Page last updated at 14:41 GMT, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 15:41 UK

Coal mine approved at beauty spot

Countryside near the site of the proposed mine
The secretary of state has approved plans for the opencast mine

An open cast mine will be created near a Shropshire beauty spot after the government gave the plan the go-ahead.

UK Coal applied for permission in 2007 to extract 900,000 tonnes of coal near The Wrekin over 32 months.

The application attracted strong local opposition and was referred to a planning inspectorate in 2008, who held a public inquiry in April 2009.

Telford and Wrekin Council said it would appeal against the decision on legal grounds.

It is the third application UK Coal has submitted to develop a mine near Little Wenlock and The Wrekin, a famous Shropshire landmark designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

'Extremely concerned'

The Wrekin is a tree covered hill that stands about 400m (1,330ft) above sea level.

Previously Pat Hutchings, from Little Wenlock Parish Council, said people living near the proposed mine were "extremely concerned".

She said: "People would suffer from noise and dust and one of the biggest concerns was the movement of lorries."

UK Coal pledged to return the site to green fields within four years of starting mining operations and said in the mean time the mine would provide 90 new jobs.

'Crass decision'

It said: "We are particularly pleased that the importance of this coal reserve has been recognised."

Telford and Wrekin Council leader councillor Andrew Eade said: "This is a totally crass decision.

"We are deeply disappointed on behalf of all the residents who will be affected by this."

The council said it would urgently examine every aspect of the decision.

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