Scoping Opinion

I have received a copy of the Scoping Opinion issued by Derbyshire County Council Planning Department to Provectus on 12 March 2012. This document is:

Consideration by the Council as Mineral Planning Authority of a formal request made by CJS Planning, as agent for Provectus, for a Scoping Opinion about the issues to be considered in an Environmental Statement to accompany an intended planning application to extract coal by surface mining methods at Hill Top Farm, Clay Cross.

The document spells out all the issues that the Planning Authority expects Provectus to address in its planning application.

As this document does not appear to be available on the DCC site I am making a copy available. Click here to see the Scoping Opinion.

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Comment from Bryn Hopkinson – Provectus

This afternoon Bryn Hopkinson of Provectus submitted a comment to this blog. As the owner and moderator of this site I have chosen not to approve it. (This is the first and only comment I have not approved.)

I set up this blog at my own expense to provide a focus for those opposed to the Hilltop Open Cast project. Provectus have their own web site which they are welcome to use to put forward their views and such information as they wish to put in the public domain. I do not intend to provide them with free publicity.

I have, from the start, provided links on this site to their website but they have not done the same in return!

In his comment he says that he has set up a blog on the Provectus website to address issues raised on this blog. In fact he has merely posted a statement – there is no facility for  public debate or comment. [Click here to see it]

If you feel that I have made the wrong decision and should approve Bryn Hopkinson’s comment (and any further comments from Provectus) post a comment and let me know.

Who is behind the scheme?

The letter in the Provectus newsletter states:

“…Provectus Remidation Limited who have been engaged by a group of local farmers and landowners…”

So far we have not seen anything about these local farmers and landowners who are behind the Hilltop Open Cast Mining scheme.

It’s time we knew who they are. To the best of my knowledge there are 3 of them:

  1. The owner of Hilltop Farm. I don’t know who he is. Does anyone?
  2. Most of the fields are farmed, and I assume owned, by the Marriotts of Woodthorpe Grange Farm on Ashover Road (that’s the one with the milk vending machines at the farm entrance).
  3. The farmer/owner of the northern most field (behind Ashover Road). I don’t have a name. Does anyone know who it is?

Please post a reply if you can correct or update this information.

Opencast Mining Separation Zones

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.

[Click here to find out more about this Bill]

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.

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