In Scotland, the policy on opencast mining is set out in Scottish Planning Policy (February 2010) which states that surface coal extraction is unlikely to be environmentally acceptable where site boundaries are within 500 metres of the edge of a community apart from in some exceptional circumstances.
In Wales, the policy on opencast mining is set out in Minerals Technical Advice Note 2: Coal (MTAN2) (January 2009) which provides for a 500 metre “buffer zone” between opencast sites and settlements, apart from in some exceptional circumstances.
In England there is no such law!
A Private Members’ Bill (Ballot Bill), Planning (Opencast Mining Separation Zones) Bill 2010-12 sponsored by Andrew Bridgen (MP for North West Leicestershire) was given its first reading in the House of Commons on 30 June 2010. Its 2nd reading on 11 February 2011 ran out of time and was scheduled again on 28 October 2011. The order to read the Bill a second time has lapsed and there is no indication when the Bill will progress further.
Further attempts have been made to get a 500m Separation Zone into the Localism Bill but that too failed.
There is nothing to stop them mining at the bottom of your garden!
Take a look at the site plans published by Provectus – the grid squares are 100m. If England had a 500m Separation Zone none of the proposed site could be open cast mined.
It would be interesting to count how many properties are within 100m, 200m and 500m of the proposed site. (I haven’t had time yet but someone might like to try it.) These figures could give a useful comparison to other open cast planning applications and appeals.