Appeal blocks Fairburn Ings coalmine plan

Fairburn Ings nature reserve
Image caption Campaigners feared the mine would be detrimental to the RSPB reserve

A plan to develop an opencast mine near a wildlife reserve has been refused permission on appeal.

Bank Developments' idea to extract coal from a site opposite Fairburn Ings near Castleford was blocked by Leeds councillors last year.

The case went to the Secretary of State who found the development would be "inappropriate" for green belt land.

Villagers from Fairburn, Ledston and Ledsham had formed the RAGE action group to fight the project.

They feared the mine, planned for Newton Lane, would ruin the landscape and could have been detrimental to the Fairburn Ings RSPB reserve.

Community 'delighted'

They also warned it would bring extra noise and traffic to what they said was a peaceful part of the countryside.

The RSPB said they were not happy about the development but could not object because they had no scientific evidence about how it would affect the Fairburn Ings birds.

The developers had said the mine would be "sensitively designed" to minimise the impact on the local environment.

Ernie Walker, who lives in Ledston, said: "The community are delighted and relieved by the decision.

"It has been hanging over us for six years, blighting properties and causing unnecessary stress and anxiety to many people.

"We have had to raise £75,000 locally in order to fight the application and protect the local countryside."

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at Banks Group, said the company was "naturally disappointed" by the outcome of the inquiry.

He added: "We will now review the grounds for refusal before deciding upon an appropriate course of action."

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