Bradley coal mine

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Bradley Coal Mine was an opencast thermal coal mine in the Pont Valley, County Durham, United Kingdom. It stopped extracting coal in August 2020.[1] The mine was originally promoted by UK Coal but was operated by Banks Group, after UK Coal folded in 2015.


The undated image below shows the exact location of the Bradley opencast.

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UK Coal was refused planning permission in 2011 by Durham County Council. The company appealed and lost the appeal. It appealed again, after it had gone into administration. In 2015 the application was successful following the second appeal.[2]

Local people from Campaign to Protect Pont Valley requested that the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government revoke the planning permission. This was refused without reason and a judicial review was launched. During this process the department said that its decision was flawed and agreed to remake the decision.[3] As of January 2020 the decision has not been remade, but the mine has continued to operate.

Banks Group started to extract 550,000 tonnes of coal in summer 2018. A planning application for an extension was submitted in Autumn 2019.[4]

On its website UK Coal states that "our application for planning consent was recommended for approval by the Planning Officer at Durham County Council. It was however turned down by the Council’s Planning Committee. After a Public Inquiry the application was refused and we are now appealing to the High Court."[5]


At the beginning of 2018 a protest camp was constructed to try to stop the company accessing the land in order to delay work beyond the 3rd June 2018 when the planning permission would lapse.[6] The camp was evicted on the 19th April 2018.[7]

Local people campaigned against the mine for over 30 years.[8] The concerns about noise, dust, loss of amenity and habitat were all realised when the mine commenced. The group continues, as of January 2020, to resist the opencast. A protected Great Crested Newt was found on the site immediately before Banks Group destroyed the habitat, leading to a local person filing for a private prosecution against the coal company.[9]

Mine Closure

In August 2020, after Banks Group's plans for the mine extension were rejected by Durham County Council, coal extraction was stopped at Bradley coal mine. Since the beginning of operations in 2018, it extracted approximately 340,000 tonnes of coal out of a targeted 500,000 tonnes.[1]

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  1. 1.0 1.1 "Bradley mine: Coal extracted for final time at County Durham site", BBC, Aug. 17 2020.
  2. Coal Action Network, "Banks Group: Coal At Any Cost", Coal Action Network website, accessed 14 January 2020.
  3. Coal Action Network, "Still no decision from the Secretary of State", Coal Action Network website, 24 June 2019.
  4. Coal Action Network, "Object to Banks proposed expansion of the Bradley opencast", Coal Action Network website, 2 September 2019.
  5. UK Coal, "Bradley – Awaiting the Outcome of an Appeal to the High Court", UK Coal website, accessed October 2012.(Unavailable).
  6. Coal Action Network, "Join the Pont Valley Protection Camp!", Coal Action Network website, 4 March 2018.
  7. Coal Action Network, " Pont Valley Protection Camp Eviction", Coal Action Network website, 24 April 2018.
  8. Coal Action Network, "Public outcry at imminent new opencast coal mines amid ‘coal phase-out’", Coal Action Network website, 2 March 2018.
  9. Coal Action Network, "Banks Group in High Court, amid wildlife allegations ", Coal Action Network website, 2 December 2019.

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