Community Benefits?

It’s good to see local publications running articles about our opposition to the Provectus open cast mining proposals. In the last week there have been articles in the Clay Cross Shoppers Guide and Wings magazine.

Its just a pity that the recent Provectus press release, sent out by Bryn Hopkinson, has been so extensively quoted.

Since we contacted residents likely to be impacted by this project, we have been delighted at the number who have been in touch.

No mention of why they have been in touch – I doubt that many have been in support of the plans. Remember there were over 200 local residents at the Hilltop Action Group Public meeting expressing their concerns and anger at the Provectus proposals. Also the Provectus Exhibitions were packed with people raising their concerns and seeking more information. Many of their questions were left unanswered as the Provectus team were frequently unable or unwilling to provide answers.

…Ill-informed conjecture… …unnecessary anxiety…

How about ‘well informed concerns based on the experience of those who have lived near open cast sites’?

As for community benefits, I have yet to meet any local residents in favour of their proposals. Bear in mind that Provectus will be putting a relatively small amount aside for community benefits. When I asked Bryn Hopkinson at the Provectus Public Exhibition what he anticipated the per tonne Community Benefit levy would be he replied ‘about 50p per tonne’. This works out at about £100,000 – a paltry £75 for each of the estimated 1,300 households within 500m of the site.

Personally, the best community benefit would be to leave the site alone and let us enjoy the peace, quiet and the wildlife.

Provectus have made much of their intention to return the site to agricultural land. Yet, now they are talking of re-erecting the Rainbow Cafe as a visitor centre for the remains of the Ashover Light Railway. Some benefit – a theme park at the bottom of our gardens!

Another Community benefit they are offering is the preservation of the remaining Pirelli bridge abutment. The main span of the bridge was removed immediately after the closure of the Ashover Light Railway 60 years ago. The east abutment was knocked down about 20 years ago by Mr Pat Heston of Hilltop Farm when his company carried out the open cast mining in fields on the other side of the A61. The remaining west abutment has stood for about 90 years with no problems – the only risk it faces is Provectus ripping it out!

(By the way – if you want to see what farmland looks like after open cast mining take a look at the scrubland opposite Hilltop Farm.)