THE developers behind refused plans to mine at Dewely Hill have responded following the decision.

Jeannie Raine, community relations manager at The Banks Group, said: “Newcastle City Council identified Dewley Hill as the only minerals site in the city less than six months ago.

“Given this fact, it is outrageous that, in the height of the worst economic crisis of our generation, its planning committee has decided to dismiss over 200 existing, well-paid North-East jobs and has not grasped the opportunity to support a £75m investment in the regional economy which would secure local supplies of much-needed minerals at the lowest environmental cost.

“The committee heard, but did not listen to the indisputable fact that there will be continued demand for industrial coal and fireclay for us in UK steel, cement and brick manufacture, and we remain firm in our belief that these minerals should be mined locally in the UK in the safest, most efficient and most environmentally responsible way possible.

“The acute need of the Throckley Brickworks for fireclay could not be met with a lower environmental impact than through the adjacent Dewley Hill site, and its owners Ibstock Brick have clearly repeated how much of a devastating blow its rejection would be in terms of production, local employment and investment.

“The committee members also chose to ignore warnings from both Unite the Union and the Heritage Railway Associations that failing to make use of domestic supplies will force UK industry to drag the coal across the globe while simultaneously significantly increasing global greenhouse gas emissions – and all in the name of a simplistic view on climate change.

“We remain grateful to the 1,450 individuals, community groups and organisations that have submitted letters in support of the Dewley Hill scheme, and will now examine the precise reasons for this decision before deciding on the most appropriate next steps to take.”