THE VILLAGE of Broughton Moor has already suffered 40 years of opencast mining and does not need any more, says its parish council chairman.

Cath Ferguson was responding to controversial comments made by Allerdale council’s outgoing director of strategic resources, Nick Fardon.

Mr Fardon said he believed, and experts thought, that opencast mining was the only viable option for the former RNAD armaments depot at Broughton Moor.

Keir Group, which owns the mining rights to the 1,050 acre brownfield site, owned by Allerdale and the county council, said last week that it has expressed an interest in taking on the site. It said shallow coal mining would be part of its initial plan.

It would still need planning permission to mine it.

But Mrs Ferguson, who says her village still bears the scars of opencast, should not be subjected to any more.

She said: “We are devastated that opencast is being talked about again. It has decimated the village over the years.

“We held a parish council meeting this week and it was unanimous. The village does not want, or need, opencast.

“I have been involved in the ideas to redevelop that brownfield site for more than 10 years.

“I’ve been round there with politicians, I’ve seen consultants and experts appointed, think tanks, shadow think tanks to talk about its future created - and we’re back here, at open cast.

“It’s all very well to say it is the only option, but it’s a short-term fix, with long-term consequences, for the site.

“Let’s bust this myth that it’ll create jobs. We know from experience that these companies bring their own staff in. They may have employed one or two labourers from the village, but that’s been it.

“If mining goes ahead, they’re not just going to take a bit of it, they’re going to mine it all. Apparently, in some places, there’s coal 200 feet down.

“That means after several years of mining, the land has to settle for 15 to 20 years, and in some cases can’t be built on for 25 years.

“How is that developing Broughton Moor?”

Allerdale and the county councils said the future of the depot had not been decided, but nothing had been ruled out.

A spokesman said no decision had been made about mining but they did not accept that coal extraction was the only option.

He added that people rightly expected the development of Derwent Forest should bring maximum value and benefits and protect their interests as taxpayers.

Mrs Ferguson said: “Last year, I was told by the portfolio holder that coal extraction would happen “over her dead body”. She’s not in that job any more. If they haven’t ruled anything in or out, they need to know that coal mining would be a tragic waste for the area.”

Letters page 10