Barbara Keeley MP


Barbara's concerns over opencast mining at Cutacre

BK3In a Westminster Hall debate on the Future of the Coal Industry, Barbara raised issues relating to future open-cast operations at the Cutacre Site.

Barbara brought forward the issue of the need for the lead planning authority, Bolton, and the local Primary Care Trusts to be ready to monitor dust emissions once coal mining operations commence in 2006.

Barbara said:

“My major concern is to ensure there are no health problems caused to children, elderly or frail people living near the opencast site. With coal production ceasing in the area over thirty years ago, the local authorities and primary care trust have no recent experience of coal mining or open-cast mining. There are only months to go for agencies to put in place the controls that will ensure the safety and public health of our communities."

Barbara is also concerned that UK Coal may not be doing enough before the start of operations to establishing a positive working relationship with the communities affected by their operations.

Barbara added in the debate:

“Last year, I urged the company to establish a community panel to tackle some of the many issues I felt sure would emerge. The company had agreed to this at the planning appeal. Howeve,r UK Coal has appeared to want to settle all planning matters before it establishes contact with the communities involved rather than work through the issues alongside the people who are going to be affected. That is short-sighted, and I fear it will create more issues for the community in the long run.”

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