Bradley mine: Coal extracted for final time at County Durham site

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image caption, The mine is set to be turned into farmland and a nature reserve

One of England's last major mines has stopped extracting coal.

The surface mine in Bradley, near Dipton, County Durham, opened in 2018 to extract 500,000 tonnes of coal, with approximately 340,000 tonnes collected.

Its owner, The Banks Group, has stopped working the mine after plans for an extension were rejected, a decision welcomed by environmental campaigners.

The company is awaiting a government decision on plans to open a mine near Druridge Bay in Northumberland.

A total of 32 people work at the site in County Durham, which is set to be turned into farmland and a nature reserve.

'Career plans over'

Lewis Stokes, community manager for The Banks Group, called it a "sad day" and "completely avoidable."

"We have a perfectly good site at our Highthorn site in Northumberland where we have the option to mine up to three million tonnes of high quality coal, we should be doing that here in the UK, it makes environmental and economic sense to do that."

Some of those losing their jobs were angry over the decision.

Plant operator Alan Mayman said: "I'm absolutely gutted because we have had no help off our local council, Durham County Council, no help off our government, we have plenty of coal here, we have all the gear to do it with and everything but we are getting no help off them at all."

Colleague Graeme Stott said he was fortunate to keep his job for a little longer.

"I was looking for a career and obviously today it's over," he added.

Environmental campaigners demonstrated against expansion plans in February, saying it would go against the government's commitment to phase out coal by 2025 and to become carbon-neutral by 2050.

Durham County Council received more than 5,500 objections and councillors rejected the plans.

The authority has been approached for comment.

In relation to the decision over Highthorn, near Druridge Bay, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: "The application is under consideration and the outcome will be announced in due course.

"It would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage."

The Banks Group, which says 250 jobs are at risk across its family-owned firm, has also started consulting on 24 jobs at its Brenkley Lane surface mine, near Newcastle.

It is also awaiting a decision on a proposed new mine at Dewley Hill, to the west of the city.

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