UK Coal opencast mine plan for County Durham rejected
Plans to develop an opencast mine in County Durham's countryside have been rejected by councillors following an "overwhelming" campaign of opposition.
Planners had recommended approval of the UK Coal proposal for a site between Dipton and Leadgate.
But at a meeting on Tuesday opponents presented Durham county councillors with a petition signed by 3,000 people.
A representative from UK Coal said the firm would "consider the decision". It still has the right to appeal.
The villagers' campaign included a petition, backing from the past and present local MP and support from their local councillors.
Nine individuals, from various overlapping community groups, took it in turns to make their case before councillors, sitting at County Hall in Durham.
It is the third time since 1986 that the site has been subject to similar applications.
Mine opponent Karen Adamson said: "The county council listened to the voice of the people and voted accordingly.
"They heard us say [we] did not want opencast in our valley and rejected it. We are delighted."
Another campaigner Carol Rocke said: "Common sense prevailed. They heard the voice of the people.
"Democracy was at work here. And it is the members that had to vote.
"They had to listen to their electorate and the opposition was so overwhelming really they had no option."
UK Coal made its own representations before the committee.
It does have the right to appeal, which could lead to a public inquiry.