New court bid aims to halt coal tip scheme

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CAMPAIGNERS fighting a coal reclamation scheme approved by planners have begun judicial review proceedings after discovering a plan in a neighbouring area was facing more stringent checks.

Wakefield Council has called for a health impact assessment over a proposal for the Deanfield site near Crofton, where UK Coal plans to extract around 1.2m tonnes of coal over four years.

But a similar assessment was never carried out for a project at a former coke plant in Chapeltown, near Sheffield, before operator RecyCoal, was given permission to begin work.

An action group failed to halt planning approval for the Sheffield site, but spokesman Jean Howe said the move by Wakefield Council had given residents confidence to begin the legal challenge.

She added: “The decision to take legal action is based upon the council’s failure to take full account of the impact of the Hesley Wood development on air quality in the Chapeltown area.

“A lot of people have said they wished they lived in Wakefield. We cannot believe that council has asked for an health impact assessment where our council does not give a damn,

“I don’t think they expected us to go to judicial review, and it is going to cost us money, but we will still keep going until we hit a brick wall.”

Cowley Residents Action Group, named after the housing estate which is closest to the coking works waste tip, has asked members to pay the initial costs of engaging lawyers.

Mrs Howe said once a response from Sheffield Council had been received and a final decision to press ahead had been made, the group planned to fund-raise in the community to help pay lawyers bills.

Doncaster-based RecyCoal has repeatedly rejected suggestions that its operation in Chapeltown will affect health, and claims once its operations are over, the site will be returned to the community as parkland.