Action group is gearing up to fight mining plan

Neil Paget at the site of the Denby opencast mine access will be.
Neil Paget at the site of the Denby opencast mine access will be.

CAMPAIGNERS from a village action group opposed to nearby mining plans have vowed to keep on fighting - despite one opencast scheme getting the go ahead.

On October 13, Derbyshire County Council granted UK Coal permission to extend operations at the Lodge House site in Smalley by 192 acres.

Nearly 500 people had objected to the plan.

But chairman of the Smalley action group opposed to the application Neil Paget, says defeated villagers need to focus on opposing a second mining bid proposed at nearby George Farm in Denby.

Plans by Lancashire-based LEM Resources to mine 400,000 tonnes of coal from the site over a three-year period would see an access road link with Main Road in Smalley with a further 64 vehicle movements proposed each day.

Neil said: “Everything will double; traffic will double, noise will double, pollution doubles.

“I know we just recently lost to UK Coal, but we saw a small victory in a way.

“Originally they offered £75,000 towards a local improvement scheme, but we ended up with them offering £375,000. I have no doubt that was a result of the protests.”

Neil said the action group was regrouping and is already planning to distribute leaflets around the village regarding the George Farm mining bid.

Fellow member of the action group, Martyn Miller, 51, of Heanor Road, Smalley, claimed the entrance to the planned access road was dangerous and the increase in traffic would impair villagers’ quality of life.

He added: “We as an action group will just keep getting up and having another go.”

The action group is also planning to take some villagers to County Hall in Matlock when the application is decided by a county planning committee there.

The date for the committee is yet to be decided by Derbyshire County Council.

This week a spokesperson for the authority said the decision date was being delayed as LEM Resources had been asked to submit more information on the environmental impact of the scheme.

The campaign group has the backing of Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills, who is also concerned about the Denby bid. He said: “The plan is too near to homes in Denby and the access is totally unsuitable.”

Mark Barrett, managing director of Silkstone Environmental Solutions, the planning agents for the application, says the mine could create more than 50 new jobs.

He said: “The only time that people living nearby will have noticeable dust and noise is when we are building a barrier to keep the noise in, which will take three to four weeks.”

He added that full noise assessments have been carried out and workings on site will fall within the national 55 decibel limit.