Controversial plans for a sprawling opencast mine could be given the go-ahead next week, despite almost 400 objections.
UK Coal Surface Mines Ltd wants to mine 1.16m tonnes of coal and up to 100,000 tonnes of fireclay on land between Crofton, Heath, Warmfield and New Sharlston.
A report prepared for a meeting of Wakefield Council’s planning committee, which meets on Thursday, said 387 objections have been received from locals, town and parish councils and Jon Trickett MP.
Objectors are worried about the impact the scheme will have on health, and say it is ‘too much, too soon’ after the Sharlston Colliery reclamation.
They say they have a right to a ‘peaceful life’ after five years of noise and fume pollution.
Other concerns have been raised about dust, desecration of the environment and vibration.
George Balaam, of Sharlston Parish Council and Stop Opencast at Sharlston (SOS), urged people to go along to Thursday’s meeting to show the strength of feeling against the plans.
He said: “This scheme will tear the heart out of the community. Coal built Sharlston and now it wants to kill it and the surrounding areas.”
But the report said 16 letters had also been received in support of the application, from coal industry workers and those with transport and freight interests, as well as a 113-signature petition from Sharlston residents.
Planning officers have recommended the application for approval, subject to a number of conditions, including the completion of mining and restoration of the land by no later than six months. The report concludes: “The proposals will not cause any unacceptable adverse impacts on the natural and historic environment or human health.”
It added: “Where there is potential for unacceptable adverse impacts, planning conditions can be imposed.”