Wakefield Council pledges to help miners at doomed Kellingley Colliery

Kellingley Colliery
Kellingley Colliery

Wakefield Council says it will offer support to miners at Kellingley Colliery, which is expected to close within 18 months.

Nearly 80 per cent of miners voted in favour of pit operator UK Coal’s proposal for the ‘managed closure’ of the site in a ballot.

The plan would see £20m of investment from the government and private sector to close Kellingley by December 2015.

Council leader Peter Box said: “As yet we’ve not had a timetable on the closure plan, nor a breakdown of the postcodes of the workforce to allow detailed planning on the scale of the projected job losses.

“We are, however, talking to other councils, JobCentre Plus, the Department for Work and Pensions and other agencies to provide advice on finance, benefits and to link skilled people with jobs in appropriate sectors.”

Mr Box said the council had learnt lessons from previous pit closures across the district and would also be working with local MPs, unions and investors to try and secure investment for long term future for the pit beyond the 18 month ‘managed closure’ period.

Andrew Mackintosh, UK Coal’s director of communications, said he was pleased with the result but it did not confirm the managed closure would definitely go ahead.

He said: “This is a great step forward for us. This was one of the final hurdles we had to overcome.

“We’ve now got to take the results back to the investors and they have to decide on whether to grant the funding.”

Mr Mackintosh said he hoped they would have made a decision “within a week.”