Village fights against open cast mine plan

Margaret Fox and other local residents, Lorraine and Kevin Richardson and Barbara Poole, overlooking the fields behind the Pineapple pub which are to be mined. (W543B245)
Margaret Fox and other local residents, Lorraine and Kevin Richardson and Barbara Poole, overlooking the fields behind the Pineapple pub which are to be mined. (W543B245)

TRAFFIC chaos, health issues and noise are all concerns families have against an opencast mine.

Residents said they will fight UK Coal’s plans to excavate 1.18 million tonnes of coal from 138 hectares of farmers’ fields between New Sharlston, Crofton and Warmfield.

More than 80 people met in Sharlston on Tuesday to discuss the multi-million pound Deanfield Surface Mine.

UK Coal has said the four-and-a-half year project could create 80 new jobs and start as soon as 2014.

But during the meeting, arranged by Stop Opencast at Sharlston (SOS), opposers said jobs would not go to local people and feared the disruption caused as work could run from 7am until 7pm.

Parish and Wakefield councillor June Cliffe wore a knitted SOS jumper and said: “We don’t want opencast mining.

“Residents have already had mining on their back doorsteps and now it is going to be right up to their front door.

“I think if we can stick together we can fight it. We need to stay together. We need you all to be with us and battle against it.”

Coun Graham Isherwood added: “We are 150 per cent against it. I have spoken to MP Jon Trickett and he is with us.”

UK Coal held an exhibition in Streethouse yesterday, but a full application won’t be submitted to Wakefield Council until the end of the year.

Residents said they feared extra traffic would travel through the village and on Crossley Street as Hell Lane would be blocked off.

They opposed the entrance of the site being at the bottom of Pineapple Hill, which would be used be workers and trucks taking 100,000 tonnes of fireclay away via the A655.

The coal would be taken to power stations via Crofton Rail Sidings, the Green Belt land fully restored back to agricultural use and the company said strict rules would minimise the impact on residents.

But parents said dust and dirt would cause respiratory problems, especially for asthmatics, and the elderly.

Campaigner Paul Dainton of Residents Against Toxic Schemes (RATS) said people needed to write individual letters to their MPs and Wakefield Council’s planning department to object.