UK planners have the opportunity to stop a new open cast coal mine in Druridge Bay due to climate change concerns. For the sake of a liveable and prosperous future for all, they must take it, say coal-affected communities from South Africa.
Communities fighting the expansion of coal mining in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, have reached out in support of UK allies campaigning to stop a new open cast coal mine in Druridge Bay, Northumberland.
In an open letter published today, the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO) calls on Northumberland County Council and UK planning authorities to reject UK-based Banks Mining’s proposed Highthorn Mine on the basis of its potential climate impacts.
“Almost 100% (of known coal reserves) must remain buried to avoid exceeding the aspirational 1.5°C goal set by the world’s governments in the Paris Climate Accord… We urge you take this historic opportunity to make a globally significant statement about the UK’s climate leadership by rejecting this mine,” writes Billy Mnqondo of MCEJO.
Read the full letter here.
In a UK first, after initially being given the green light by Northumberland County Council, the Highthorn Mine has been called in by UK planning authorities on climate change grounds.
This move has been welcomed by local campaigners from community group Save Druridge Bay, which is opposing the mine. Save Druridge Bay and national organisations including Friends of the Earth UK and Coal Action Network argue the Highthorn Mine would not only contribute negatively to climate change, but also destroy a beloved landscape and endanger wildlife including otters, owls and orchids.
With UK demand for thermal coal of the kind the Highthorn Mine would produce rapidly dwindling, and without major established export markets, campaigners say the mine is uneconomical and would only serve to harm a coastal area with a self-sustaining tourism industry.
The new planning hearing is set to start on 31st May and and will run until 2nd June. MCEJO’s letter will be read out as evidence during the hearing, reminding planners that climate change knows no borders and stating solidarity with the people of Druridge Bay in their struggle.
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