PROTESTORS are resuming legal action into the Government’s failure to intervene in the creation of an opencast coalmine.

Residents who live near the Bradley site, at Dipton, near Consett, are reopening proceedings to hold a judicial review into the controversial scheme.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire agreed to remake a decision regarding an application to revoke planning permission after Government lawyers agreed the original decision-making process was “flawed”.

The new decision was expected to be made at the end of last month, but no decision has been announced so lawyers acting for resident June Davison, who is bringing the review, have filed documents to the High Court to re-open the case and push for a new decision, with reasons, by tomorrow.

Another resident, Tracey Gillman, who lives 300m from the site, said: “We are still hopeful for a positive result, that James Brokenshire will do the right thing by this community and by the global community by ending fossil fuel and opencast coal extraction as soon as possible.”

In July 2017, the Secretary of State refused to revoke planning permission, but protestors argue it failed to fully consider the evidence provided.

The judicial review was launched as no reasons were given and the extraction of 500,000 tonnes of coal began in May 2018.

Action was put on hold when James Brokenshire said he would revisit the matter but so far no such decision has been issued.

A spokesman for the Communities Secretary said: “Unfortunately, we are unable to comment on ongoing legal proceedings.”

The Banks Group now plans to extend the operation and is expected to submit another application to remove a further 100,000 tonnes of coal.

The Secretary of State is also reconsidering the application by Banks Group to extract 3 million tonnes of coal by opencast methods close to Druridge Bay.

The company has submitted another planning document to Newcastle City Council for a new opencast on the outskirts of the city.

Banks Group director Mark Dowdall said: “The UK still needs coal for a range of essential industrial uses, such as the manufacture of steel and cement, and this need is increasingly having to be met through imports, most especially from Russia, as a result of the decline in UK coal production.

“We can mine and transport the coal from our surface mines in North East England to UK customers with significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than from the transportation alone associated with coal imports.

“Further increasing the UK’s reliance on such imports would simply be off-shoring our environmental responsibilities and rather than reducing greenhouse gas emissions, any limiting of the mining of UK coal would inevitably result in a global emissions increase.”