CAMPAIGNERS objecting to plans for an open cast mine near Ponteland have received the backing of Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman.

The proposals have been put forward by a partnership between Banks Mining and Ibstock Brick, the owners of the nearby Throckley Brickworks, located 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. Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman, said: “This is the wrong approach on a multitude of levels from climate change, to transport.

“I recently met with members of the Defend Dewley Hill Action Group to discuss their environmental and infrastructure concerns.

“They are rightly concerned that this is the wrong approach when we are doing so much to address climate change.

“I have written to the Leader of Newcastle City Council, Coun. Nick Forbes to express my concerns, and ask the council to block this application.”

Campaigners say the proposed mine would be 67m at its deepest, covering up to 50 hectares of land, with more than 100 lorries in and out of the site each day.

More than 16,000 people have now signed a petition to oppose the development.

Mr Opperman added: “We need a cleaner, greener future increasingly powered by renewable energy.

“I led the campaign against two previous local open cast mines at Halton Lea Gate and Whittonstall and I do not want to see new opencast coal mining casting a shadow on our vital green lungs.”

Defend Dewley Hill and Save Newcastle Wildlife campaign groups are calling on members of the public to send their objections to Newcastle City Council by April 23.