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Britain's Banks Mining will not challenge coal mine rejection

Susanna Twidale
·1-min read

By Susanna Twidale

LONDON (Reuters) - Banks Mining will not appeal against a government decision to reject its plans to develop a new coal mine in northeast England, the British company said on Wednesday.

Northumberland County Council agreed in 2016 that developer Banks could extract 3 million tonnes of coal over six-to-seven years by cutting an open cast, or surface mine, near Druridge Bay, Highthorn.

Former minister Sajid Javid rejected the application in 2018 following a public inquiry, but Banks challenged the decision in England's high court and it was returned to central planning authorities for further consideration.

Robert Jenrick, minister for housing, communities and local government, last month again refused permission for the coal mine to be built, citing environmental concerns.

"We have concluded that issuing a challenge to it would not be the right course of action," Gavin Styles, executive director at Banks Mining, said in an emailed statement.

Styles said the company still planned to go ahead with its Dewley Hill coal mine, also in the northeast of England.

Banks Mining is seeking to extract 800,000 tonnes of coal and 400,000 tonnes of fireclay from the Dewley Hill site.

Britain is seeking to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2024 as part of efforts to meet its target of net zero emissions by 2050.

It still uses some coal in industry and for domestic fires and imported around 6.5 million tonnes of coal in 2019, government data showed. More than a third of this was from Russia.

(Reporting by Susanna Twidale; editing by Jason Neely and Barbara Lewis)