BANKS Mining’s challenge to former Secretary of State Sajid Javid’s decision to reject its Highthorn surface mine application is to go ahead after a High Court judge ruled the company has an arguable claim.

The County Durham-headquartered firm gained approval for the Highthorn planning application from Northumberland County Council in July 2016, only for the decision to subsequently be called in for review by the then Department for Communities and Local Government, which led to a public inquiry into the project last year.

After Mr Javid disregarded the recommendation of the planning inspector that the Highthorn scheme should be allowed to go ahead, Banks Mining lodged a challenge with the High Court on the grounds that there were serious errors in the legal basis on which it was made.

Permission for the challenge has now been granted after The Honourable Mr Justice Ouseley concluded the appeal was “an arguable case” and a date of October 17 set for the hearing.