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SIGNET PLANNING

Rowe House
10 East Parade
Harrogate HG1 5LT

Telephone: 01423 857510
Facsimile: 01423 564982
E-mail: info@signetplanning.com

www.signetplanning.com
Signet Ref: HG2533
Date: July 2014

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The contents of this document must not be copied or
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of Signet Planning








BRADLEY SURFACE MINE SCHEME
UPDATED ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT
NON TECHNICAL SUMMARY






BRADLEY SURFACE MINE SCHEME
NON TECHNICAL SUMMARY
CONTENTS
Page No

SECTION 1: Introduction 1
SECTION 2: Site Description 3
SECTION 3: Proposed Development 5
SECTION 4: Planning Policy 8
SECTION 5: Landscape and Visual Impact 9
SECTION 6: Air Quality and Dust 12
SECTION 7: Noise 14
SECTION 8: Hydrology and Hydrogeology 15
SECTION 9: Ecology 17
SECTION 10: Historic Environment 19
SECTION 11: Agricultural Land Use and Soils 22
SECTION 12: Highways and Transport 26
SECTION 13: Blasting and Vibration 26
SECTION 14: Stability 27
SECTION 15: Mine and Landfill Gases 27
SECTION 16: Cumulative Impact 29
SECTION 17: Socio-economic Assessment 30
SECTION 18: Summary and Conclusions 31

FIGURES
NTS 1 Location Plan
NTS 2 Existing Features
NTS 3 Site Plan
NTS 4 Restoration Plan


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BRADLEY SURFACE MINE SCHEME
NON TECHNICAL SUMMARY

1 INTRODUCTION

1.1 A planning application for the Bradley Surface Mine Scheme (the Scheme or the
Proposal), near Leadgate, Consett, was submitted with an Environmental Statement
(ES) to Durham County Council (DCC) on 11 December 2007 by Juniper (No.3)
Limited (formerly known as UK Coal Mining Ltd) (the Appellant). During DCCs
consideration of the planning application for the Scheme some supplementary
information was submitted by the Appellant to DCC in order to address revisions to
the Proposal and matters raised by DCC, along with some consultees and third
parties. The planning application was refused by DCC on 18 February 2011 against
the recommendation of the planning officer to approve it.

1.2 The Appellant submitted an appeal against the refusal of planning permission by DCC
to the Planning Inspectorate on 30 March 2011. The Appellant submitted further
supplementary information in relation to some amendments to the Scheme along
with updated surveys and evidence for a public inquiry in Autumn 2011. Further to
the public inquiry the decision letter issued by the Planning Inspectorate dated 23
February 2012 was successfully challenged by the Appellant in the High Court and
quashed by a judgement handed down on 19 July 2013. The appeal will be reheard
at a public inquiry commencing on 7 October 2014.

1.3 Following a Pre-inquiry meeting held on 2 June 2014 with the Secretary of States
appointed Inspector, Mrs Ellison, the Appellant has made some minor revisions to
the Scheme to be considered at the public inquiry. The revisions to the Scheme
involved pulling back the south east site boundary, with an associated reduction in
the excavation area and revision to some soil mounds, in order to increase the
stand-off from sensitive receptors including properties at Douglas Terrace and
Hedley Terrace to the north east, along with reducing the landscape and visual
impact of the Scheme, and a limited increase of the Site boundary along with the
excavation area and associated realignment of the soil mound adjacent to the A692,
near its intersection with the A693.


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1.4 This updated ES for the Bradley Scheme has been prepared by Signet, on behalf of
the Appellant, in conjunction with our client UK Coal Surface Mines Ltd and an
environmental consultant team for consideration at the forthcoming public inquiry.
The updated ES consolidates the revisions to the Proposal, along with the previously
submitted ES and supplementary information, and includes updated surveys and
assessments where necessary. For ease of reference we refer to the Appellant
and/or UK Coal Surface Mines Ltd as UK Coal in the ES.

1.5 The appeal Site covers 70.9 hectares (ha) of land and is located 3km east of
Consett, County Durham, located between Leadgate and Dipton, as shown on the
Location Plan Figure NTS1 and Existing Features Figure NTS2. The land within the
Site is mainly in use for agriculture.

1.6 The Scheme involves surface mining operations for the winning and working of an
estimated 520,561 tonnes of indigenous coal, with progressive restoration to include
woodland, species rich grassland and hay meadow, scrub, water features and
agriculture, over a 3 year 6 month period. The coal would be extracted over a 2 year
and 3 month coaling period. Some 10.5ha of the Site would be retained including the
Billingside Ponds and preserved grassland along with foliage in the northern part of
the Site, an area of grassland along part of the NER branch line and a purported
route of the Western Way in the south west of the Site and a length of the Billingside
Dyke in the north west of the Site. The restoration and aftercare proposals for the
Scheme have been designed to achieve a balance between the creation of habitat
and species biodiversity appropriate to the locality, the enhancement of the
landscape quality, the provision of heritage benefits and an extended rights of way
network, the requirement for continued agricultural use and the need to create a
viable long term landscape that can be managed in a sustainable manner. An area
of planted ancient woodland to the north of the Site would also be restored.

1.7 On the basis that the planning application for the Scheme was submitted to DCC in
2007 then this updated ES has been prepared with due regard to the requirements
of The Town and Country Planning (Environment Impact Assessment) (England and
Wales) Regulations 1999 (EIA Regulations). In addition, the national Planning
Practice Guidance (NPPG) for Environmental Impact Assessment has been taken


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into account during the preparation of this ES. Due considerations has been given to
the matters raised by DCC, along with consultees and third parties, in relation to the
planning application and subsequent appeal for the Scheme.

1.8 It is considered that the basic stages of impact prediction are as follows:
i. identifying the activities in the development process likely to generate impacts,
both positive and negative;
ii. identify resources and receptors likely to be affected by those impacts;
iii. establish the chain of events or pathways linking cause with effect;
iv. predict the likely nature, extent and magnitude of any anticipated changes or
effects;
v. evaluate the consequences of any impacts identified; and
vi. establish which potential impacts (positive or negative) should be regarded as
significant.

1.9 UK Coal has worked with their specialist environmental consultant team (Project
Team) during the iterative design and EIA process for the Scheme. During this
period, a range of options for the Scheme were considered along with potential
impacts. This process of Site evaluation was aimed at designing an environmentally
acceptable Scheme that also provided national, local and community benefits.
Further details are provided in ES Chapter 1.

2 SITE DESCRIPTION

2.1 The Site covers 70.9ha of land in County Durham and is located approximately 3
kilometres (km) east of Consett, 550 metres (m) from Leadgate and 750m from
Dipton.

2.2 The Site is bordered by the A692 road to the south east. The south west part of the
Site lies adjacent to Billingside Plantation then agricultural land further to the south
east. Woodland is also located beyond the north west and the north part of the
north east Site boundary, including Pontop Springpit Wood and Billingside Wood
(both ancient woodlands). Agricultural land is located beyond the south part of the


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north east Site boundary. The topography of the Site generally falls from the south
east away to the west and north west into the valley of the Pont Burn and includes
some field hedges, trees and water bodies including ponds and burns. Lengths of
three definitive rights of way (Footpaths 26, 27 and 28 (Consett)) cross the Site
along with part of a potential unregistered footpath in the south east part of the Site.

2.3 Douglas Terrace and Hedley Terrace comprise two rows of terraced residential
properties that lie beyond intervening agricultural land to the north east of the Site.
Two further residential properties at High Stables are located to the south east of
Douglas Terrace and Hedley Terrace. There are a number of isolated dwellings,
farms and other buildings in the countryside in the locality of the Site. South of the
Site and the A692 are Brooms Farm and Our Lady and St Joseph Roman Catholic
Church with the adjacent Selly Park House. Properties fronting on to Pont Lane are
located to the south west with intervening woodland and agricultural land. Low
Bradley Farm and Bradley Hall are located to the north west beyond the woodland
and some agricultural land.

2.4 The Site lies partly within an Area of High Landscape Value, as shown on the
Proposals Map respectively in the County Durham Minerals Local Plan (2000) and the
Derwentside District Local Plan (1997). The Brooms Pond Local Wildlife Site is
located within the south part of the Site. The West Billingside Meadow Site of Nature
Conservation Importance (SNCI), formerly designated by Derwentside District
Council, included land within and adjacent to the north east part of the Site but this
degraded grassland area has not been included on the DCC definitive list of Local
Wildlife Sites.

2.5 The Site is mainly used for agriculture involving grassland and grazing. There is clear
evidence of surface subsidence where shallow mine workings are present on the
Site.

2.6 ES Chapter 2 provides a more detailed description of the Site and surroundings and
then further details are provided in relation to specific environmental matters
addressed in ES Chapters 5 to 17 inclusive.




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3 PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT

3.1 Details of the proposed development are provided in ES Chapter 3. The Scheme has
been carefully designed to provide an environmentally led surface coal mine
proposal. The Scheme, as shown on the Site Plan Figure NTS3 and the Phasing Plans
(Figures 3.1e to 3.5e as contained within the ES), provides for preliminary works,
including the early installation of cut off drainage ditches and installation of water
treatment areas, the stripping of soils, formation of peripheral soil mounds and
overburden mound, with progressive excavation operations to extract an estimated
520,561 tonnes of coal, along with progressive restoration to include woodland,
species rich grassland and hay meadow, scrub, water features and agriculture, over
a 3 year 6 month period. Within this period coal extraction operations would be
completed over a 2 year 3 month period. All coal produced from the Site would be
transported by sheeted haulage lorries (HGVs) from the Site access, then left along
a short length of the A692, then the A693 to the A1 motorway at junction 63, then
onward to markets including UK power generation and coking coal would be made
available to the steel manufacturing market.

3.2 The Site operations involving all soil handling, overburden excavation along with coal
extraction, screening and stocking, backfill and restoration, would be carried out
between 0700 and 1900 hours Monday to Friday and 0700 to 1200 hours on
Saturday. No such operations would be carried out on Sundays, Bank or Public
Holidays. Soil handling operations within 200 metres of any third party residential
house would not commence before 0800 hours Monday to Saturday. Operations for
the maintenance of plant would be carried out between the normal Site operations
hours above but exceptionally within the extended hours of 1200 to 1600 hours on
Saturday. Continuous Site drainage and pumping would be carried out 24 hours per
day.

3.3 Average production is estimated to be 4,934 tonnes of coal per week over a
production period of 106 weeks. Coal lorry movements would average 64 HGV loads
per day, or 3 laden HGV movements leaving the Site per operational hour (which
equates to 6 movements to and from the Site per hour), between 0700 to 1800
hours Monday to Friday and 0700 to 1200 hours on Saturday.


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3.4 The excavation area would cover some 33.36ha of land which is less than half of the
70.9ha Site area. Most of the remaining area would be used for Site operations
(mounds, lagoons, plant yard and so forth). Some 10.5ha of the Site would be
retained including the Billingside Ponds and preserved grassland along with foliage in
the northern part of the Site, an area of grassland with part of the retained fabric of
the NER branch line and a purported length of the Western Way in the south west of
the Site and a length of the Billingside Dyke in the north west of the Site.

3.5 Particular regard has been paid to the positioning and design of the soil mounds and
overburden mounds along with their phased construction, retention then removal, to
enable them to blend more easily into the landscape and reduce the visual impact of
the temporary operations on Site. The method of progressive working and
restoration has been designed with the aim of maximising the comprehensive
recovery of indigenous coal resources whilst ensuring that the Scheme is
environmentally acceptable along with providing national, local and community
benefits.

3.6 In evolving the restoration concept the Project Team has had regard to the position
of the Site in the landscape, its history, ecological and recreational considerations
along with the potential for the future sustainable afteruse. The Scheme provides for
ecological, heritage, landscape and recreational enhancement measures. The
restoration and aftercare proposals for the Scheme have been designed to achieve a
balance between the creation of habitat and species biodiversity appropriate to the
locality, the enhancement of the landscape quality, the provision of heritage benefits
and an extended rights of way network, the requirement for continued agricultural
use and the need to create a viable long term landscape that can be managed in a
sustainable manner. An area of planted ancient woodland to the north of the Site
would also be restored.

3.7 The Scheme has been prepared having due regard to the following:
i. the relevant planning policy and guidance in terms of sustainable
development;
ii. the residential and recreational amenity of sensitive receptors in the locality;
iii. the existing habitats of wildlife in the locality; and


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iv. the context of the surrounding landscape.

3.8 The many benefits of the Scheme are summarised as follows:
a once and for all surface mine Scheme to extract an estimated 520,561 tonnes
of indigenous coal that would contribute to the maintenance and diversity of fuel
supply in the UK power generation sector and other potential markets including
coking coal that would be made available to the steel manufacturing market;
the creation of an estimated 38 full time jobs during the working of the Site and
up to an additional 5 seasonal jobs;
the provision of opportunities for businesses, including local companies, to supply
goods and services throughout the Scheme;
enhanced restoration in keeping with the surrounding landscape;
enhanced ecological and biodiversity benefits as part of the restoration and
aftercare proposals as shown on the Restoration Plan Figure NTS4 including
12.74ha of core woodland planting, 0.8ha of woodland edge planting, the
translocation and protection of the great crested newt (GCN) population in the
Billingside Ponds area covering 4.83ha, some 10.32ha of species rich
grassland/hay meadow; 3.87ha of acidic grassland; 0.18ha of open water,
0.46ha of marsh/wetland; 1.2ha of scrub planting, and the planting of 3.53km of
new hedgerows (a net increase of over 1.95km);
heritage benefits including improved knowledge on local heritage gained through
excavation, recording and publication. This will also provide a benefit of
opportunities for community involvement and skills training in the archaeological
process. Additional benefits will be achieved through the informed restoration
and interpretation scheme which will provide restored regionally distinctive
hedgerows and enclosure features, along with access and interpretation marking
the alignment of the Western Way and the locations of historic farmsteads;
the removal of some of the shallow and potentially unstable mine workings on
the Site which represent a potential hazard to members of the public;
the reinstatement of existing footpaths and creation of 2.9km of new footpaths;
and
an area of planted ancient woodland north of the Site would also be restored.



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3.9 A community fund is also proposed which would accrue during the life of the Site and
would be available for local community groups and good causes to apply for.

3.10 Various alternatives were considered in relation to the Scheme including revised
methods of working. However, such alternatives have been discounted for various
reasons including environmental and economic grounds.

4 PLANNING POLICY

4.1 The Scheme has been prepared taking into account the statutory development plan
along with other material considerations, including the emerging development plan
relevant Government policy and guidance, and further details are provided in ES
Chapter 4.

4.2 The development plan includes saved policies in the County Durham Minerals Local
Plan (2000) (Minerals Local Plan) and the Derwentside District Local Plan (1997)
(Derwentside Local Plan).

4.3 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) includes policies relevant to the
Scheme. Paragraph 142 of the NPPF notes that minerals are essential to support
sustainable economic growth and our quality of life, and that it is therefore important
that there is a sufficient supply of material to provide the infrastructure, buildings,
energy and goods that the country needs. Paragraph 142 then advises that since
minerals are a finite natural resource, and can only be worked where they are found,
it is important to make best use of them to secure their long-term conservation.
NPPF paragraph 144 confirms that when determining planning applications, local
planning authorities should give great weight to the benefits of mineral extraction,
including to the economy. NPPF paragraph 149 confirms that permission should not
be given for the extraction of coal unless the proposal is environmentally acceptable,
or can be made so by planning conditions or obligations; or if not, it provides
national, local or community benefits which clearly outweigh the likely impacts to
justify the grant of planning permission.





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5 LANDSCAPE AND VISUAL IMPACT

5.1 A landscape and visual impact assessment has been carried out as detailed in ES
Chapter 5. The Scheme has been developed with care and attention to detail,
seeking wherever possible to minimise environmental disruption during the
operational phase whilst maximising the benefits that can be delivered by the
restoration process. All the environmental requirements and aspirations set out in
the cascade of planning policy documents including the County Durham Landscape
Strategy and Guidelines have been fully addressed and complied with.

5.2 Situated in the West Durham Coalfield County Landscape Character Area, the Site
itself consists of farm land, enclosed by hedges, fences and, occasionally, walls.
There are some individual hedgerow trees and areas of scrub, often developed on
the former rail lines or trackways. The landscape is of local interest, but is
unremarkable in a wider context. It is typical of the surrounding area, and in itself
lacks any particularly striking features. Without positive management the landscape
will become more fragmented in the future, leading to a progressive loss of
landscape character.

5.3 The Site is not covered by any National or Statutory designations for reasons of
landscape character or quality. The North Pennines AONB lies approximately 4km to
the west, but it is considered that there would be no effect on the character of this
area. Part of the Site lies within an area designated as an "Area of High Landscape
Value" (AHLV) in the Minerals Local Plan and Derwentside Local Plan. The AHLV
covers a very substantial proportion of County Durham, extending to over 56
thousand hectares. The Site, with 49ha lying within the AHLV, represents 0.09% of
the total designation. The emerging County Durham Plan does not intend to retain
these local designations.

5.4 The operational phase of the Scheme has been very carefully designed by UK Coal to
reduce disruption to landscape features and to minimise visual intrusion. Progressive
restoration will proceed at the earliest opportunity, ensuring that the exposed
working areas are reduced as much as possible.




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5.5 In summary, the key operational points are as follows:
The operational Site boundary has been drawn to exclude sensitive landscape
assets such as Billingside Wood and the Pont Burn Valley.
The Site is well buffered spatially from the local communities of Leadgate,
Dipton and Medomsley.
The total timescale for operations is comparatively short.
There is good scope to provide robust perimeter screening and set back for local
residences such as Douglas Terrace.
The method of working reduces the area of disturbance to a minimum.
The overburden mound is concentrated in low lying location to limit its intrusive
effect.
The integrity of the right of way network can be maintained.
Restoration is rapid and progressive.

5.6 Following the operational phase, progressive restoration will rapidly reinstate a
landscape pattern which is directly related to the historic evolution of the Site and its
surroundings. However, the opportunity can also be taken to add further elements
of landscape and ecological diversity together with substantially improved public
accessibility which will deliver significant overall benefits when compared to the
current somewhat impoverished landscape.

5.7 In overall terms, a richer, more varied landscape character will be created, consistent
with 21st Century green infrastructure objectives. This will show clear linkages to
the historical background of the Site and its setting. The Restoration Plan Figure
NTS4 provides a robust framework for subsequent detailed design work to be agreed
with the DCC and covered by an appropriately worded condition. There is scope at
detailed design to maximise the subtleties of landscape design ensuring the "local
distinctiveness" is reflected in the final treatment. This includes features such as the
"sunken" lane which used to serve West Billingside, and the careful re-use of
features such as stone gateposts.

5.8 The proposed restoration would provide significant landscape and recreational
benefits. The restoration scheme comprises a mosaic of habitats including
woodland, wetlands and open water features, species rich grassland and new
hedgerows. A substantial area of woodland would be planted on the restored Site,


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and the landscape would be significantly more diverse and accessible than it is at
present. The restoration proposals would integrate with the existing landscape
framework and would reflect and enhance the existing characteristics.

5.9 Woodland planting, sensitively designed, would be appropriate to the restoration of
the Site, and could deliver a wide range of benefits.

5.10 Overall, the landscape restoration proposals would add visual interest and variety,
establishing a stronger, more positive landscape character. These landscape benefits
would enhance the overall character and fabric of the surrounding area. The
retention of the woodlands around the Site would provide instant maturity to the
restored landscape. The new landscape elements would establish rapidly and would
deliver landscape enhancement in a comparatively short time.

5.11 A significantly richer, more varied landscape character would result from the
restoration process. This would integrate very successfully with the appealing
aspects of the surrounding landscape context such as the Pont Burn incised valley
and Pontop Springpit Wood, improving the overall area. Community accessibility
would also be substantially enhanced, as a result of the substantial increase in rights
of way. The new rights of way would provide additional views along and across the
Pont Burn Valley.

5.12 In summary:
The Bradley Site has a fragmented and declining internal landscape pattern.
Whilst it is locally attractive, it is unremarkable in a Durham Context. It is not of
high sensitivity.
The Site has a well-defined landscape context and setting due to the interaction
of existing woodlands and topography.
Few properties overlook the Site at close range. The zone of visual influence is
primarily contained within a 2.5km area to the west and north.
The operational phase is of relatively short duration, and the potential disruption
minimised due to careful phasing, effective screening and progressive
restoration.


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Major adverse effects on visual amenity are restricted to a small number of
isolated nearby properties and users of the local rights of way, including those
which have to be closed and diverted during the operational phase.
The restoration proposals provide for significant overall enhancement of
landscape components and character, with elements such as rights of way,
wetlands and grasslands providing rapid benefits for both biodiversity and
community.
A sense of maturity can be achieved within 10 years. A richer, more diverse
landscape will be created which is locally distinctive and more readily enjoyed by
the community.

5.13 Longer term landscape and visual effects arising from the restoration proposals will
be moderately beneficial, enhancing the current scene to a significant degree.
Furthermore, taken individually and cumulatively, the short term adverse effects
experienced by receptors during the operational phase are clearly outweighed by the
high standard of design, which must be taken into account both for the mitigation of
operational effects and also for the significantly beneficial restoration proposals.

6 AIR QUALITY AND DUST

6.1 An air quality and dust assessment has been carried out as detailed in ES Chapter 6.
A qualitative assessment has been undertaken of the potential nuisance dust effects
resulting from on Site operations. In addition, dispersion modelling has been
undertaken to consider the possible health effects of fine particulate (PM
10
and PM
2.5
)
emissions from on-Site plant and operations.

6.2 The assessment of nuisance dust from on Site operations has been undertaken in
accordance with the NPPF and NPPG. The distance and direction of the closest seven
sensitive receptors to on Site operations is considered for all phases of the Scheme.
The distances to the closest existing and diverted rights of way, and designated sites
of ecological value, have also been considered. Meteorological data has been
obtained from the Newcastle Albemarle recording station to identify how local
weather conditions may affect deposition of dust from the Site.



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6.3 The assessment of fine particulates from on Site operations has been undertaken
using the AERMOD air dispersion model. Emission factors for on Site plant have been
included in the model. An additional contribution of 2.1g/m
3
has also been added to
take into account soil handling operations, with reference to the Newcastle Report,
which represents a highly conservative approach. Background PM
10
and PM
2.5

concentrations have been obtained from the Defra default concentration maps.
Meteorological data has been obtained from the Newcastle Albemarle recording
station. The air dispersion model has used this information to predict PM
10
and PM
2.5

levels at seven sensitive receptor locations in the vicinity of the Site. The impact of
PM
10
and PM
2.5
emissions associated with the Scheme has been assessed against the
Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010.

6.4 With the implementation of Site specific mitigation measures through a Dust Action
Plan, the residual dust effects at sensitive receptors will be minor to negligible. The
effects upon designated sites of ecological value are not significant, as any dust
settling on surrounding soils will have no adverse chemical effects and coarse dust
will be washed off leaves by rain. The residual dust effects along existing and
diverted rights of way will be negligible, as any users of these would be transient.

6.5 The assessment of PM
10
and PM
2.5
from the Site indicates that no exceedance of the
annual mean objective will occur as a result of activities on the Site. On Site plant
will not therefore have a significant impact on PM
10
and PM
2.5
concentrations at the
considered receptor locations. The effects of fine particulates upon designated sites
of ecological value, through the blockage of stomata, are not significant as
concentrations of PM
10
in the vicinity of the Site will be low. The residual fine
particulate effects along existing and diverted rights of way will be negligible, as the
main issue with PM
10
and PM
2.5
is long term exposure and footpath users would be
transient. In addition, concentrations of PM
10
and PM
2.5
in the vicinity of the Site will
be low.







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7 NOISE

7.1 The impact of noise resulting from operations at the proposed Site has been
assessed at three noise sensitive locations near to the Site, and for users of
footpaths, and further details are provided in ES Chapter 7.

7.2 Proposed operations at the Site include the removal of topsoil and subsoil and the
formation of screening bunds, overburden removal and storage, coal extraction and
the progressive restoration of the Site.

7.3 The NPPG Minerals recommends that short-term operations, such as soil stripping,
construction and removal of baffle mounds, soil storage mounds and spoil heaps,
and construction of new permanent landforms are assessed separately from the main
mineral extraction operations.

7.4 The NPPG Minerals recommends limits of 70 dB LAeq,1hr as being appropriate for
such activities for periods of up to 8 weeks in a year at specific noise-sensitive
properties.

7.5 The calculated worst-case hourly noise levels for the proposed short-term operations
at the proposed Site are not in excess of 65 dB LAeq,1hr at any nearby noise
sensitive location and are typically considerably lower. Noise levels from short-term
operations will only require the use of the higher noise limit for a few days at Brooms
Farm and Douglas Terrace. Noise levels from short-term operations are therefore
well within the NPPG Minerals criterion.

7.6 For routine operations, the NPPG Minerals recommends that MPAs should, subject to
a maximum of 55 dB LAeq,1hr (free field), aim to establish a noise limit at noise-
sensitive properties that does not exceed the background level by more than 10
dB(A) during normal working hours (0700-1900).

7.7 The calculated worst-case daytime noise levels for the proposed routine operations
at the Site are below 55 dB LAeq,1hr in all cases and are not in excess of background
(LA90) plus 10 dB LAeq,1hr at any nearby noise sensitive location.



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7.8 Noise levels on all footpaths adjacent to the Site would meet a criterion of 65 dB
LAeq,1hr.

7.9 As part of the measures to minimise noise from the Site, a comprehensive scheme of
baffle mounds has been included within the Scheme.

7.10 It is therefore concluded that with the implementation of mitigation measures as
proposed, noise associated with the proposed Scheme would be within the criteria
contained within the NPPG Minerals at all times and would not cause unacceptable
adverse noise impact at the nearest residential properties. There would be no
cumulative impact from noise from any other mineral workings.

8 HYDROLOGY AND HYDROGEOLOGY

8.1 A hydrology and hydrogeology assessment has been carried out and details are
provided in ES Chapter 8. UK Coal proposes to recover shallow coal reserves at its
Bradley Site.

8.2 The proposed Site lies within the catchment of Pont Burn, which is a tributary of the
River Derwent. The Site is not at risk of flooding and it will not increase the risk of
downstream flooding provided that the discharge of treated water is maintained at
greenfield rates. These have been estimated using the Environment Agencys
approved methodology. It is expected that these flow rates will form the basis of an
environmental permit that the Agency may grant to UK Coal.

8.3 The proposed excavations will give rise to very little, if any, drawdown in the
superficial deposits because of their very low conductivity. Groundwater monitoring
has shown that the deposits are under-drained, but are able to support ponds and
wetland areas. It is therefore highly unlikely that the Scheme will have an adverse
impact on the ecology or the agricultural yield of the surrounding land. Furthermore,
the glacial deposits are over-consolidated and any drawdown is unlikely to lead to
measurable settlement of adjacent properties

8.4 Old workings will be encountered in a number of seams, but sufficient reserves of
coal remain on the site to warrant their exploitation. Monitoring continues to show


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that there is no groundwater in these workings or the bedrock that will be excavated
during the course of the proposed Scheme. There are no licensed and unlicensed
(private) groundwater abstractions on the Site or within at least 1km of its perimeter
and consequently there will be no derogation of supply.

8.5 By far the majority of the water that will accumulate in the surface mine excavations
will comprise runoff and it is anticipated that no special treatment will be required
other than the removal of suspended solids. This can be achieved using tried and
tested, industry standard settlement lagoons. The quality of the discharge water will
have to meet the standards required by the Environment Agency in any
environmental permit it may grant. This same principle applies to the discharge of
treated sewage from the adjacent communities.

8.6 There are no licensed and unlicensed (private) surface water abstractions on the Site
or within at least 1km of its perimeter.

8.7 A number of old landfill sites and waste management facilities have been identified in
the Bradley area, but it is highly unlikely that any leachate will be drawn towards the
proposed excavations because there will be little or no groundwater abstraction.
Further, there is no plausible migration pathway.

8.8 It is highly unlikely that the flow in Pont Burn will be adversely affected by the
Scheme where it extends along the north-western perimeter of the site and beyond.
Any losses due to changes in runoff during the operation of the Site will be fully
compensated by the discharge of treated water until such time that the Site is
restored and should this not prove to be the case, the flow in the Burn is unlikely to
show any significant change. This is because it is supplied by a large catchment of
which the Site forms but a relatively small part. The spring supply to Pikewell Burn
will not be derogated and there will be no discharges from the Site into this
watercourse. Consequently, the Scheme will not have an adverse impact on the
deposits of tufa.

8.9 The proposed planting of additional woodland on the restored Site is unlikely to have
a measurable effect on surface runoff and the supply of water to existing areas. This
is supported by ecological evidence presented elsewhere in the ES. The proposed


Bradley 17 Signet

wetland areas will be sustainable because they will be provided with adequate
catchment areas.

8.10 UK Coal will fully implement a strict code of environmental management during the
operation of the Scheme.

8.11 Taking the above matters into account, it is concluded that the Scheme accords with
planning policies, or parts thereof, that deal with hydrological and hydrogeological
matters in the statutory and emerging development plan and the NPPF along with
guidance in the NPPG.

9 ECOLOGY

9.1 An ecological impact assessment has been carried out and details are provided in ES
Chapter 9. Detailed ecological surveys conducted over 2007-2011 and reviewed and
updated in 2014 confirm that the main body of the Site area, for which there is no
international or national ecological designation, is of variable nature conservation
value due to current agricultural practices. The Site is mainly under agricultural
management for the rearing of livestock where field compartments are
predominantly intensively grazed or cropped for hay/silage. The majorities of
habitats of note occur outside of the Site boundaries or will be retained within the
Site.

9.2 Whilst some localised nature conservation effects have been identified from the loss
of hedgerows and open-farmland, in the longer term the Scheme can be expected to
provide more varied and sustainable habitats for wildlife and include habitats that are
entirely appropriate to the support of the ecology of the wider area.

9.3 Proposed after uses meet county wide nature conservation objectives to increase the
current area of species-rich grassland, native broad-leaved woodland, acidic
grassland, ponds, marsh and hedgerows. Proposals include progressive thinning of
conifers in existing woodland along the north-western boundary of the Site which is
under the direct control of UK Coal. The removal of conifers would be of particular
benefit to woodland ground flora particularly valued ancient woodland species.



Bradley 18 Signet

9.4 In all respects (woodland, species rich grassland, hedgerow, hedgerow trees, and
ponds) it can be shown that there are significant gains in nature conservation of a
beneficial nature.

9.5 Bat use of the Site is limited. The presence of trees with features suitable for
roosting bats has been identified. No significant detrimental effects have been
identified for bats or bat roosts. With the appropriate restoration of the Site as
outlined, which includes the creation of areas of woodland, hedgerow and grassland
and the creation of enhanced linkages and corridor habitat through the Site, this
would be expected overall to be beneficial for bats in the long-term.

9.6 Proposals would involve the translocation of a small population of great crested
newts from Brooms Pond to the Billingside Ponds Reserved created in 2010 by UK
Coal and set within a total area of 5.9 ha of suitable aquatic and terrestrial habitat.
Surveys have confirmed that the open water habitat in Brooms Pond is continuing to
reduce in area through natural successional changes in vegetation and is likely, in
the absence of intervention, to fail to provide suitable habitat for breeding great
crested newts in the long-term. Following the translocation of great crested newts to
the Billingside Ponds Reserve it is considered highly likely that the population will
increase in size and, as a result of the increase in ponds available to them, the
population present is likely to become much more stable and less vulnerable to
environmental change. Overall, the Scheme proposals are likely to lead to a
significant beneficial effect on great crested newt conservation.

9.7 Badgers are using the Site for foraging and although some alteration in their use of
the Site would occur the loss of foraging habitat is not considered significant during
operation due to the abundance of alternative habitat within the badger social
groups home range. A single currently inactive sett identified within the Site would
be closed under licence (if necessary) from Natural England, given its low level of
use, its loss is not expected to impact on badgers significantly and alternative places
of shelter are abundant within the range.

9.8 The Site is of local interest for breeding birds and supports a number of species of
principal importance/ biodiversity priority species and birds of nature conservation
concern. No nationally scheduled or regionally significant populations of birds were


Bradley 19 Signet

recorded. A number of operations would have potential short term impacts on
nesting birds but conditions can be imposed on operations restricting timing of
vegetation clearance to prevent harm. No long-term implications to the sites bird
assemblage have been identified with regards to working and restoring the Site.

9.9 The presence of otter, a fully protected species has been identified in association
with the Billingside Ponds Reserve in the north of the Site where some foraging
habitat is present. These habitats are to be retained as part of the Scheme and no
impacts are anticipated.

9.10 Surface water draining from the Site would be expected to be based on the existing
green-field conditions as would be agreed with the EA. Water treatment lagoons will
ensure that water discharged from the Site is unlikely to significantly impact upon
any habitats of nature conservation interest further downstream or in the receiving
water course, the Pont Burn. Furthermore there is no potential for impacts to
ground water levels in the vicinity of the excavation. Consequently, no adverse
impacts are anticipated on adjacent woodland or other areas of habitat of nature
conservation value, such as the tufa dams present on the Pikewell Burn some 1.9km
to the north east.

9.11 No particularly sensitive habitats (including woodland) or fauna was identified locally
for which dust would represent an issue. Very little of the adjacent ancient woodland
would lie with 250m of any workings at any time and most dust created would be
expected to settle out before reaching trees and ground flora. No more that low
levels of inert dust containing no significant alkaline or heavy metals are anticipated
to reach the adjacent woodland even in the absence of control measures and as
such impacts are considered to be insignificant.

10 HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT

10.1 ES Chapter 10 Historic Environment has considered the likely effects of the Scheme
on the historic environment and the individual heritage assets of which it is
comprised.



Bradley 20 Signet

10.2 Baseline conditions were established through a phased programme of archaeological
research and site investigations. This involved a desk-based assessment of existing
archaeological historical and documentary evidence, geophysical survey of the Site, a
programme of evaluation excavation and a further more detailed desk based
assessment. Each stage of work was discussed and agreed with the archaeological
advisor to DCC.

10.3 These studies have established that there are no designated heritage assets or
currently non-designated heritage assets of demonstrably equivalent significance
within or in immediate proximity of the Site. The studies have identified eighteen
non-designated heritage assets within the Site boundary. These are largely of post-
medieval origin and include 18
th
, 19th and 20
th
century coal working remains
consisting of spoil tips, drift mines and sub-surface collapses: as well as the
associated routes of 18
th
century waggonways and 19
th
century branch railways. The
historic landscape of the proposed Site is largely of post-medieval enclosures
consisting of large fields bounded by gappy hedgerows to the west and the former
common lands of Lanchester Fell. To the east the field systems are similar, but also
retain some early, more curvilinear boundaries associated with the two farmsteads at
East and West Biillingside, now demolished but which may have medieval origins, but
whose final form is post-medieval.

10.4 The nature of surface mining which involves extensive soil stripping, excavation of
overburden and coal extraction, dictates that the proposed Scheme will lead to the
total loss of a number of identified historic assets which are neither designated nor of
designatable quality. Assessment of these has confirmed them to be of largely local
importance and without mitigation in EIA terms this should be considered to be an
effect of Moderate significance. The effect on the historic landscape character of the
Site, is similarly one of widespread but not total loss, this represents a lower impact
as the field system and its boundary features are in decline and do not represent a
unique or rare landscape type within Durham or the former coalfield of the Pennine
Fringe.

10.5 The value of the historic environment to the local community has been identified
from both comments expressed through the planning process, (including the public
inquiry of 2011), and in a literature search to identify current use of the historic


Bradley 21 Signet

environment of the Site through such avenues as guided walks, interpretation and
publications. While the historic landscape of the Site does feature in some of these
activities, largely since the constitution of the Pont Valley Network in 2007, this is as
a part of the wider Pont Valley landscape. The loss of several historic assets of low
significance should the Scheme progress will not prevent community heritage
activities continuing within the wider Pont Valley. In addition, the Scheme will
provide additional opportunities for the local community to engage in investigation of
their heritage through archaeological excavation, the historically informed restoration
scheme and planned public access routes and installed interpretation.

10.6 This study has also identified a number of designated heritage assets within the
surrounding study area, a 5Km radius centred on the Bradley Site. These consist of
a number of listed buildings including several churches, two scheduled monuments
and a number of conservation areas. The proposed Scheme will clearly have no
physical impact on these designated assets and an assessment of the contribution of
setting to their heritage significance has shown that due to distance, topography and
the nature of the contribution setting makes to their significance, there will be no
instances of harm. In all identified instances the setting of listed buildings and the
character of conservation areas will be preserved.

10.7 The Scheme includes a number of mitigation measures relevant to the historic
environment. In particular the agreed Written Scheme of Investigation described at
ES Appendix 10.7, requires archaeological excavation, recording and publication of
affected historic assets and so complies with NPPF paragraph 141. Mitigation is also
included in the Site restoration plan and relating to the historic landscape character
of the Site. This will ensure a number of mining features are retained immediately
outside the Site boundary such as historic and locally valued spoil tips to provide
context and setting benefits. Within the Site notable features such as the Billingside
Dyke, part of the length of which will be protected during Site operations, will be
reinstated. Field boundaries many of which are currently gappy and in long-term
decline will be constructed in a locally distinctive way, using appropriate species and
locally distinctive construction methods.

10.8 The Scheme will provide heritage benefits by enhancing public understanding and
awareness through both improved physical and intellectual access. This will be


Bradley 22 Signet

achieved by a programme of archaeological excavation, survey and publication
during which there will be opportunity for community involvement and skills training
in archaeological investigations at the former farm site of West Billingside. Additional
benefits will be achieved through the informed restoration and interpretation scheme
which will provide restored regionally distinctive hedgerows and enclosure features,
along with access and interpretation marking the alignment of the Westernway and
the locations of historic farmsteads.

10.9 In terms of the NPPF, ES Chapter 10 shows that the proposed Scheme has provided
substantial assessment and evaluation information interpreted through necessary
expertise to allow an informed decision. The Scheme will not cause total loss,
substantial harm or less than substantial harm to any designated Heritage Assets (or
currently non-designated assets of archaeological significance demonstrably of
equivalent significance to scheduled monuments), or their setting. In other words the
Scheme will cause no harm to designated heritage assets. The Scheme will not
prevent the viable optimum use of any such designated assets and following
restoration will make a positive contribution to the historic landscape character of the
Pont Valley.

10.10 The identified impacts on non-designated historic assets can be mitigated for through
a programme of archaeological recording, reporting, access and interpretation. The
proposed programme of excavation, recording and publication together with the
restoration scheme which leaves undamaged several key historic assets immediately
outside the Site boundary and which will draw on the contribution made by the
historic environment to character of place, all ensures that the Scheme will meet the
requirements of NPPF. The loss of several non-designated heritage assets of local
significance is balanced in heritage terms by improved knowledge through
excavation, recording and publication; and by the informed restoration and
interpretation scheme for the Site.

11 AGRICULTURAL LAND USE AND SOILS

11.1 An agricultural land use and soils assessment has been carried out as detailed in ES
Chapter 11. Detailed surveys of the Site have been carried out to determine the
significance of potential impacts of the proposals on soils, land quality and


Bradley 23 Signet

agriculture. The topsoils, subsoils and soil-forming materials available for the
restoration of the site have been recorded to inform a soil handling strategy for the
separate stripping and storage of topsoil, subsoil and soil-forming materials. These
will be used to restore the site to a range of beneficial uses.

11.2 The main concern is to protect high quality land and to safeguard soils in the long-
term national interest, because they are scarce natural resources. Other factors to
be considered include the impact of development on farming and other users of the
countryside.

11.3 The quality of agricultural land in England and Wales is determined by the
Agricultural Land Classification (ALC) system. Agricultural Land is divided into five
grades (Grade 1 is the best land) according to the extent to which physical
characteristics (climatic, topographic and soil) impose long-term limitations on the
agricultural use of land. Detailed ALC surveys have been carried out based on soil
auger samples and soil observation pits.

11.4 The Site area lies within a transitional zone in England between the lowlands and
uplands. In national terms, the climatic conditions are relatively cool and the soils are
likely to remain wet for a long period in winter. As a result, there is a significant
climatic limitation to the agricultural use of land above 210m.

11.5 The Site is underlain by Carboniferous Middle Coal Measures, which generally consist
of shales on the higher ground with thin bands of sandstone and shale approaching
the lower ground. These underlying strata are shown to be covered with glacial
Boulder Clay surface deposits in the vicinity of the Site.

11.6 The survey area occupies north-facing slopes within the valley of the Tewithill and
Pont Burns. The Pont Burn is a tributary of the River Derwent. The altitude of the
survey area ranges from about 167m AOD at Billingside Wood in the north up to
270m AOD at the A692 near Pontop, and 227m AOD at Pont Lane beside Billingside
Plantation.

11.7 There is disturbed land with an irregular ground surface next to some areas of
colliery spoil. Within the general south-east to north-west slope there are gradients


Bradley 24 Signet

of up to 7 degrees, with some localised steepening between 7 and 11 degrees.
Where these steeper slopes occur below 210m the land is downgraded on gradient
to subgrade 3b. There are two bands of steeper slopes (associated with sandstone
outcrops) with gradients of between 11 and 18 degrees. These areas are classified
on gradient as Grade 4. Shallow gradients of less than 3 degrees occur over the
lower ground and on some of the higher ground alongside the A692.

11.8 On the basis of their physical characteristics, there are six soil types within the
survey area. These include clay loams over sandstone, clay Loams over clay and
clays over sandstone which are all classified as Subgrade 3b because of a soil
wetness limitation. The deep clays are classified as Grade 4 because of a soil
wetness limitation. The shallow soils over sandstone lie mostly above the 210m
contour and are classified by climate to Subgrade 3b. The disturbed soils due to
previous disturbance and mixing of the soils and pockets of compaction are classified
as Grade 4 or Grade 5, depending on the quality of the soil-forming materials
present.

11.9 Most of the land is in agricultural use, and is under permanent grass pasture grown
for silage and grazing by livestock. Most of the land within the study survey area is
under one ownership and is let under short-term tenancies.

11.10 The protection of agriculture and soils is achieved through the conservation of soil
resources and subsequent restoration of land to agriculture, woodland and wildlife
habitats using the most appropriate soils for each land use. The soil handling
strategy within the proposed land restoration scheme is based on the detailed soil
and ALC survey. The strategy would implement good practice guidance for the
separate stripping, storage and reinstatement of the different topsoil and subsoil
resources available within the site and it would ensure that land was restored to its
original quality.

11.11 The Scheme would disturb 58.0ha of agricultural land, comprising 44.0ha of
Subgrade 3b; 13.2ha of Grade 4 and 0.8ha of Grade 5. Some 2.4ha of non-
agricultural land would also be disturbed by the Scheme. A further 10.5ha of the Site
would be undisturbed by the Scheme. The undisturbed areas include the Billingside
Ponds, along with preserved grassland and foliage in the northern part of the Site


Bradley 25 Signet

associated with the West Billingside Meadow SNCI formerly designated by
Derwentside District Council, which has not been taken forward on the DCC definitive
list of Local Wildlife Sites, an area of grassland along with part of the purported route
of the Westernway in the south west of the Site and a length of the Billingside Dyke
in the north west of the Site. This gives a total Site area of 70.9ha.

11.12 There would be some temporary disturbance (over a number of years) of the
agricultural land during the working of the Site, but following restoration the land
would be returned to a number of beneficial land uses. The long-term viability of the
land for agricultural and other land uses appropriate to the rural context will be
maintained following the restoration and aftercare phases.

11.13 The effects of the Scheme on soils, land quality and agriculture are determined by
their sensitivity to the changes caused by the proposals and the magnitude of the
predicted effects. This is determined by the area of high quality land (in Grades 1, 2
and 3a) permanently lost to the proposed development and the continuing viability of
farm enterprises. The effects of the Scheme on the land resource and farming are
summarised as:
no loss (permanent or temporary) of high quality land;
the temporary, medium-term (ie up to 5 years) loss of 58.0ha of mainly
Subgrade 3b agricultural land; and
the minor adjustments required of a number of short-term tenancies.
11.14 These effects are considered to be of low sensitivity and negligible magnitude. Given
the temporary disturbance and the nature of farming in the area (with most of the
land being farmed under short-term tenancies) the significance of these effects is
considered to be negligible.

11.15 The proposals for the working and restoration of the Site will implement policy
objectives for agricultural land and the countryside. They conform to guidance on
sustainable development and the conservation of the soil resource by maintaining the
natural functions of the soils present on the Site. They will also convert some of the
agricultural land to a range of other beneficial land uses. These alternative land uses
could help to diversify the local rural economy and provide opportunities for
countryside access, recreation, amenity and wildlife.


Bradley 26 Signet


12 HIGHWAYS AND TRANSPORT

12.1 ES chapter 12 deals with highways and transport matters in relation to the Scheme.

12.2 A Transport Assessment (TA) supporting the Scheme (ES Appendix 12.1) was
produced to support the original application, and this was accepted by the local
highway authority (LHA).

12.3 The access has been designed in accordance with relevant highway design standards
and its location has been agreed with the local highway authority (LHA).
Furthermore, the routeing arrangements for HGVs have also been agreed with the
LHA.

13 BLASTING AND VIBRATION

13.1 A blasting and vibration assessment has been undertaken and details are provided in
ES Chapter 13.

13.2 Blasting would be required to break up certain rock strata on the Site to facilitate the
removal of overburden from the coal seams. The blasting would generate some
ground borne vibration and air overpressure.

13.3 The potential impact of vibration generated by the proposed operations has been
assessed by reference to relevant planning guidelines and criteria contained in British
Standards. Vibration limits have been derived from the relevant criteria, and would
be applied to all vibration sensitive properties around the Site.

13.4 A number of control measures would be incorporated to minimise blast vibration and
air overpressure. Monitoring would be carried out to ensure compliance with the
vibration limits.



Bradley 27 Signet

13.5 It is therefore concluded that with the implementation of mitigation measures as
proposed, vibration associated with the proposed Site would be within the criteria
contained within the relevant British Standards at all times and would not cause
unacceptable vibration impact at the nearest vibration sensitive properties. There
would be no cumulative impact from blasting vibration at any other mineral
workings.

14 STABILITY

14.1 Chapter 12 considers stability matters in relation to the Scheme and concluded that
the proposed surface mine Scheme can be worked in a safe and satisfactory manner
by taking full cognisance of the recommendations that will be made in the
Geotechnical Assessment and the guidance provided by the HSE. The ground
conditions are common to many other surface mines, both past and present, in
northern England and the operator is sufficiently experienced to develop the Site as
proposed. Adjacent properties and members of the public will not be placed at risk.

14.2 The Scheme will be relatively short lived; backfilling of the mineral workings will be
progressive so that none of the excavated slopes will be exposed for more than a
few weeks. This will further minimize the risk of instability. The Scheme will remove
some of the shallow and potentially unstable mine workings on the Site. These
represent a potential hazard to members of the public. All of the storage mounds will
be removed and the natural landform will be largely replicated.

15 MINE AND LANDFILL GASES

15.1 A mine and landfill gases assessment of the Scheme has been carried out as detailed
in ES Chapter 15. UK Coal proposes to recover shallow coal reserves at its Bradley
Site by surface mining. Abandoned mine workings are known to extend within and
beyond the proposed excavation areas and at depth beneath the Site.

15.2 Potentially harmful gaseous mixtures will accumulate in mine workings that have
been abandoned and remain unventilated, but will be absent where they have been
flooded. Monitoring continues to show that little or no groundwater will be present in
the proposed surface excavations and in the workings that will be encountered. Mine


Bradley 28 Signet

gas has also been recorded. Large scale pumping will not be required and no
drawdown will be created in the bedrock. This might otherwise dewater the workings
that lie beyond the Site boundary and lead to the further generation of mine gas. It
follows that there will be no groundwater rebound and no displacement of gas when
the development is completed.

15.3 A natural cover of glacial clay or till is present on and around the Site and where this
exceeds 3 to 4m it will protect properties from migrating mine gas. Exploratory
drilling and BGS borehole data show that whilst there is an adequate thickness of
clay beneath the Pont Road estate to the south-west of the Site, it may well be
insufficient around Brooms Farm, Our Lady and St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church
and Douglas Terrace. The risk of mine gas migration in these areas is inherent,
beyond the control of UK Coal and will not be increased by the proposed Scheme.

15.4 Any mine gas encountered on the Site will safely dissipate in the atmosphere when
the old workings are exhumed. This will not have a measurable environmental
impact given that passive venting is occurring at the site and throughout the Durham
Coalfield. Site personnel and members of the public will not be placed at risk during
the surface mining operations.

15.5 The excavations will remove areas of abandoned mine workings that currently
represent a potential source of gas. The thin cover of glacial clay will also be stripped
and the excavations will be backfilled with a predominantly granular mixture of
overburden material. This may allow greater movement of gas from the mine
workings that remain after the Site has been restored. There are, however, no
proposals to build on the Site and it will be restored to agriculture, woodland and
areas of ecological interest. Any mine gas will safely dissipate in the air so that
members of the public, agricultural livestock and wildlife will not be placed at risk.

15.6 There are a large number of mine openings on and around the Site that may serve
as preferential flow paths for migrating gases. Those located within the Site will be
treated in accordance with a specification approved by the Coal Authority or will be
removed by excavation. The risks posed by mine openings located beyond the Site
boundary will remain unchanged.



Bradley 29 Signet

15.7 Responsibility for the migration of mine gas outside the proposed Bradley Site will
continue to rest with the Coal Authority. This assessment has only considered the
risks associated with the proposed Scheme. These are considered to be very low.

15.8 It is not thought that landfill gas will migrate onto the Site from the various waste
deposits identified in the Bradley area, but even if this should prove to be the case,
they will safely dissipate in the atmosphere. There is no evidence to suggest that this
is presently occurring.

16 CUMULATIVE IMPACT

16.1 The ES considers cumulative impact in relation to the Scheme, including multiple
impacts from the Site operations and/or from a number of sites in the locality.

16.2 The assessment evaluates in an objective way the extent to which any or all of the
individually environmentally acceptable impacts of the Scheme are so close to being
objectionable, that when combined, the totality is objectionable and results in an
unacceptable cumulative impact. The assessment considered residential amenity,
recreational amenity then other environmental matters. In relation to the
combination of impacts from the Scheme it is concluded that there would be no
unacceptable cumulative impact.

16.3 The ES also considers cumulative impact in relation to successive and/or concurrent
operations at the Bradley Site and elsewhere. This included consideration of former
surface coal mine schemes, some of which included landfill in this vicinity of the Site.
With the exception of the Stony Heap site, surface coal mining ceased within the
area of search approximately 17 years ago and the Stony Heap site was worked and
restored during 2006/7. In addition, landfill operations in the vicinity of the Site
ceased in the early 1990s and these sites have been restored. It is concluded that
the impact of past surface coal working and landfill sites in the study area, in
conjunction with the Bradley Scheme, does not give rise to an unacceptable
successive cumulative impact.

16.4 In relation to simultaneous cumulative impact, there is no know planning
application/appeal (excluding the Bradley Proposals) for minerals or landfill waste


Bradley 30 Signet

related development within the area of search (extending to around 1.5km from the
Site). The nearest surface coal site is UK Coals Park Wall North scheme
approximately 14km to the south of the Bradley Proposals which is scheduled to
complete backfill and restoration operations in September 2014. There is an
operational Brooms Dene household waste recycling centre located approximately
0.7km distant to south of Bradley Site, beyond the ridge of land that follows the
A692 road and south of Brooms Lane, and that there are other industrial activities in
the wider developed areas.

16.5 The nearest current planning application for a surface coal and fireclay mine scheme
to the Bradley Site is UK Coals Marley Hill proposal located in Gateshead and County
Durham approximately 8km to the north east. It is possible that if the Bradley
Scheme and Marley Hill proposal were approved and commenced work then there
could be some simultaneous mineral haulage HGV movements along part of the
A193 between Chester le Street and Stanley then along the A1(M) and A194 to Tyne
Dock or direct to market for a 2 year and 3 month period. It is concluded that the
Bradley Proposal is sufficiently distant from the above operational coal surface mine,
household waste recycling centre, industrial activities in the wider area and the
nearest other potential surface coal mine scheme at Marley Hill, such that in planning
terms these would not give rise to an unacceptable simultaneous cumulative impact.

16.6 In relation to the combination of impacts from other concurrent or successive sites in
the locality, it is concluded that there would be no unacceptable cumulative impact.

16.7 In conclusion the Bradley Scheme would not give rise to an unacceptable cumulative
impact, and would accord with the NPPF paragraph 144 and Minerals Local Plan
Policy M45, along with guidance in the NPPG Minerals.

17 SOCIO-ECONOMIC ASSESSMENT

17.1 The ES Chapter 17 considers the socio-economic impact of the Scheme.

17.2 The Scheme, for the 3 year 6 month period of Site operations, would have a positive
impact upon the national and local economy and therefore help to meet the
Governments national planning policy objectives for economic growth. The Scheme


Bradley 31 Signet

would create an estimate 38 full time jobs and up to an additional 5 seasonal jobs.

17.3 The Scheme provides for a well designed and managed surface coal mine operation
in a suitable location that is not considered to present a threat to local third party
businesses, environmental improvement or inward investment.

17.4 Third party business confidence in making investment decisions is generated over a
longer timescale than the 3 year 6 month period required to progressively work and
restore the Scheme. As a result, further inward investment in the local and regional
area is not likely to be deterred by the Scheme.

17.5 Coal production is traditional in the exposed coalfield in County Durham and jobs in
the mining sector are an integral component of the economy. The winning and
working of such a natural resource contributes towards the supply of indigenous coal
to the electricity supply industry and coking coal would be made available to the
steel manufacturing industry. Such surface coal mine sites are essential to the
maintenance of a viable indigenous coal industry and carefully controlled production
is compatible with wider strategic objectives for the economy and the environment.

17.6 The incomes of UK Coals employees and subcontractors resident in the region would
make a substantial and sustained input to the local economy along with wider
benefits to the national economy.

17.7 The Schemes restoration proposals incorporate ecological, landscape and
recreational enhancement measures.

18 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

18.1 This updated ES for the Bradley Scheme has been prepared by Signet, in conjunction
with UK Coal and an environmental consultant team, for consideration at the
forthcoming public inquiry and consolidates the revisions to the Proposal, along with
the previously submitted ES and supplementary information, and includes updated
surveys and assessments where necessary.



Bradley 32 Signet

18.4 The Site covers 70.9ha of land and is located 3km east of Consett, County Durham.
The land within the Site is mainly in use for agriculture.

18.5 The Scheme involves surface mining operations for the winning and working of an
estimated 520,561 tonnes of indigenous coal, with progressive restoration, over a 3
year 6 month period. The coal would be extracted over a 2 year and 3 month coaling
period form an excavation area covering 33.36ha of land which is less than half of
the Site area. Most of the remaining area would be used for Site operations
(mounds, lagoons, plant yard and so forth). Some 10.5ha of the Site would be
retained including the Billingside Ponds and preserved grassland along with foliage in
the northern part of the Site, an area of grassland with part of the retained fabric of
the NER branch line and a purported length of the Western Way in the south west of
the Site and a length of the Billingside Dyke in the north west of the Site.

18.6 The restoration and aftercare proposals for the Scheme have been designed to
achieve a balance between the creation of habitat and species biodiversity
appropriate to the locality, the enhancement of the landscape quality, the provision
of heritage benefits and an extended rights of way network, the requirement for
continued agricultural use and the need to create a viable long term landscape that
can be managed in a sustainable manner. An area of planted ancient woodland to
the north of the Site would also be restored.

18.7 An EIA has been carried out in relation to the Scheme and the results are set out in
this updated ES. The Scheme has been assessed in relation to a comprehensive
range of environmental matters involving: landscape and visual impact, air quality
and dust, noise, hydrology and hydrogeology, ecology, historic environment,
agricultural land use and soils, highways and transport, blasting and vibration,
stability, mine and landfill gas, cumulative impact and socio-economic impacts (ES
Chapters 5 to 17 respectively). It is concluded that the Scheme would not give rise to
significant adverse effects on the environment and that it would be environmentally
acceptable, including the potential for cumulative impacts, subject to planning
conditions and obligations.





Bradley 33 Signet

18.8 In addition, the many benefits of the Scheme are summarised as follows:
a once and for all surface mine Scheme to extract an estimated 520,561 tonnes
of indigenous coal that would contribute to the maintenance and diversity of fuel
supply in the UK power generation sector and other potential markets including
coking coal that would be made available to the steel manufacturing market;
the creation of an estimated 38 full time jobs during the working of the Site and
up to an additional 5 seasonal jobs;
the provision of opportunities for businesses, including local companies, to supply
goods and services throughout the Scheme;
enhanced restoration in keeping with the surrounding landscape;
enhanced ecological and biodiversity benefits as part of the restoration and
aftercare proposals as shown on Drawing No. 176/D03e/1 including 12.74ha of
core woodland planting, 0.8ha of woodland edge planting, the translocation and
protection of the great crested newt (GCN) population in the Billingside Ponds
area covering 4.83ha, some 10.32ha of species rich grassland/hay meadow;
3.87ha of acidic grassland; 0.18ha of open water, 0.46ha of marsh/wetland;
1.2ha of scrub planting, and the planting of 3.53km of new hedgerows (a net
increase of over 1.95km);
heritage benefits including improved knowledge on local heritage gained through
excavation, recording and publication. This will also provide a benefit of
opportunities for community involvement and skills training in the archaeological
process. Additional benefits will be achieved through the informed restoration
and interpretation scheme which will provide restored regionally distinctive
hedgerows and enclosure features, along with access and interpretation marking
the alignment of the Western Way and the locations of historic farmsteads;
the removal of some of the shallow and potentially unstable mine workings on
the Site which represent a potential hazard to members of the public;
the reinstatement of existing footpaths and creation of 2.9km of new footpaths;
and
an area of planted ancient woodland north of the Site would also be restored.

18.9 A community fund is also proposed which would accrue during the life of the Site
and would be available for local community groups and good causes to apply for.



Bradley 34 Signet

18.10 In this respect, it is concluded that great weight should be attached to the national,
local and community benefits that would flow from the Scheme, which would clearly
help achieve economic growth and outweigh the likely impacts.

18.11 The conformity of the Scheme in relation to a number of the policies in the
development plan and other material considerations, including the NPPF, has been
addressed where relevant in ES Chapters 4 to 17 inclusive.

18.12 It is noted that Minerals Local Plan Policy M7 Opencast Coal and Fireclay (prepared in
the context of the former MPG3) is dated and no longer consistent with the more
recent NPPF. In this respect, paragraph 149 of the NPPF deals with coal extraction
and makes no reference to a presumption against the extraction of coal and
also requires the consideration of national along with local or community
benefits. However, it is concluded that the Scheme complies with the Minerals Local
Plan Policy M7 and NPPF paragraph 149 in terms of its environmental acceptability,
subject to planning conditions and obligations, and in addition there are national,
local and community benefits which clearly outweigh the likely impact to justify the
grant of planning permission for the Scheme. It is concluded that the Scheme
comprises sustainable development which accords with the development plan and
other material planning considerations including the NPPF.