Fighting for a Fossil Fuel Free Future | Defend Dewley Hill

by Defend Dewley Hill

Fighting for a Fossil Fuel Free Future | Defend Dewley Hill

by Defend Dewley Hill
Defend Dewley Hill
Case Owner
Defending the land at Dewley Hill in Newcastle, residents are opposing Banks’ plans to opencast 800K tonnes of coal & 400K tonnes of fireclay on the edge of our village. Help us Say No To Coal.
Funded
on 27th November 2020
£10,610
pledged of £10,000 stretch target from 399 pledges
Defend Dewley Hill
Case Owner
Defending the land at Dewley Hill in Newcastle, residents are opposing Banks’ plans to opencast 800K tonnes of coal & 400K tonnes of fireclay on the edge of our village. Help us Say No To Coal.

Latest: Dec. 21, 2020

We Won!

We’re writing to share an early Christmas celebration and to thank you for taking the time to support us and to Defend Dewley Hill.

In case you’ve not heard…WE WON! Eleven councillo…

Read more


At a time when we need to rapidly de-escalate from fossil fuels, Newcastle City Council could approve a new opencast coal mine which would undermine efforts to reduce our emissions in order to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis.

Banks Group plan to extract 800,000 tonnes of coal and 400,000 tonnes of fireclay from fields between Throckley, Walbottle, Chapel Park and Callerton in a planning application that has been submitted to Newcastle City Council. The proposed site is on the doorstep of the biggest city in the North East of England and is the gateway to Hadrian’s Wall. If this planning application is approved we will see an environmental catastrophe.

In the next few weeks Newcastle City Council are set to make a decision on a planning application for an opencast coal mine at Dewley Hill.  There is a possibility that Newcastle City Council will give the opencast coal mine the go ahead, because this is what local councils have been doing for other proposed coal mines around the North of England over recent years.

To plan for this eventuality we, Defend Dewley Hill, have started this crowdfunder so that we can get legal advice from the expert team at Richard Buxton Solicitors who were instrumental in the successful fight to stop Banks Group extending the opencast in the Pont Valley, Durham.

We are optimistic that with your support we can stop this application with expert help. If it is approved by Newcastle City Council or rejected but Banks Group appeals, we could need a larger pot of money to legally challenge the mine application. If we are able to raise more money than we need, we will donate the remaining funds to local community groups to ensure the positive energy harnessed during this campaign benefits those who live directly in the area.

With your help, we're aiming to raise £2,000 to support the Defend Dewley Hill campaign with initial legal fees.

We're really hoping that Newcastle City Council listen to all the evidence about why coal needs to stay in the ground.

Despite Newcastle City Council declaring a climate emergency, we’re facing the prospect of the last opencast mine in England being on the edge of our village, so we're aiming for a stretch goal of £10K to which will support us to challenge the planning application in the courts.

For more information and ways to support the campaign follow us on Facebook @DefendDewleyHill or on Twitter @DefendDewley

Thank you for your support.

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Update 4

Defend Dewley Hill

Dec. 21, 2020

We Won!

We’re writing to share an early Christmas celebration and to thank you for taking the time to support us and to Defend Dewley Hill.

In case you’ve not heard…WE WON! Eleven councillors on the planning committee at Newcastle City Council unanimously voted to refuse Banks plans to opencast on the edge of our village.

It is with great relief we received the news on Friday that Newcastle City Council have upheld their promise of encouraging a cleaner, greener, more environmentally stable society for those of us living here and beyond. It is a victory not only for Defend Dewley Hill but for all of those who supported and campaigned constructively for change. In challenging times it's sometimes hard for your voice to be heard, but there is strength in people power to change things for the better. We set out to encourage the council to think local but act global and hopefully our efforts to Defend Dewley Hill will now see opencast, a thing of the past.

We wanted to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being invested and playing your part in Friday’s victory. You were one of thousands who took the time to either write a letter of objection, sign a petition, write to your councillor to oppose Banks plans or generously donated to our Crowdfunder. Some people took all of these actions. We recognise that this takes time and consideration and that in doing so, you’ve really been a massive support to us and helped to change the course of coal and climate.

Your action has ensured that our fields stay green and our lungs remain clean.

Jude from Defend Dewley Hill told the planning committee, "reject this application which would destroy our green belt space and bring no local, regional or national benefit. We want to continue to enjoy birdsong not blasting, the tranquillity of nature not the vibration and thunderous noise of machinery and spring lambs being born in our fields not vast chasms of choking dust being borne into the air we breathe."

The application was rejected due to contraventions of the local plans and paragraph 211a of the National Planning Policy Framework. See the Coal Action Network for a fuller account https://www.coalaction.org.uk/2020/12/18/dewley-hill-saved-from-opencast/

There is a right to appeal but Banks Group currently has no coal mines extracting coal. There are no other applications to start new opencast coal mines in the UK, although West Cumbria Mining is pursuing an underground coking coal mine (used in the steel industry) off Cumbria, which is waiting a ministerial decision.

We have worked closely with Coal Action Network who have supported three campaigns this year which were successful in stopping Banks Group's opencast coal extraction plans. Since 2008 they have worked against new opencast mines and infrastructure; and stand in solidarity with communities across the world impacted by the UK's coal industry. We could not have done this without their guidance and support. If you want to be kept informed of other campaigns fighting for justice for those affected by the UK coal industry? Please join the Coal Action Network newsletter email list. With your help they will be successful in their new campaign to be launched early in the new year, with plenty of opportunity for you to take action online and when time allows, in person.

Finally, Defend Dewley Hill have won this with support from so many, and you've been part of that. And whatever happens in the weeks and months ahead, we'll all be there to reconvene if necessary, but for now, enjoy this time of feeling warm about our win.

We did it and it's thanks to you all

2020 has undoubtedly been a challenging year but it’s ended positively for the climate and for all those who believe in better things.

#defenddewleyhill You just did!

Thank you. Thank you all of you.

With best wishes for a safe Christmas

Jos Forester-Melville

Defend Dewley Hill

defenddewleyhill@gmail.com

There are various media articles about the result, see https://www.desmog.co.uk/2020/12/18/dewley-hill-coal-mine-newcastle

If you don't already, please follow and share Coal Action Network's social media feeds. Facebook https://www.facebook.com/coalactionUK/ and Twitter https://twitter.com/CoalActionUK

Coal Action Network's website is at www.coalaction.org.uk

Update 3

Defend Dewley Hill

Dec. 17, 2020

Thanks from all of us at Defend Dewley Hill

We wanted to reach out and thank you once again ahead of tomorrow morning’s planning meeting with Newcastle City Council for helping us to achieve not only our goal, but our stretch target for our Defend Dewley Hill Crowdfunder. We wanted to share our gratitude with you for helping us to get to this stage and enabling us to feel as confident as we can that we’ve given this our all.

Your money has helped us to secure the services of a solicitor who has scrutinised the planning officer’s report and has written to Newcastle City Council on behalf of Defend Dewley Hill.

The planning officer’s recommendation for the report is refusal.

With the generous support of people like you, we really hope to see an end to coal mining in the UK. Plans like this have to stop in order for things to improve for everyone locally, nationally and globally. We are hoping that tomorrow, with support from like-minded people like you, people who really want to bring about change that we will have closed the door on coal and made opencast a thing of the past.

If you would like to tune in to the meeting tomorrow and be one of the first to hear if we have won or if we need to take further action in the future, you can watch the full council meeting online here:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?fbclid=IwAR0fv9uHxdO0UdXm9o0LRw77tJIhVhsEcKUIm8sSALN6Z8fgfD792cJtano&v=MiXPxStycTQ&feature=youtu.be  

Keep everything crossed that together we can #DefendDewleyHill

Ps. Your comments of encouragement were very precious and motivating for us all at a time when we were perhaps flagging a little. To know that there were others cheering us on and supporting with words of positivity and wisdom, really made us get back on the horse!

Really, thanks loads.

Jos

Update 2

Defend Dewley Hill

Dec. 5, 2020

Thank-you for all of your amazing support

Honestly, it’s been over a week and we’re just £400 quid short of our total.

We can’t thank you enough. We started on this journey a group of cross neighbours and have grown to a collective of raging residents with support from all of you. We met in March 2019. I set out 6 chairs in our local community hall and over 70 people turned up united through a desire not just to Defend Dewley Hill but to cut carbon across the wider world.

The money you’ve pledged is a massive support but the words you’ve shared and the encouragement you’ve given has been a boost at the end of a hard run race. We’re not out of the woods yet and we may have a further fight on our hands. Your support will make this more manageable and we know we have allies behind us and help on hand. Thank you.

Your donations have helped us on the way to cover legal costs for our lawyer to read and prepare a response to the planning officer’s report. This is vital in framing our argument to the planning committee. This is something as a small community we’d not have been able to afford on a shoestring. Your actions have helped us to have a voice. Thank you.


If we end up in the fortuitous position of not needing all of the funds raised to fight our plight, we will use the remaining funds to support local community initiatives which benefit the people in our village, overlooked so often in so many ways.

Keep your fingers crossed for us. Wish us well and hope we do canny!

Update 1

Defend Dewley Hill

Nov. 29, 2020

Thank-you for pulling out all the stops to Defend Dewley Hill

We’ve been humbled by the pacey response to our request for support. It feels like people are pulling out all the stops to Defend Dewley Hill and stand in solidarity.

We have worked hard since early 2019 to defend the land we live on and the wider world through our small village sized actions. It has never been more important to find a voice and stand up to the injustice of powerful corporate forces.

It’s not just the cash but the encouragement that has helped. Reading people’s comments this weekend has brightened our hearts and given strength to our souls…

“Good luck with your fight” - Janet

“I am happy to be able to support this important cause – Living in Heddon, we suffered opencast mining just North of the village and know first-hand how the land is ruined by these activities. And at that time, no one knew the full extent of the damage it’s use was doing to the environment…Not again.” – Jean

“Power to your efforts. Coal may be your past, but it must not be anyone’s future” - D

And to those who shared their pounds, their yearly pay rise and their winter fuel allowance…to keep the planet cooler…We are grateful for your care and encouragement.

Thank you.

From all of us at Defend Dewley Hill.

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