemed a planning consideration ,the level of support from the Renewable Obligations Certificates ROCs

    • There are issues which have not yet been resolved regarding wind turbines, namely Noise, Aviation and Wind speeds
    There are other organisations etc I am sure you will have /will contact e.g.
    There could be issues re Highways
    There may be concerns regarding birds on any proposal on the xxxxxxx xxxxxx coa particularly any in close proximity to the xxxx xxxxxxxx
    We hope these comments are constructive and would appreciate being involved as you decide whether or not to progress the developments

    4 August, 2009 at 8:57 pm

  4. Tony Jarvis

    As I said earlier, coal is terrible stuff, whether you’re digging it out of the ground or burning it. I thought we were off dirty coal in the 80s, but now Mr Miliband won’t even rule out ripping up the countryside for it!

    10 August, 2009 at 3:00 pm

  5. Kathleen Ryan

    Surely Mr Miliband has some power over coal decisions – it is his department where the Office for CCS will be housed, after all. What work has been done to quantify the emissions caused by coal mining in the first place? Carbon capture and storage won’t capture these emissions.

    10 August, 2009 at 3:15 pm

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