Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Petition opposing Hesley Wood pit clean-up

Residents opposed to the coal recovery site gather outside Sheffield Town Hall
Image caption People opposed to the plans gathered outside Sheffield Town Hall after handing the petition to councillors

A petition opposing plans for a coal recovery and restoration scheme in Sheffield has been presented to councillors.

Residents in Thorpe Hesley said they raised health concerns about waste being cleared at a former colliery waste site.

More than 4,500 signatures were handed to the full council.

Recycoal, which hopes to remove about 400,000 tones of coal, is awaiting a decision on its planning application.

Chair of the Cowley Residents Action Group Jean Howe said the former Smithy Wood Colliery disposal site, which contains colliery spoil, should be left.

'Health problems'

Ms Howe said she hoped the petition would raise a full debate.

"There is a lot of evidence that this sort of excavation will cause a lot of health problems," said Ms Howe.

A spokesman for Recycoal said it was hoping to meet with residents in the near future to discuss any fears they may have.

"RecyCoal believes the long term sustainable benefits gained from the project will far outweigh the minor short term disturbance during the operations," said a spokesman.

The company said a variety of natural habitats would be created on the 50 hectare (123 acre) site, including woodland areas and grasslands once the site had been cleared.

It expects to create about 35 jobs during the three-year excavation, if approved.

Sheffield Council said a decision on the planning application was expected in the next three months.

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