Sheffield residents anger as coal scheme is approved

Cowley Residents Action Group outside Shefffielkd Town Hall as they oppose the planned opencast site at Thorpe Hesley

Cowley Residents Action Group outside Shefffielkd Town Hall as they oppose the planned opencast site at Thorpe Hesley

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AN ANGRY mum has spoken of her shock and disbelief after controversial plans to recover coal from land near her Sheffield home were approved.

Jayne Lawson was among 70 residents who appealed to councillors to vote against RecyCoal’s proposal to extract 395,000 tonnes of coal from the old spoil heap at Hesley Wood.

The former Hesley Wood Colliery Spoil heap which Doncaster-based RecyCoal plans to reclaim.

The former Hesley Wood Colliery Spoil heap which Doncaster-based RecyCoal plans to reclaim.

“Both of my children suffer with severe asthma and eczema,” she said, expressing concern for the dangerous dust particles and toxins she fears could be cast into the environment as a result of the work.

“I’m scared that I won’t be able to keep them safe.”

Jayne, who lives on Glenwood Crescent, just 44 metres from the site, was reduced to tears when Sheffield Council’s west and north planning board approved the application by a six-to-two majority yesterday.

She told The Star the work will effectively mean a ‘prison sentence’ for her family.

“We won’t be able to sit outside in the garden, we won’t be able to open our windows or put washing on the line.”

The Hesley Wood spoil heap was used for the disposal of colliery waste from Smithy Wood Colliery and the scheme is expected to produce around 395,000 tonnes of coal.

Now Jayne is saying the family may have to consider leaving their home of 25 years.

She said: “I don’t want to leave, but it is something we’ll have to think seriously about.”

Jayne was one of 13 residents to present her concerns to the committee, reading out letters from her children’s doctors.

Representatives from various neighbourhood groups and Ecclesfield Parish Council cited loss of wildlife habitats and vegetation, noise and traffic pollution and the potential for flooding among their concerns.

Liberal Democrat Coun Bob McCann abstained from voting but said: “I would ask the community to work with the applicant on this, so that the outcome is their design for their community and not what other people want.”

Tom Allchurch, RecyCoal’s chief executive, said: “The proposed scheme will create a visually appealing and environmentally enhancing alternative to the spoil heap that currently occupies the site.”