Opencast mining

Opencast coal mining

Is surface mining the answer to our energy concerns or the reason much of the countryside is now facing unnecessary destruction? CPRE’s members’ magazine, Countryside Voice, recently asked a supporter and a critic to join the debate.

David Brewer


David Brewer is Director General of UK trade confederation Coalpro

Coal will be burned in this country for a long time to come. Around two-thirds of what we use is imported, but indigenous coal is on the rise. Why import something if we can produce it ourselves? Imports are not, in themselves, insecure, and they are available from multiple locations internationally. However, from time to time they may suffer from political instability – for example, gas pipelines can be turned off if we fall into dispute with Russia. We can compete – and we should.

Steve LearyAGAINST

Steve Leary is Chair of the Leicestershire-based Minorca Opencast Protest Group (MOPG)

Oppencast mining is an extremely damaging method of extracting coal. When a mine is in operation, high earth banks or bunds surround the site to hide its destructive effects. In our case, if UK Coal’s application to reopen the Minorca pit site between Measham and Swepstone is successful, this visual intrusion will last for over five years and stretch for three miles, cutting people off from the views they cherish – until the site has been restored.


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