Objections to new application

We have now submitted a summary of all our objections to the new Provectus Remediation Ltd planning application (CM4/1215/125).

Click here to read the document (very large file – 91 pages)
or here to read the short version (without appendices).

The official closing date for the submission of objections is Friday 4 March 2016, but if you still wish to send in you own objection they will be accepted until 3 days before the application goes before the DCC Planning Committee for a decision.

Provectus put out a statement on their website on 9 February 2016 stating  “…it is hoped that the application will proceed rapidly to determination.

We think that this will happen at the 11 April (or possibly 9 May) planning meeting.


New Application Update

Site Notices have now been put up on telegraph poles around the proposed site and letters sent to residents living nearest to the site boundary giving details of the consultation period.

The notices state that representations should be submitted by 4 March 2016.

However, we understand that all objections submitted to the original application will be carried forward to this new application.

We have now had a good read through all the many documents in the new application and have found no really significant changes. Fortunately Provectus have highlighted all the amendments in red, as they were requested to do, which made the task easier.

Apart from clarification of some anomalies in the previous documents the only real change is the relocation of the site offices to the rear of Hilltop Farm rather than in the Incomol buildings.

Bearing this in mind, there is probably no need for everyone to resubmit objections. However, if you have new concerns or wish to emphasise that your previous objections still stand, you can submit your comments in the same way as before. Also, if you always meant to send in an objection but didn’t get around to it you now have another opportunity.

Click here to see the instructions for submitting objections. (Remember to use the new application code: CM4/1215/125)

We anticipate that the DCC Planning Department will want to process this as quickly as possible. So, unless there are any major problems, the application is likely to be put to the April or possibly May Planning Committee Meeting for a decision.

Don’t forget to use the Have your say page to leave your comments

New planning application submitted

You may have thought that, because everything had gone very quiet in the last few months, nothing more was going to be heard of Provectus and their opencast mining plans.

I’m afraid you were wrong, Provectus Remediation Ltd have at last got around to submitting their revised application.

Back in September it was announced that they were withdrawing their application because of a procedural defect but would immediately re-submit it in essentially the same form, save for the corrected notices and technical updates. (See previous post)

It’s taken them nearly five months to get around to it!

The new application has now been validated and the documents are available on the DCC Planning website (application code: CM4/1215/125).

The Planning Authority are expected to commence a 21 day consultation exercise in the near future (notices will appear on local telegraph poles).

We will be carefully analysing the new application documents in the next few days to see if there are any substantial changes and will then decide whether we need to submit any new objections.

Hopefully the application will now move quickly to being presented to the Planning Committee and a decision finally made.

We will keep you informed of developments.

Application Withdrawn…

…but to be resubmitted straight away!

We recently submitted what we thought were our final objections anticipating that the application would soon be going before the Planning Committee for a decision.

How wrong we were!

On Thursday 3 September Provectus Remediation Ltd announced that they were withdrawing their application because of a procedural defect but would immediately re-submit it in essentially the same form, save for the corrected notices and technical updates.

So we’re nearly back to square one!

We have been assured by the DCC Planning Department that all the objections sent in by Hilltop Action Group and hundreds of local residents will be carried forward to the new application. We do not need to resubmit them.

Provectus Remediation Ltd have been instructed to make clear any significant changes in their resubmitted documents. We will still need to check them carefully.

Once the new application is in, DCC Planning Department will have to go through another publicity and consultation exercise.

The assessment of the application should be carried out within 13 weeks so the December Planning Committee Meeting looks likely.

This all looks like another example of incompetence on the part of Provectus Remediation Ltd.

Article 11 of the Town and Country Planning [Development Management Procedure] [England] Order 2010 requires that  ‘an applicant for planning permission shall give requisite notice of the application to any person (other than the applicant) who on the prescribed date is an owner of the land to which the application relates, or a tenant‘.

In their statement they say that for reasons beyond the control of Provectus some of the notices … had not been served.

Yet the regulations clearly state it is the obligation of the applicant to serve the notices.  If they weren’t served it was because they didn’t do it – they can’t try to put the blame on someone else.

How many more things can they get wrong?

  • Licence for exploratory drilling obtained retrospectively
  • Mineral Application Form incorrectly and misleadingly filled in
  • Out-of-date cross-section diagrams submitted
  • Ignoring the watercourse that runs through the middle of the proposed coal processing area
  • etc, etc

We’ll let you know when the new application is in and whether there appear to be any significant changes to their proposals.

Petition Presentation

Protest-Presentation webSupporters of Hilltop Action Group today met at Derbyshire County Council Offices in Matlock to present a petition to the Council.

Norman Humprhys organised a team of volunteers at the end of 2014 to canvass all the houses within 1km of the proposed Hilltop Opencast site. They did a sterling job in often terrible weather and collected over 1600 signatures – very few refused to sign.

Cllr Dean Collins ((Highways, Transport and Infrastructure) met us on the front steps to receive the petition from Norman.


This petition, along with well over 200 letters of objection already submitted by local residents to the planning authority, demonstrates the strength of local opposition to the proposed scheme.

We are still waiting to hear when the application will be put before the planning committee for a decision, but anticipate it will be sometime this autumn.

Planning Committee meetings are scheduled for:

  • Monday 7 September
  • Monday 5 October
  • Monday 9 November

The committee are likely to make a site visit in the morning with the formal meeting in the afternoon at Derbyshire County Council offices in Matlock.

We will probably only get a few days notice of the meeting so will have to move quickly to get everyone organised. A representative sample of objectors will be invited to address the meeting (three minutes each).

We want as many as possible to attend the meeting so that councillors on the Planning Committee are aware of the strength of local opposition when they make their decision.

Make a note of these dates and try to keep them free so that you can be there.


More objections submitted by Hilltop Action Group

The Hilltop Action Group committee have submitted two more objections to Derbyshire County Council today.

15  Regulation 22 Documents

A statement that the documents recently submitted by Provectus Remediation Ltd merely rectify some of the many errors, omissions and discrepancies Hilltop Action Group identified in the original submission of October 2014. There have been no material changes to the proposal. Hence, all objections previously submitted by Hilltop Action Group are still relevant.

Click here to read the full document

16 Community Benefits

Discussion of the proposed community Benefits and a statement that the proposal provides no local or community benefits which could possibly outweigh the likely impacts to justify the grant of planning permission.

Click here to read the full document

Revised documents submitted by Provectus

Provectus Remediation Ltd submitted new documents to the Mineral Planning Authority on 15 May 2015. This was in response to the request made by the planners back in January. These had originally been expected by the end of March but, as usual, Provectus were dilatory in responding.

The new documents can be seen on the planning website.

We now expect Derbyshire County Council to run another consultation exercise to allow the submission of new objections and comments (the details should appear on notices on local telegraph poles).

Hilltop Action Group have looked carefully at the documents and can find nothing which substantially changes the application. They merely rectify some of the many errors, omissions and discrepancies in the original submission.

Most of the concerns and objections raised by Hilltop Action Group and others have not been addressed.

  • noise levels predicted to be above the recommended maximum of background + 10dBA
  • health concerns due to dust
  • site safety
  • visual impact
  • slope stability due to old mine workings and proximity to A61
  • hydrological impact – residential properties on eastern fringe of site on strata above coal seams and therefore affected by groundwater drawdown
  • unprecedented proximity of so many residential properties, care homes, schools, nurseries, community facilities to the site

Hence all previously submitted objections are still relevant.

Hilltop Action Group will be submitting further objections in the near future.

If you have not yet submitted your objection, now is the time to do it.

If you have already submitted an objection, you might consider sending in a new submission stating the as the application has not materially changed you previous objection stands.

Site notices have now appeared on some telegraph poles. Information not very clear but it appears that the new consultation period runs until Thursday 25 June 2015.

Further Delays

We have been informed that in January the Derbyshire County Council Planning Authority formally requested further and additional information about the proposal from the applicant in relation to the following main topic areas:

  • Landscape and Visual Impact
  • Ecology
  • Flood Risk
  • Archaeology
  • Restoration
  • Highway Access
  • Services

The request for further information took into account the comments made by consultees and the letters of representation that have been received.

The Planning Authority is currently waiting for Provectus Remediation Ltd to submit this new information. It is anticipated that it will be received by the end of March 2015.

Once they have received the information Derbyshire County Council (the Mineral Planning Authority) will carry out a further consultation/publicity exercise and members of the public will have the opportunity to comment further on the application.

No date has yet been set for the determination of this application so it would appear that we will have to wait a few more months before we know the outcome of the Hilltop Application.

Hilltop Action Group will carefully review any new information submitted by Provectus Remediation Ltd and then make further representations to the Mineral Planning Authority as necessary.

(Derbyshire County Council accept representations outside the formal publicity period, but urge that  correspondence is submitted as soon as possible so that it can be properly reflected in the evaluation of applications.)

Good News

Some Good News

We are not the only group in the country fighting opencast mining plans. In the last few weeks we have heard of two sites that are not going ahead:

  • The Liquidators of UK Coal Surface Mining have now informed Staffordshire County Council that they are withdrawing their application to opencast on the Great Oak site near Bignall End
  • A victory against the Marley Hill surface mine proposal (on the Gateshead / Co Durham boundary). Gateshead originally approved the application, but Co Durham refused permission and the Durham Case Officer says that there is not going to be an appeal.

Not all developers manage to get their applications passed so there is hope for us yet.

The February Derbyshire County Council Planning meeting has now been and gone and the Hilltop Farm scheme was not on the agenda. The next scheduled planning meeting is on Monday 9 March so we’ll wait to hear if it makes that one.


On Thursday 29 January 2015 there was a debate in the House of Commons about the restoration of open-cast coal sites. Our local MP made an impassioned contribution, citing the mess left behind by Maximus on the old Biwater site.

The full transcript of her speech is given below. (Taken from Hansard, the official record of House of Commons Debates)

Natascha Engel (North East Derbyshire) (Lab): I hope to speak for much less than six minutes, because I have only one and a half examples to cite, although I want to ask the Minister some very specific questions about them.

I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgend (Mrs Moon) for initiating the debate, because it is very important. It concerns a legacy in coalfield areas that already contain some of the most deprived communities in the country. To be hit again after all these years makes things even worse for those communities.

I want to talk about a 204-acre site near Clay Cross, which was very toxic. An exciting plan was submitted by a company called Maximus, which proposed not just to restore the site, but to excavate the coal and build 1,000 new homes, as well as sports fields and changing rooms for which there was a large amount of section 106 money. People were very excited because there would be plenty of affordable homes. However, after the coal had been extracted, not 1,000 but 100 very high-end houses were built and sold for a great deal of money, and then the company went into voluntary administration. About 200 of the 204 acres are still uncapped, and the site is an enormous eyesore. Grey shingle has just been left on the ground, and, because the site is very high up, it is very visible from every angle.

To add insult to injury, the company—under a different name, Provectus—moved a mere few metres down the road to the neighbouring village of Tupton, and submitted another planning application for a very similar development. It will take ages for that application to be put together. The local residents, all of whom live very close to the site, are aware of it. Derbyshire county council is in a terrible bind, because it is having to spend a lot of time and money on offices and lawyers. The company itself is much wealthier than the residents. Meanwhile, house prices have dropped, people cannot move, and they are very worried about an increase in traffic. There is a 2,000-pupil secondary school right on the doorstep. People are very worried about this. Once the planning application goes to the county council, even if it overturns it the applicants will appeal, and it will go to the national Planning Inspectorate and the chances are that it will be overturned.

That would disregard the feelings of local people, and it does not take into account what these people have done only metres down the road. I want to know from the Minister what can be done to stop these people, who can only be called cowboys. They are going to do exactly what they have done in Clay Cross in Tupton. This is a big issue for local residents, and they are really worried about it.

As the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Sir Alan Beith) just said, we are looking at other sites beyond our borders and seeing what is happening there. It is very alarming to hear what is happening in Wales, and this pattern is being replicated up and down the country. The worst thing about it is that it is the people who are living on the doorstep who are having to suffer all the air pollution, the lorry-loads and everything else. And who ends up paying for capping off those open-cast sites? It is the local taxpayers. I would therefore like to know what the Minister is planning to do about this.

(Contains Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Parliament Licence v3.0.)

January Update

We have certainly been giving the Planning Authority plenty of work. So far there have been over 200 objections sent in by local residents opposed to the scheme.

Although the published deadline for sending in objections was 12 December 2014, the planning website says ‘The County Council will take into account all representations which are received up until three days before the proposal is considered for decision.So, if you had meant to send in an objection but just didn’t get around to it, there is still time.

Hilltop Action Group Committee has also been busy sending in objections – 12 so far.  We have still got a few more to complete and send in.

The ones submitted so far are (over 60 pages in total):

  1. Validity of Noise Assessment Report
  2. Accuracy of Mineral Application Form
  3. Communities Affected by the Hilltop Scheme
  4. Noise
  5. Geological & Hydrogeological Issues
  6. Inconsistent & Missing Drawings
  7. Water Attenuation Lagoons & Water Discharge
  8. Public Rights of Way
  9. Air Quality
  10. Health Impact
  11. Transport Assessment
  12. Ecology

The full text of these can be found from the menu on the left.

At the moment we have no idea when the Planning Committee meeting, which will make the decision on the application, will be. Scheduled dates for the next few Planning Committee meetings are: 9 February , 9 March , 20 April , 11 May , 8 June, 13 July, 10 August and 7 September. We will probably only get about five days notice.

More Objections Submitted

We have submitted four more objection documents to the planning authority today.

  • Geological and Hydrogeological issues
  • Inconsistent and missing drawings
  • Water Attenuation Lagoons and Water Discharge
  • Public Rights of Way

The full text of these objections can be found under Hilltop Action Group Objections in the menu on the left.

We hope to get more sent in before the official deadline for submissions on Friday 12 December 2014.

Have you sent in your objection yet?

Don’t forget, the more personal objections that are sent in, the better our chances of getting this scheme stopped.

For advice on writing your objection and how to send it in click on WRITING YOUR OBJECTION in the menu on the left.


A group of sterling volunteers is visiting every house within 1km of the Hilltop Site to collect signatures on a petition to be sent to the planning department.

The Derbyshire Times

There was another article in The Derbyshire Times this week in which Natascha Engel MP expresses her opposition to the plans and gives her support to the campaign to get it stopped.

Don’t forget to use the Have your say page to leave your comments 


We have just submitted our fourth objection.

The noise from a fleet of heavy plant working twelve hours a day within 50m of some houses and always within 500m of a residential property will be intrusive and definitely unwanted.

  • The Hilltop Action Group objection covers the following topics:
  • Interpretation of National Planning Policy Framework Guidance
  • Choice and suitability of Noise Sensitive Properties
  • Relevance of planning decisions offered as precedents
  • Northern haul road at entrance to processing area
  • Effect of noise on neighbouring communities
  • Effect of weather on noise propagation

This planning application by Provectus Remediation Ltd clearly breaches the guidelines as the anticipated noise levels are environmentally unacceptable. Furthermore, no national, local or community benefits have been demonstrated which would clearly outweigh the likely impacts.

On the grounds of unacceptable noise levels alone this application does not justify the grant of planning permission.

You can read the full details of the objection here or by selecting it in the Objections menu.

Don’t forget to use the Have your say page to leave your comments

Public Meetings

The two public meetings on Friday and Saturday were well supported by local residents who came along to find out how they could submit their own objections to the Hilltop Opencasting Scheme.

Local Parish, District and County Councillors expressed their unreserved opposition to the proposals and support for the Hilltop Action Group campaign.

Natascha Engel (MP for NE Derbyshire) has expressed her support for our campaign. She is holding a meeting on Wednesday 19 November 2014 at 7.30pm in Clay Cross Social Centre to tell us why she is against the proposals.

Come along to listen to what she has to say. Hilltop Action Group will be there to give an update on the campaign

Objection – Who will be affected?

We have just submitted another objection.

Nowhere in the application documents does Provectus Remediation Ltd make reference to the size of the local communities that will be affected by their proposal.

We have carried out a careful analysis of the number of residential properties, community facilities and retail/commercial properties within 200m, 500m and 1km of the site.

The results are frightening and show the true scale of the impact that the Provectus Remediation Ltd proposals to opencast the Hilltop site will have on local communities.

You can read the full details of the objection here or by selecting it in the Objections menu.

Don’t forget to use the Have your say page to leave your comments

Public Meetings

Friday 14 November 2014  7.30pm
Holmgate Community Centre

Saturday 15 November 2014  11.00am
Clay Cross Social Centre

(for those who find evening meetings during the week difficult)

 Come along to find out what you can do

We will:

  • discuss the Provectus Opencast Mining proposals
  • explain the planning process and timescale
  • share with you the objections Hilltop Action Group are submitting
  • encourage you to submit your own objections
    (we have until 12 December to get objections in)

If you haven’t already signed up to support the Hilltop Action Group  campaign – do so now. Just click on the link in the panel on the left.

Analysis of application documents reveals errors

Careful scrutiny of the documents submitted by Provectus Remediation Ltd has revealed many errors and inconsistencies.

The Minerals Application Form, which is supposed to give an overview of the application, has obviously not been checked very thoroughly by the applicant.

Taken at face value, it implies that they intend to dig a hole zero metres deep to extract nothing! This will be done with a fleet of heavy plant which will not need refuelling during the three and a half years of operations!

This last point is the most worrying. They state that they will not be bringing any hazardous materials onto the site and will not be taking any measures to prevent the spillage or seepage of fuel oils during delivery, storage and handling on site.

The form is supposed to be a stand alone summary document but instead of extracting relevant details they merely direct the reader to the documents. This leaves the reader having to wade through hundreds of pages to find the necessary information, defeating the purpose of the form to give an accurate overview of the application.

You can read the full details of the objection here or by selecting it in the Objections menu.

Don’t forget to use the Have your say page to leave your comments

First objection submitted

The Hilltop Action Group committee have today submitted the first of many objections to the planning authority.

We have called into question the validity of their noise assessment report which was carried out over two years ago.

You can read the full text of the objection by clicking here.
(Document will open in a new window/tab)

This will appear on the DCC planning website in the list of planning documents.

It will be interesting see to the the Provectus response.

Don’t forget to use the Have your say page to leave your comments

The battle is on

Application Submitted to Mineral Planning Authority

Provectus Remediation Ltd submitted their application for the Hilltop Opencasting Project on 3 October 2014 and it was validated and went live on the Derbyshire County Council website on 8 October 2014.

Links to the application documents can be found on the Planning Application page (left hand menu)

Be warned – there are 49 documents totalling 1217 pages! Happy reading!

What now?

The Hilltop Action Group committee are now busily working on our campaign to oppose these plans. In the next few weeks we will be:

  • reading and analysing the documents
  • drafting objections to be submitted to the planning authority
  • organising public meetings (early November)
  • printing and distributing a leaflet to local residents
  • starting a media campaign

What can you do now

  • have a look at the planning application
  • be ready to write and send in objections (we will give advice on this at the public meetings so don’t rush to do it immediately)
  • register on the website to support the campaign if you have not already done so – we can then send you regular emails to keep you up to date
  • talk to family and friends and encourage them to support the campaign

Use the Have your say page to leave comments.

1 October 2014…still waiting!

We understand that Provectus Remediation Ltd submitted their application to the Mineral Planning Authority (Derbyshire County Council) on Wednesday 17 September 2014. Their application is still going through the validation process and is not yet available on the DCC Planning website.

However judging by recent ploughing activity in the fields it would appear that the farmers anticipate at least getting another years crop off the land before anything happens.

| e: HilltopActionGroup@gmail.com | t: 07549 608 066 |