PLANS for a surface mine which would bring 50 new jobs to the area have been opposed by Ponteland town councillors.

The proposals have been put forward by a partnership between Banks Mining and Ibstock Brick, the owners of the nearby Throckley Brickworks, around half a mile from the proposed site.

The companies are planning to extract 800,000 tonnes of coal and 400,000 tonnes of fireclay from Dewley Hill, located on land to the east of the B6326 Ponteland Road and Stamfordham Road junction.

A planning application is expected to be submitted to Newcastle City Council in the coming weeks and if agreed, the surface mine scheme would operate for three and a half years.

But Ponteland town councillors have raised several concerns about the plans.

A town council spokeswoman said: “It is our view that this will create excess traffic along an already busy Ponteland access road, with the equivalent of 146 lorries a day turning in and out of the site.

“There is potential of over 250 acres of green land that will be destroyed. This will devastate wildlife habitats, may lead to increased levels of flooding and excess noise, and air pollution to local residents. This should be opposed, and efforts should be taken to protect the green land we have in our area.”

Banks Mining officers held a public meeting on Tuesday, February 26 to provide details of how the surface mine would deliver a range of social, economic and environmental benefits to the area. This would include a £50,000 community fund, a £50,000 fund to help local unemployed people and the planting of over 26,000 trees and hedgerows.