Secondly this company presents itself as carrying the banner of Britain’s deep mining tradition and as a caring organisation which only seems to extract opencast coal as a consequence of restoring brown field sites left over from the glory days of the coal industry. This company then, is a force for good, for environmental improvement, a point it stresses time and time again in planning applications for new opencast mines and in its publicity. However, this alternative report contends that:
The future of this company as a long term deep mine coal producer is questionable.
In the future it is going to be increasingly reliant on increasing its surface mine production to meet its contracted targets for coal delivery to generators.
In the future is going to be increasingly reliant on gaining planning permission on green field sites and not ex industrial ‘brown field’ sites for new surface mines. This trend is likely to result in more opposition to these proposals from local communities across Britain.
The development value of a large part of its extensive estate is dependent on gaining planning permission to extract the underlying reserves of coal first; otherwise the land cannot be developed.
Local communities are learning about the use UK Coal plc makes of the planning system in its attempts to convert the temporary use of the land which is allowed for mineral extraction purposes to its permanent use as a land suitable for a range of developments and these communities are increasingly likely to resist such proposals.
Therefore UK Coal plc faces a range of future problems.
In addition, UK Coal plc’s actions to maximise the value of its land holdings has already brought it into conflict with local communities and local authorities. Three of these current conflicts are included in the report. This report is intended for all those who have an interest in UK Coal plc either now or in the future, especially those who will find themselves opposing UK Coal’s current and future planning applications. Lastly this report reviews the current financial position of UK Coal plc.
SECTION 2: A BRIEF REVIEW OF UK COAL POLICY 1989 - 2000
A recent review of Britain’s coal policy 1 explained the following changes. The first change has been the relative decline in importance of coal as a feed stock in meeting Britain’s energy needs as cheaper gas gained market share. This meant that the amount of coal consumed as a primary
UK COAL plc: AN ALTERNATIVE REPORTPAGE 7