Minister refuses planning permission for open-cast mine at coastal beauty spot

Plans for an open-cast coal mine beside a tranquil stretch of coast have been overturned by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid amid fears about its environmental impact.

Local councillors had approved the plans for the site at Druridge Bay in Northumberland despite protests from environmentalists.

Banks Mining had argued that its plans for the proposed surface mine for coal, sandstone and fire clay would create at least 100 jobs and boost the local economy.

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A spokesman for Mr Javid's department said: "Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has today refused planning permission for a surface mine for the extraction of coal at Highthorn, Druridge Bay, Northumberland.

"He has considered all the evidence heard at the public inquiry, together with the recommendation of the planning inspector.

"His decision took account of all material considerations, including the potential environmental impacts of the scheme."

Northumberland County Council's initial backing for the scheme was controversial, given the UK's pledge to phase out burning polluting coal for power by 2025 to cut carbon emissions that cause climate change.

At the time, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said the council's decision was short-sighted and that an open-cast mine would have huge implications for local tourism and wildlife including otters, dolphins and pink-footed geese.