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DURHAM CC OPENCAST POLICY IF APPLIED NATIONALLY 'WOULD KILL MINING' - CLAIM

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Opencast coal operators yesterday told a public inquiry that Durham CC's policy towards mining - if applied nationa...
Opencast coal operators yesterday told a public inquiry that Durham CC's policy towards mining - if applied nationally - would destroy the industry.

The Journal reports that a government inspector is considering evidence before recommending what can be included in the Mineral Local Plan.

Durham wants the plan to ban all new opencast mines until 2006, except in exceptional circumstances.

However, Philip Baker, a planning and quality manager for HJ Banks and Co Ltd, said: 'The county council states that exceptional circumstances exist which justify its restrictive approach to opencast mining.

'The council has failed to recognise the economic, employment and environmental benefits of opencast coal mining and have overstated the adverse impacts.'

He added: 'The restrictions proposed by the county council are unique to County Durham. If such a policy were adopted nationally it would result in the end of the opencast industry.'

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