Barbara, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Worsley, is trying to get UK Coal talking to the local community about its plans for opencast mining at the Cutacre site.
"It seems that UK Coal are now going ahead with their plans for opencast mining and reclamation of the Cutacre coal tip, next to Little Hulton. They could be starting mining and coal washing operations at the site as soon as early 2006. They must start talking to the community now about what they plan, how they will run the site and what local people can expect.. The group could help make sure that the plans develop in a way that cuts down the impacts that opencast mining is bound to have on the local community I will keep pressing UK Coal to listen to the community and to get two-way communication going."
UK Coal’s plans for opencast mining and coal reclamation were turned down locally but then allowed on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate in 2001. The firm’s plans would see 1.7 million tonnes of coal being removed from the site over a four year period, from 2006 to 2010.
Questions still to be resolved by the developer are: whether much of the coal could be moved by rail rather than road; questions of access from the site to the A6 roundabout; wheel cleaning for coal transport lorries. Salford, Bolton and Wigan councils will also have the job of monitoring the operation of the site for: hours of working, noise, dust, blasting vibration and all environmental matters.
"As recently as March this year UK Coal said they were not going ahead with these plans but now they have changed their minds. They are talking to planners in Salford, Bolton and Wigan Councils. They have contacted local MPs, and have just met with me and Brian Iddon, MP. I pointed out to UK Coal that they should be talking to the local community, and getting the community involved in the plans as they develop. This might help avoid some problems.
"I have asked UK Coal to set up a liaison group or advisory panel including those members of the local community most affected by the planned development, together with the ward councillors for Little Hulton and council officers. I want to see a community panel set up as soon as we can."