MPS to keep pressure on in the battle to save threatened pit

MPs will continue to press the Government for an action plan to keep open a threatened North Yorkshire mine after hundreds of people from across the UK demonstrated against its closure at the weekend.

Campaigners on the march to save Kellingley colliery in North Yorkshire
Campaigners on the march to save Kellingley colliery in North Yorkshire

Workers from the UK’s two other last deep pits, Thoresby, Nottinghamshire and Hatfield, which are also facing closure, joined colleagues, MPs and union leaders at Knottingley for a march and rally to save the Kellingley mine.

Also marching were members of the South Wales Dulais mining community and the Lesbians and Gays Support Mineworkers group, which featured in the recent hit film Pride.

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Campaigners are hoping the event adds to the pressure on the Government to grant funding to keep the pit open until the end of 2018.

Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford Yvette Cooper said: “With £1bn being invested in Drax in clean coal technology it seems totally the wrong time to be closing the mines right next door by stealth and inaction of this Government. The Government must take action and bring all parties together to put forward a package that can see Kellingley provide a secure supply of coal for this country in the future.”

A cross party group of MPs, headed by Ian Lavery MP, former President of the NUM, meets later this week.

Government data last year showed that a record drop in coal production means the UK imports more coal with Russian coal now making up about a third of all the coal the UK uses.

In September UK Coal secured a £4m Government loan to fund the closure of mine by the end of the year, with more than 700 job losses. The company submitted a plan to the Government last month asking for further funding which would see Kellingley remain open until 2018 or provide further funding for the closure of the business.

A Government spokesman said: “We have now received a plan from the company and will look carefully at their proposal, bearing in mind that we must make sure that taxpayers receive value for money.”