Rejection of plans for the Dewley Hill opencast mine would be “a devastating blow” for a nearby brickmaker.

Joe Hudson, chief executive officer of Ibstock Brick, has urged councillors to support proposals for the Banks Group’s surface mine ahead of a hearing later this week.

Newcastle City Council’s planning committee will meet on Friday morning to decide whether or not the hugely controversial mine can go ahead, and city planners have advised that it should be refused permission as it “cannot be considered ‘environmentally acceptable’”. 

But Mr Hudson has warned that rejection would be deeply damaging to the nearby Throckley Brickworks, which could benefit from around 400,000 tonnes of fireclay that could be extracted from the green belt land alongside 800,000 tonnes of coal.

He said that the business would be left without a secure supply of a material “essential” to its brickmaking, as there are no other sites in the North East that can be used as a source of fireclay since mining finished at Banks’ site in Shotton.

Ibstock, which has made the application for the Dewley Hill site jointly with Banks, has urged the council to think about the future of a brickworks which is just a few hundred yards from the potential mining site.

Mr Hudson said: “Our brickworks at Throckley is the largest producer of fireclay-based bricks in the UK and has a product range which can be seen on many iconic buildings, both in the North East and nationally.

“Dewley Hill provides an important opportunity to ensure that an essential raw material required by the Throckley Brickworks is sourced locally and transported in ways that minimise emissions of greenhouse gases.

“If Dewley Hill is rejected, this would be a devastating blow for our brickworks in terms of production, local employment and investment, as well as having a major impact on our locally-based suppliers and hauliers.”

The fireclay extracted from Dewley Hill could provide a 10-year supply for Ibstock’s Throckley operations, where 47 people are employed, according to Mr Hudson.