Voices from the Global South Oppose English Opencasts
September 28, 2015

Representatives of fifty three groups from twenty three countries who are opposing coal mining and working for climate justice have signed an open letter against UK opencast coal mining. The letter, addressed to the Planning Inspectorate and Derbyshire County Council, asks for two opencast coal mine applications to be refused, as “English law enables applications to be refused on the basis that it is not in the local, national or international interest to approve development, as is the situation in these cases.” To see the full media release, click here.

Open letter to Derbyshire County Council and The Planning Inspectorate.

Dear Decision Makers,

The organisations signing this letter are writing to request the rejection of the applications to construct opencast coal mines at Hilltop Farm, Clay Cross, Derbyshire and at Field House, West Rainton, Co. Durham. We stand with members of the community, living in the shadow of these applications, to oppose them.

We are members of communities suffering as a direct result of opencast coal mining and related infrastructure or from countries most at risk from climate change, or of organisations working in solidarity with those affected. We would not wish on anyone else what we have had to put up with ourselves.

We represent a diverse and growing movement which includes a wide range of organizations around the world who are calling on you to prevent the exploitation of the coal resources in these locations. It is in the best interest of all us living on this planet that we act now to prevent run away climate change. English law enables applications to be refused on the basis that it is not in the local, national nor international interest to approved development, as is the situation in these cases.

In a recent letter to world leaders, The president of Kiribati, Anote Tong said, “Kiribati as a nation faced with a very uncertain future is calling for a global moratorium on new coal mines. It would be one positive step towards our collective global action against climate change” [1]. Kiribati is an island republic in the central pacific, a collection of low lying islands, which along with other island nations is threatened by rising sea levels. We stand behind this request and ask you to enact it by refusing these coal applications.

In addition to the loss of lives and livelihoods as a result of climate change, coal mining contributes to the air pollution which killed 7 million people worldwide in 2012 [2]. It is the world’s poorest who are most affected by air pollution and climate change and it is for this reason that we are writing to you to ask that you take a stance against these applications and refuse them on the basis that it is not in the international interest to approve them. The localised pollution from these two sites would affect the local people living in very close quarters to the mines, the international impacts effect us all.

We strongly believe that each and every mine contributes unacceptably to global warming and air pollution. By international standards neither of these coal mines are large, but every one impacts on our way of life. 82% of all known coal reserves need to stay in the ground to stay within a 2 degree global temperature rise [3]. Rich nations like the UK, must play their part and completely stop mining and burning coal.

We, the undersigned, are the initial signatories to this Open Letter which is to be circulated through the local and national media as well as being read at the planning hearings. The whole world is watching these decisions. Please do not fail us.

Yours sincerely,

  1. Max M. de Mesa, Chairperson, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (Philippines)

  2. Guy Shrubsole Climate and Energy Campaigner, and Naomi Luhde-Thompson, Planning and Policy Advisor, Friends of the Earth (England, Wales & Northern Ireland)

  3. Clemente Bautista Jr., Kalikasan Peoples Network for the Environment (Philippines)

  4. Juliana Thornton, Mupo Foundation (South Africa)

  5. Mariana Gómez Soto, Regional Coordinator, Yes to Life No to Mining – Latin America and Comité Ambiental en Defensa de la Vida (Colombia)

  1. Nnimmo Bassey, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (Nigeria)

  2. Kris Vanslambrouck, 11.11.11 (Belgium)

  3. Yolanda R. Esguerra, National Coordinator, Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (Philippines)

  4. Dr Rumana Hashem, Founder, Phulbari Solidarity Group and Co-organiser of Nari Diganta, (Bangladesh & UK)

  5. Pete Montallana, Chairperson, Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance Inc. (Philippines)

  6. Gerry Arances, National Coordinator, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (Philippines)

  7. Strauss M. Fernandez, National Executive, Radio Emergency Communication Operations Network (Philippines)

  8. Fernando M. Ramirez, No to Mining in Palawan (Philippines)

  9. Angelina P. Galang, President, Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy (Philippines)

  10. Hong Hoang, CHANGE (Vietnam)

  11. Nicolò Wojewoda, Eurpean Team Leader, and Danielle Paffard, (UK)

  12. Soumya Dutta, Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha – BJVJ (India people’s science campaign), Beyond Copenhagen Collective and India Climate Justice (India)

  13. Katrin Ganswindt, Urgewald (Germany)

  14. Ben Collins, Senior Research and Policy Campaigner, Climate and Energy Program, Rainforest Action Network (USA)

  15. Shripad Dharmadhikary, Researcher and Activist, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra (India)

  16. Ansar Ahmed Ullah, Convenor and Secretary, Monjurul Azim Palash and European Action Group on Climate Change in Bangladesh (UK)

  17. Raaj Manik, Phulbari Solidarity Group, (Bangladesh & UK)

  18. Dipti Bhatnagar, Climate Justice & Energy Coordinator, Justiça Ambiental (Friend of the Earth Mozambique) (Mozambique)

  19. Lusbi Portillo, Coordinator, Homo et Natura, (Venezuela)

  20. Lina Solano, President, Union Latioamericana de Mujeres, (Ecuador)

  21. Elizabeth Cunya, Coordinator, Asociacion de Mujeres Protectoras de los Paramos (Peru)

  22. Glevys Rondon, Director and Leilah Gordon-Bates, Latin American Mining Monitoring Programme (UK)

  23. Xavier Dias, Editor, Khan Kaneej Aur ADHIKAR (Mines minerals & RIGHTS) (India)

  24. Alfredo Quarto, Executive Director, Mangrove Action Project, (USA)

  25. Richard Solly, Co-ordinator, London Mining Network (UK)

  26. Jesica Ciacca, Movimiento Mesoamericano contra el Modelo extractivo Minero (Mesoamérica)

  27. Sinegugu Zukulu, Global Environmental Trust (South Africa)

  28. Sifiso Dladla, Mining Affected Communities United in Action (South Africa)

  29. Sheila Berry, Magqubu Ntombela Foundation (South Africa)

  30. Estelle Tardy, Alternatives au Développement Extractiviste et Anthropocentré (France and Latin America)

  31. Greta Roberts, Mining and Environment Group Ayrshire (Scotland)

  32. Musri Nauli, WALHI Jambi (Indonesia)

  33. Pius Ginting, WALHI National (Indonesia)

  34. Merah, JATAM East Kalimantan, (Indonesia)

  35. Arie Rompas, WALHI Central Kalimantan, (Indonesia)

  36. Riko Kurniawan, WALHI Riau, (Indonesia)

  37. Dwitho Frasetiandy, WALHI South Kalimantan, (Indonesia)

  38. Hadi jatmiko, WALHI South Kalimatan, (Indonesia)

  39. Chaus Uslaini, WALHI West Sumatera, (Indonesia)

  40. Abetnego Tarigan, WALHI (Indonesia)

  41. Patrick Bond Director, University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society (South Africa)

  42. Marilyn Aitken, Women’s Leadership Programme, KwaZulu Natal, (South Africa)

  43. Francois Du Toit, African Conservation Trust (Southern Africa)

  44. Oliver Munnion, Scottish Opencast Communities Alliance (Scotland)

  45. Vladislav Tannagashev, Chair of the Myski municipal community-based organization «Revival of Kazas and Shor People» (Russia)

  46. Mwikamba T Mwambi, Country Coordinator, Natural Resources Alliance of Kenya, (Kenya)

  47. Tracy Sonny, Botswana Climate Change Network (Botswana)

  48. Mercia Andrews, Rural Women’s Assembly (South Africa)

  49. Akua O Britwum, NETWORK for Women’s Rights in Ghana (Ghana)

  50.  Samantha Hargreaves, WoMin, (Africa)

  51. Bobby Peek, GroundWork, Friends of the Earth, (South Africa)

  52. Anca Giurgiu, Environmental and Social Change (Romania)

[1] Responding to Climate Change, Kiribati president calls for moratorium on coal mines (13/08/15) viewed 27/08/15

[2] World Health Organisation, 7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution,(25 March 2014) viewed 27/08/15

[3] The Guardian, Leave fossil fuels buried to prevent climate change, study urges (07/01/15) viewed 27/08/15