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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 March 2007, 11:06 GMT
Villagers to fight plans for mine
The proposed site
Residents fear the development could bring more noise and traffic
People living near a wildlife reserve have vowed to fight proposals to develop an opencast mine nearby.

Developers HJ Banks and Co Ltd want to extract a million tonnes of coal over five years from a site opposite Fairburn Ings near Castleford.

Villagers from Fairburn, Ledston and Ledsham have formed an action group to fight the project.

The developers said the mine would be "sensitively designed" to minimise the impact on the local environment.

Nature reserve

However, those living locally fear the mine, planned for Newton Lane, will ruin the landscape and could be detrimental to the Fairburn Ings RSPB reserve.

They have warned it will bring extra noise and traffic to what they say is a peaceful part of the countryside.

Selby district councillor Roy Wilson has joined calls to stop the development.

He said: "It's a big site we're talking about - 140 hectares.

"And it's so close to the nature reserve - one's on one side of the road and the other's opposite."

The RSPB said they were not happy about the development but could not object on scientific grounds.

'Scientific evidence'

Regional conservation officer Tim Melling said: "The RSPB is not happy with this development. If we could wave a magic wand and make it go away then we would.

"No one wants to see an open cast mine right next to where they live or work but if we object to something we need to provide scientific evidence about how it's going to affect the birds. But there is no conservational evidence to back that up."

A planning application has been received by Leeds City Council and is waiting to be processed.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director for Banks, said: "The Banks proposal for a new surface mine at Newton Lane has been sensitively designed to minimise any effect upon local people and the environment - especially the important RSPB nature reserve at Fairburn Ings.

"The site will provide a local source of coal suitable for local power stations and we believe this is more sustainable than importing coal."

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