South Shields man joins protest group calling for end to coal mining

David Herbert is calling for an end to coal mining.
David Herbert is calling for an end to coal mining.

A retired mining engineer from South Tyneside has joined a protest by campaigners calling for an end to coal mining in Northumberland.

David Herbert, from South Shields, was among a group of 20 to 25 people who were at Shotton surface mine, in Cramlington – part of Viscount Ridley’s Blagdon Estate – when police were called yesterday morning.

Some protesters blocked the road.

Some protesters blocked the road.

The protesters arrived at 6.30am, and the group – who call themselves Matt Ridley’s Conscience – have occupied one of the diggers there.

They blocked the road, locking their arms into red arm tubes as part of the campaign, which is calling for an end to coal mining to protect the climate.

The Cramlington coal mine has about six million tonnes of coal to be recovered and provides 150 jobs, according to operator Banks Mining.

The protesters claim the majority of coal must stay in the ground to prevent dangerous climate change, and are calling for the immediate end to opencast mining and for the government to phase out the use of coal-fired power stations by 2023.

Climate change is such an issue, we do have to change ways.

David Herbert

Mr Herbert said: “Climate change is such an issue, we do have to change ways.

“I’m looking at two wind turbines now at the entrance of the mine, and that’s the future. It’s the cheapest form of energy.

“Fossil fuels have massive subsidies, which distort the market, because they don’t pay the costs of pollution and ill-health.”

Northumbria Police said there had been no arrests in the incident, and a spokesman said: “Officers are in attendance at the site and there to engage with Shotton Mining staff, the local community and the protest group to facilitate lawful protest and ensure this remains peaceful and safe to those involved.”