“Unwanted” plans for an opencast coal mine on the outskirts of Ponteland have been categorically rejected.

Newcastle city councillors issued a resounding ‘no’ to the Banks Group’s proposals to turn more than 250 acres of green belt land at Dewley Hill, near Stamfordham Road and the A69, into a new mining operation.

On Friday morning, Newcastle City Council’s planning committee voted unanimously to refuse permission for the hugely contentious scheme.

The plans could have seen 800,000 tonnes of coal and 400,000 tonnes of fireclay, for the neighbouring Throckley brickworks, extracted from the green space on the western edge of the city.

But councillors stood by a conclusion from city planners, who advised that the mine would be “inappropriate” for the green belt and “cannot be considered ‘environmentally acceptable’”. 

More than 5,000 objections had been lodged against the Dewley Hill plans, plus a petition signed by more than 19,000 people.

Jude Campbell, of the Defend Dewley Hill campaign group, told the committee on Friday that opencast was “the most destructive and noxious form of mining, devastating everything in its path”.

Mike Pratt, chief executive of the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, said that approving the mine plan would have been “totally unacceptable”, while environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth commented that the rejection “will hopefully bring down the curtain on opencast coal mining in England”.

But the Banks Group called the committee’s decision “outrageous”, and argued that the mine would support 200 jobs, invest £75 million in the region, and see 33,000 trees planted when the land is restored.