Approved – 1 March 2010

BANKS MINING INVESTIGATING PLANS FOR NEW NORTHUMBERLAND SURFACE MINE

Banks Mining has announced that it intends to submit a planning application for a new surface coal mine in south east Northumberland.
The proposed Ferneybeds site is located eight miles north west of Ashington, to the south of the village of Widdrington Station, and initial investigations suggest that it contains an estimated 750,000 tonnes of coal.
Banks is now set to carry out drilling investigations to confirm the details of the coal reserves and is submitting a scoping report to Northumberland County Council as part of initial consultations prior to the submission of a planning application later this year.
The site has been identified as a suitable site for a surface mine and it offers easy access to the nearby A1068, which would negate the need for arriving or departing HGVs to travel through Widdrington Station.
It is also a sufficient distance from the village, ensuring that environmental issues are well managed to comply with Northumberland County Council’s required limits.
If the site goes ahead it would support around 40 jobs, as well as supporting many others in local supply chain businesses.

A full public consultation process will be carried out by Banks, to ensure local people have the opportunity to get as much information as possible and to provide feedback which will be fed into the development of proposals for the site.
Banks currently operates the Shotton surface mine on the Blagdon Estate to the west of Cramlington, and recently received approval for proposals for a new surface mine at Brenkley Lane near Seaton Burn.
Mark Dowdall, Banks’ environment and community director, adds: “The coal industry continues to make a significant contribution to the regional economy and coal is also a crucial part of the ‘energy mix’ required to meet the UK’s power requirements.
“We are confident that we can bring forward plans for a sensitively design and well managed proposals for the Ferneybeds surface mine and will engage with a wide range of stakeholders over the coming weeks and months to explain the scheme in more detail and importantly to listen to their views.
- ends -

For further information, please contact Julian Christopher at Footprint Public Relations on 07891 005034

Notes to editors
The Banks Group was founded in 1976 in County Durham.  It now employs 350 people across offices in County Durham, Hamilton and Chesterfield.  It specialises in major projects in the renewable energy, property, surface coal mining and waste management sectors.

Banks’ ‘Development With Care’ approach ensures sites are developed in close consultation with the community as well as carrying out extensive environmental assessments.