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Banks Mining Company’s Appeal against rejection of its Druridge Coal Mine

Banks Mining Company appeals against the Government’s decision to reject its application to create a new, opencast coal mine, near Druridge Bay.

BACKGROUND: Banks Mining Company lodged an Appeal against the Government’s rejection of its application to create a new, opencast coal mine at Highthorn, near Druridge Bay, Northumberland, and this was heard at the High Court in London on 17th and 18th October, 2018.

As Banks’ barrister made clear, the main battle over the proposed opencast coal mine, near Druridge Bay, is being fought over its possible impact on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, which Sajid Javid, the then Communities Minister flagged up in his extraordinary decision overturning the recommendation of the Inspector whom he had himself appointed to conduct the Public Inquiry.

Note by David Golding: I wasn’t able to attend the hearing, but a comment of it can be read on the website of Coal Action Network.

NEWS RELEASE

Keith Anderson, the chief executive of Scottish Power, recently explained his company’s new focus on renewable energy with reference to climate change and the IPCC’s stark warnings, published on 8th October. He stated that (Saturday 20 Oct) “My absolute belief is that [industrial] organisations need to be at the forefront of that change [called for by the IPCC]. We can’t be part of the problem, we have to be part of the solution.”

How very different the approach of Banks Mining Company, which has taken the Government to court to try and overturn its rejection of their application to build a new, opencast coal mine within a stone’s throw of the beauty spot, Druridge Bay. Its head remains stuck in the sand more deeply than that of any ostrich! As a signatory of 2015’s Paris Agreement, the UK is both morally and legally bound to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase…to 1.5C” – an enormously challenging goal, which allows no latitude whatever for ‘carbon indulgence’. But Banks doesn’t seem to have noticed! Likewise, on 16th November last year, Claire Perry, the UK’s Climate Change Minister, declared that “The time for coal has passed”, when she launched the Government’s new ‘Powering Past Coal Alliance’ initiative. But this also seems to have passed Banks by, leaving it like an old record, where the needle is stuck in one of the grooves, playing the same old, tired tune, over and over again!

Nathalie Lieven QC, for the company, says that the Government’s decision was “plainly wrong”, but she ignores the message which approval of the mine would send to the country’s industry and finance – namely, that it’s still “business and usual – so carry on polluting”. But even more serious would be the damaging impact of this message abroad. John Ashton CBE, who served three Foreign Secretaries as Special Representative on Climate Change, told the Public Inquiry that: “The goal of UK climate diplomacy has been to accelerate the move away from fossil energy, and especially from unabated coal, across all the major economies… But the foundation for all effective diplomacy is action at home. If you do not walk your talk, those you seek to influence stop listening… If we were to press ahead with the development of new coal resources at home… we would be cutting our climate diplomacy off at the knees, and undermining our fundamental national interest in a successful global response to climate change.”

Just so – we have to “walk our talk”! In contrast, consent for any new coal mine here would serve as a ‘green light’ for further exploitation of this most polluting of fuels throughout the world. “The time for coal has passed”, stated Claire Perry. It has indeed – and so has the time when it was acceptable for us to treat the atmosphere like an open sewer into which we can discharge our pollution. It’s time for Banks to wake up and drag itself into the new, low carbon world.

David W. Golding CBE PhD DSc DCL

Associate, Institute for Sustainability, and Honorary Chaplain, Newcastle University; Development Coordinator, North East CALL TO ACTION on global poverty and climate change.

david.golding@ncl.ac.uk

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Jubilee Debt Campaign’s National Mobilisation, 29th September

The gathering marked 20 years since Jubilee 2000’s mould-breaking ‘Human Chain’ at the G7, in Birmingham. It revealed that JDC’s supporters are in good heart – and that the campaign still have important and innovative things to say! Among the contributors were those well known to NE-CAP, such as Ann Pettifor, the former Director of Jubilee 2000, and Nick Dearden, the former Director of JDC and now Director of Global Justice Now.

David Golding was asked to give a presentation on Saturday on, “The role and importance of local groups and grassroots campaigning, both in the 1990s and 2000s, but also in the present day”. [In 10 minutes. Gulp!] The headings are as below, but the full text can be found here.

First, Jubilee 2000 brought home to us not only the terrible reality of the lives of so many people trapped in what the Millennium Declaration calls “the abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty”, but also, perhaps more important, the role that Western governments were playing in consolidating those conditions. To people of my generation – I was born just south of London, in 1940, this was a profound shock! [And so on.]

Second, Jubilee 2000 and the Chain brought home to us what could be achieved by working together. [Quoted Longfellow’s poem,] And so on… One other important point about working together locally can be summed up in the familiar exhortation, “Bloom where you’re planted”. [And so on.]

“A final lesson I learnt from Jubilee 2000 (says he provocatively) is not to follow its example and stand down too soon. How many of the promises on debt relief made prior to the end of 2000 would, in fact, have been honoured, had Jubilee Debt Campaign not ‘kept their feet to the fire’?

Similarly, would ‘Drop the Debt’ have been so prominent on the Make Poverty History agenda had it not been for our pressure? And would relief have been given to Liberia and Haiti? And would our leaders have passed the Vultures Bill?

In each case, probably not, and from this I conclude that perhaps the greatest contribution made by grassroots campaigners to the debt campaign was the ‘right rumpus’ we kicked up at the prospect of the closure of the campaign at the end of 2000.

So one of the great lessons from Jubilee 2000 and its transition to Jubilee Debt Campaign, as from the anti-slavery campaign, is the need for persistence… [And so on.]

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5th Newcastle Jubilee Development Lecture

5th Newcastle Jubilee Development Lecture

sponsored by Newcastle University, the Diocese of Newcastle and Jubilee Debt Campaign UK

Saturday 8th Sept, 4.30-5.30pm, Church of St Thomas the Martyr, Haymarket, Newcastle upon Tyne

“The Injustice and Misery of Debt, at Home and Abroad – A Call to Action”

* Chair, Dame Vera Baird, Police & Crime Commissioner, Northumbria Police;

* Keynote Address by Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York;

* And contribution by Sarah-Jane Clifton, Director of Jubilee Debt Campaign UK.

Followed, at 6.00-6.30pm, after an interval for light refreshments:

Service of Blessing for the Great North Run

A service of Christian worship at which those of all faiths and none will be warmly welcome;

Led by Revd Bryan Vernon, Honorary Chaplain at Newcastle University; Preacher, Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York;

Sponsored by Newcastle University Chaplaincy and North East CALL TO ACTION

Special Guests:

Mrs Susan Winfield OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear; Cllr David Down, Lord Mayor of Newcastle upon Tyne, and his companion; Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central

Professor Nigel Harkness, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Newcastle University; Revd Dave Herbert, Moderator, Northern Synod, United Reformed Church; Dr Philip McGowan, Director, Institute for Sustainability, Newcastle University; Rt Revd Mark Tanner, Bishop of Berwick.

‘Guest Runners’: StopAIDS UK, Mike Podmore (Director); Jubilee Debt Campaign UK, Sarah-Jayne Clifton (Director), Matt Gardner, Tim Jones

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NE-CAP’s Annual Review (& AGM), 16th April

NE-CAP’s Annual Review (& AGM) – Monday 16th April, 5.30 for 6.00-7.30pm.

Will include a brief introduction to Jubilee Debt Campaign’s superb new work on ‘Healthcare Debt’ by Ben Young, JDC Board Member and former Co-Director of Jubilee Scotland.

Our Annual Review/Social/AGM will again be in the Clement Stephenson Lecture Theatre, an excellent venue on the ground floor of Newcastle University’s Agriculture Building.

You are most warmly invited to our Annual Review of a truly great campaigning year, at which the AGM formalities will, as usual, be reduced to the merest whisker! Please join us to meet the Committee and other campaigners, and have your say. Tea/coffee/juice will be served from 5.30pm, and the meeting will finish by 7.30pm at the latest.

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Open Energy Forum, 12th April

Admission is free and open to all, but to be sure of a seat, please book at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/open-energy-forum-tickets-43505589389

Join leading commentators as they give an overview at a ‘popular’ level; Thursday 12th April, 5.30pm for refreshments; 6.00pm start; finish by 7.30pm.

Venue: Clement Stephenson Lecture Theatre, Agriculture Building, Newcastle University, NE1 7RU.

Brief presentations on:

a) The state of the climate and what the body of research is saying (Dr David Golding CBE);

b) The current UK power picture and what needs to be done (Professor Phil Taylor);

c) The transition of over 30m vehicles off fossil fuels and what that means (Dr Colin Herron).

Opportunity for questions, discussion and dissent!

All proceeds from this event will be donated to a project Dr Colin Herron is supporting which will see solar panels being installed on the roof of a looked-after children’s house being constructed in Bogota, Columbia. Colin will be travelling to Bogota and will be helping to build the house in July.

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“Scientists have crucial role in sounding the possible death knell for coal in the UK

News Release:

• On Friday 23rd March 2018, the Government rejected an application to create a new coal mine near Druridge Bay, Northumberland, mainly on the basis of its impacts on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

• This is an astonishing development, since it involved overturning the recommendation of the Government’s own Inspector, appointed to conduct a Public Inquiry into the proposal!

• Opponents of the proposal, who included believing scientists and Christian campaigners, have reason to celebrate – provisionally, since the mining company has until 4th May to lodge an appeal against the decision, so all celebrations are ‘on hold’ for the time being!

• This outcome may well set a precedent and sound the death knell for this “most polluting of all fuels” in the UK, with reverberations elsewhere.

A ferocious battle has been raging over the past couple of years over the application by HJ Banks & Co Ltd to create a new opencast coal mine at Highthorn, Northumberland, near the beauty spot, Druridge Bay. It pitched the company and council on one side of the argument, against local residents, conservationists (Bill Oddie described the scheme as a ‘desecration’) backed by an 11,000-strong petition, climate campaigners and world-renowned scientists on the other. As one of the latter, Professor Sir John Houghton FRS, put it: “Coal is the most polluting of all fuels”.

Since the Minister made his dramatic decision mainly on the basis of the damaging impacts of the mine on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, this outcome may well set a precedent and sound the death knell for this “most polluting of all fuels” in the UK, with reverberations elsewhere. ‘Creation Carers’ are hoping and praying that it will be so: as Dr Golding puts it, “we simply cannot go on treating the atmosphere as an open sewer into which we can pour our pollution!”

To read on, click here!

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‘Show the Love’, 7th February, 2018

Following the February Committee Meeting of North East CALL TO ACTION, at which members were photographed holding up the Climate Coalition’s ‘Show the Love’ green hearts, David Golding wrote to Chi Onwurah, Labour MP for Newcastle Central, as follows –

Dear Chi,

As members of the Central Newcastle-based NE-CAP Committee and supporters of the national Climate Coalition, we invite you to wear the Coalition’s ‘Show the Love’ green heart at Prime Minister’s Question Time, tomorrow (Wednesday 7th February).

I enclose a couple of the hearts and hope you will peel one and wear it – prominently!

With every good wish,

David

Dr David Golding CBE

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Great North Run Team for ‘Action on Global Poverty & Climate Change’

Entering the Ballot for the Great North Run

Ballot closes 12 noon, Monday 5th February 2018

[Probably a good idea to print out these guidelines before you start.]

• Have your credit or debit card handy – the money won’t be taken unless you’re successful in the ballot.

• Go to http://www.greatrun.org/great-north-run; scroll down and click on the green ‘Enter’ button.

• Register a new ID if you’re a first-timer (e.g., use your email address as your Username and fix on a Password you won’t forget), or login using your previous username and password if you’re an old hand.

• Most of it is straightforward, but where it asks “Do you want to run for SimplyHealth’s nominated charity, Mind?”, click “No” – and make sure it stays on that!

• You can either ignore the question which asks whether you want to run for a charity in the Great North Run, or scroll down the list provided and click on “Other”.

You will be running for several charities, and the team’s sponsor is Jubilee Debt Campaign (JDC), a bona fide, registered charitable trust, but this isn’t one of the small number of mega-charities which are shown in the list provided. JDC is one of the hundreds of small charities registered with GNR which are not shown.

• You’ll be offered entrance to several other runs (at a price), but you may wish to click on “No” to those.

• “Where did you hear about the Great North Run?” – click on “Other” – you could put “University email” in the box which follows.

• Great North Run Events and Services – you’ll probably want to click “I DO NOT WANT…” for this.

• Great North Run Partner Events and Services – click “I DO NOT WANT…”, unless you want a lot of advertising.

• Continue down and provide your credit/debit card details to complete your application.

LET ME KNOW IMMEDIATELY YOU’VE ENTERED!

Please get in touch if you encounter any problems!

When GNR notify you of the outcome, please let me know immediately, whatever it is. If you’re unsuccessful, you’ll have a high priority for one of the team’s 25 ‘charity places’, at the same price (£55).

Dr David Golding CBE (Team Manager)

Email, david.golding@ncl.ac.uk;

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Newcastle University’s nationally acclaimed Great North Run initiative

Newcastle University’s nationally acclaimed Great North Run initiative for…

‘Action on Global Poverty and Action on Climate Change’!

The Great North Run, Sunday 9th September 2018

BALLOT FOR PLACES NOW OPEN!

Get guidelines for entering from david.golding@ncl.ac.uk

“One of the most amazing experiences of my life and it was an honour to take part… Your work is invaluable – please keep up your efforts.” (David Chambers, BSc Engineering)

“A credit to our institution. I commend it” (Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor)

“A huge thank you for your wonderful support… We’re so grateful… Fantastic! … Good luck to everyone taking part!” (Lucy Moulsdale, Save the Children)

“This is the sort of intelligently compassionate response I applaud.” (Professor Sir George Alberti, former Dean of Medicine at Newcastle, and former President of the Royal College of Physicians)

Generous concessions are available to students!

No deductions for ‘expenses’!

ENTERING THE BALLOT AND JOINING THE TEAM:

• Save yourself a lot of grief by letting the ‘Team Manager’ know you’re interested and getting his guidelines for entering the ballot – david.golding@ncl.ac.uk;

• Enter the ballot, following the guidelines provided by the Manager – and let him know you’ve done so;

• If you’re unlucky in the ballot, let the Manager know immediately. You’ll have a high priority for one of the team’s 25 ‘charity places’, at the same price.

Team doing a Usain Bolt

The Great North Run is the greatest mass-participation sporting event in the world and over a million people have taken part in it. Each year, it’s covered extensively on BBC 2. It’s a ‘Run’, not a ‘Race’, and anyone in reasonable health who’s prepared to take the training seriously can complete it and enjoy doing so. For 2018, it’s scheduled for Sunday 9th September, two weeks before the start of term at Newcastle University.

Our nationally acclaimed ‘University Team’ raises awareness and funds for what are surely the two greatest challenges facing the human race – namely, global poverty and climate change – and to support action on the horrendous humanitarian crises currently in the news. Each team member has a wide choice as to which agency should receive a substantial proportion of the funds they raise.

Raquel and Kristianne at the Finish

A training seminar and a social, at which technical know-how and experience is shared, instil a sense of community and purpose; help with fundraising is varied and imaginative; and team photo’s before the Run and individual ones at the Finish provide great mementos of a wonderful experience. “Hand on heart, I have to say that the support given by Dr Golding is an inspiration to everyone ready to follow into the challenge of the Great North Run” (Professor David Leat, Team Captain).

For further information about the team and the agencies it supports, click here.

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Newcastle University’s Nationally Acclaimed Great North Run Initiative

Newcastle University’s nationally acclaimed Great North Run initiative for…

‘Action on Global Poverty and Action on Climate Change’!

“A credit to our institution. I commend it” (Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor)

“One of the most amazing experiences of my life and it was an honour to take part…

Your work is invaluable – please keep up your efforts.” (David Chambers, BSc Engineering)

“A huge thank you for your wonderful support… We’re so grateful… Fantastic! … Good luck to everyone taking part!” (Lucy Moulsdale, Save the Children)

“This is the sort of intelligently compassionate response I applaud.” (Professor Sir George Alberti, former Dean of Medicine at Newcastle, and former President of the Royal College of Physicians)

Generous concessions are available to students!

No deductions for ‘expenses’!

Joining the Team:

• Let the ‘Team Manager’ know you’re interested – david.golding@ncl.ac.uk;

• Doc G. will then give you a ‘heads up’ when the General Ballot for places opens later this month, and give you some tips for entering it;

• Enter the ballot when it opens, following the guidelines provided by the Manager – and let him know you’ve done so;

• If you’re unlucky in the ballot, let the Manager know immediately. You’ll have a high priority for one of the team’s 25 ‘charity places’, at the same price.

Team doing a Usain Bolt


The Great North Run is the greatest mass-participation sporting event in the world and over a million people have taken part in it. Each year, it’s covered extensively on BBC 2. It’s a ‘Run’, not a ‘Race’, and anyone in reasonable health who’s prepared to take the training seriously can complete it and enjoy doing so. For 2018, it’s scheduled for Sunday 9th September, two weeks before the start of term at Newcastle University.

Our nationally acclaimed ‘University Team’ raises awareness and funds for what are surely the two greatest challenges facing the human race – namely, global poverty and climate change – and to support action on the horrendous humanitarian crises currently in the news. Each team member has a wide choice as to which agency should receive a substantial proportion of the funds they raise.

Raquel and Kristianne at the Finish


A training seminar and a social, at which technical know-how and experience is shared, instil a sense of community and purpose; help with fundraising is varied and imaginative; and team photo’s before the Run and individual ones at the Finish provide great mementos of a wonderful experience. “Hand on heart, I have to say that [the support given by] Dr Golding is an inspiration to everyone ready to follow into the challenge of the Great North Run” (Professor David Leat, Team Captain).

For further information, click here.

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