Hilltop Action Group was set up by a group of very concerned residents in the days immediately after Provectus distributed their newsletter on 14 April 2012. This was the first formal notification we had of their proposal to open cast mine 30 hectares (75 acres) of perfectly good farmland to the west of the A61 between Clay Cross and the Royal Oak roundabout.
Test bore drilling last October warned us something was afoot
So far Provectus have not submitted a planning application to Derbyshire County Council (DCC). [Mineral extraction is dealt with by the County Council, not District or Parish.] Earlier this year they requested a Scoping Opinion from DCC. Details of their submission were obtained from the DCC Planning website. The documents of particular interest are:
Provectus plan to excavate the area to a depth of 100ft over a 3-4 year period in order to extract around 200,000 tonnes of coal. They hope to sell it to Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station. We think it would keep the power station running for about 2 weeks!
In Scotland and Wales, such mining activity cannot take place within 500m of houses by law. No such protection exists in England! We estimate that there are about 1300 houses within 500m of this site. In fact, all parts of the site are within 500m of a house.
DCC issued its Scoping Opinion on 12 March 2012 spelling out the issues that the Planning Authority expects Provectus to address in its planning application.
Hilltop Action Group organised a Public Meeting in Holmgate Community Centre on Friday 18 May 20012 where we were able to present all this information to over 200 very concerned residents from Old Tupton, Holmgate and Clay Cross. Provectus had two days of Public Exhibitions the following week where the were overwhelmed by locals demanding more information. Little was forthcoming, for the most part they were stumped for answers and left local residents even angrier about their plans.
Clay Cross is seeing years of regeneration coming to fruition after the reclamation and restoration of contaminated industrial land. Whilst most accept the need for remediation of local sites blighted by nearly 200 years of mining and heavy industry the Provectus proposals are just the exploitation of a greenfield site for the financial gain of a few with no benefit to local communities and businesses.
Please join local communities and businesses campaigning to stop these open cast mining proposals.
Please remember, Provectus have not yet submitted a formal Planning Application to the Planning Authority – they say that they intend to do this sometime in the Autumn. Until that time there is no point in sending objections to Derbyshire County Council Planning Department.
Please write to your local councillors or MP now expressing your concerns about the open cast mining proposals. The leaflet we distributed about the July drop- in sessions has contact details. [Click here to download a copy of the leaflet]
Representatives of Hilltop Action Group committee were invited to a meeting on Friday 3 August with Provectus, arranged and chaired by Natascha Engle (MP for NE Derbyshire). We stated that the sole objective of the Action Group is to oppose the open cast mining proposals and we could not be moved from this position. Provectus agreed to keep us informed of the progress of their planning application. [See Latest News – 13 August for more details]
In the meantime keep using the Have your say page to let everyone know your concerns about the impact of the open cast mining proposal on the local communities and businesses.