A wild stretch of Northumberland beach has become the ultimate testing ground of the government’s much-vaunted commitment to phase out coal by 2025, according to campaigners. On Friday, James Brokenshire, the minister for communities and local government, will start examining whether to allow a local coal mining company, Banks Group, to extract three million tonnes of coal from 250 hectares of land behind the sand dunes of Druridge Bay, in a project that will extend beyond the government’s own deadline for the end of coal. His predecessor, Sajid Javid, threw out the plans last year, citing among other environmental reasons the “substantial” adverse effect on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. But the high court overruled Javid’s decision in November, and the ultimate say now lies with Brokenshire. Campaigners demand that he follow his predecessor’s example and stop the Highthorn open-cast mine on the section of coast between Amble and Cresswell, making good on international promises to phase out coal. All sides have submitted their case to Brokenshire, who will begin his deliberations on Friday.
Guardian 10th Jan 2019 read more »