PROTESTORS fighting an open cast mine between two rural villages plan to hold a demonstration along busy main road outside the site today.

Members of the Campaign to Protect Pont Valley say they will be having a “family-friendly” day of activities on the side of the A692 at the Bradley site, between Dipton and Leadgate, County Durham, from 7am to noon.

The demonstration comes weeks after a joint operation involving bailiffs along with Durham Constabulary and Durham County Council evicted people from a roadside protest camp.

Bailiffs were acting on behalf of developers The Banks Group who have been been awarded permission to operate an opencast site – two public inquiries and a High Court case later.

Seven people were arrested after a two-day stand-off for aggravated trespassing after they locked themselves onto devices and held out in a tree on the site.

Protestor Anne Harris, who said a protected great crested newt was found on the site, added: “We have lots of people who have been carefully preparing newt costumes for the event.

“Hopefully there will be a lot of local people there. It is a family-friendly event. We have got some singing and some dressing up and that sort of thing.”

A police spokesman said two people were arrested on Thursday after renewed activity at the mining site.

He said: “A 24-year-old man, from Bristol, was arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass after being stopped by security guards as he tried to gain access to the Banks-owned site between Dipton and Leadgate.

“A woman was later arrested on suspicion of obstructing the highway.

“Police also dispersed three people who were attempting to stage a slow-walk protest along the busy A692.

“Orders under Section 35 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 were later issued to two of the people involved in the slow-walk.

“They were instructed to leave the area and not return for 48 hours.”

The spokesman said officers were aware of today’s demonstration.

Yesterday, work continued on the site in preparation for the construction of an entrance road to the site, with a highly visible security presence.