I see UK Coal is at it again. Local people should look carefully at the financial state of UK Coal plc.
For example, it’s share price halved earlier this year to 15p as it revealed that it was thinking of closing its largest deep mine, Daw Mill in Warwickshire.
If this closes it will leave a huge gap in production which UK Coal will find hard to fill. This is on top of being £183m in debt.
Whatever UK Coal promises as the community benefit, the risk is that this company will go into administration during the time Shortwood Farm is being worked (or before).
Leicestershire County Council, in recently granting permission for the Minorca Surface Mine, did take note of all the evidence that the Minorca Opencast Protest Group (MOPG) amassed about the dire financial state of UK Coal plc.
For the first time ever in Leicestershire, the council made the provision of a Restoration Bond by UK Coal plc to cover the cost of restoring the site if UK Coal plc went into administration a requirement when granting planning permission.
If local people want to avoid the possibility of being left with a derelict site if UK Coal plc went into administration after planning permission is granted, they should also insist on Nottinghamshire County Council insist on a Restoration Bond as a planning condition.
Although MOPG failed to prevent UK Coal’s Minorca Application from being successful, it can claim that eventually UK Coal plc had to promise to provide cash and community benefits worth a total of £2.65m as part of it’s second planning application.
This local ‘royalty’ is equal to them paying over £1.55 on each ton of coal extracted for these community benefits.
This is thought to be a record level of payment per ton for gaining permission for a opencast site in the UK.
Local people should use it as a yardstick against which to measure what UK Coal plc are offering now.
If they are being consistent they should be offering something near to £1.933m as the value of the benefit to the local community (not taking account of the level of inflation since permission was granted in June last year).
To all those who will be actively oppose this planning application best of luck with your efforts, but do please also seek to extract as much benefit for local people as possible and do insist on a Restoration Bond.
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