Tod Mining plan thrown out

Friday, April 9, 2004

For most small environmental groups, the successful conclusion of a 3 year struggle against a huge open cast mine would be the end of the story. For Treesponsibility, it is just the beginning ...

Treesponsibility are a local climate action group, based in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, enabling people to plant new woodlands and hedgerows as a way of recycling their personal CO2 pollution. They combine our practical work with education and awareness raising about global warming. In the wake of devastating flooding in the Upper Calder Valley in June 2000, they launched our "After the Flood, the Forest" project to reforest steep and eroding slopes near the Pennine watershed above Todmorden, as a natural way to control run-off and reduce our valley's vulnerability to climate change. Since then, 100s of volunteers have joined (in all weathers!) to plant over 14 hectares (some 28,000 trees).

They were not the only people with an interest in the watershed area. There was a planning application for a huge open cast mine, to be sited on Heald Moor. In spite of its bioregional significance as the source of three rivers (the Yorkshire and Lancashire Calders, and the Irwell), this is an area which has been much abused, with the scars of previous opencasting still very much in evidence. The mining company, HRM Resources, argued that their scheme offered "the only hope of the full extent of this despoiled area of land ever being restored".

At a public enquiry, held last Autumn, Treesponsibility challenged the company's assertion by presenting an alternative restoration plan.

The mining proposal has been emphatically rejected. The inspector spoke of Treesponsibility's track record, and commented favourably on their alternative plan: "To my mind, the restoration scheme suggested by Treesponsibility indicates that it is possible to restore the site in an acceptable fashion without resorting to the sort of scheme proposed by the appellant which is fraught with uncertainties and potential difficulties". (Full report from The Planning Inspectorate, Tel 0117 3728908 Ref:- APP/Q2371/A/02/1090001). Penny Eastwood, Treesponsibility co-ordinator, said: "In a very real sense this has been a watershed decision, and not just because the area of the application is the source of three rivers. For us, it feels like a moment of choice between different visions of the future.

So now, the work begins. Treesponsibility are launching a major appeal to fund their vision of restoring the source of our river to full environmental health.

DreamA supporter in Australia had the wonderful idea of commissioning an aboriginal "dream painting" from Monica Nelson, an artist from the central Australian Walpiri "mob". Monica learnt painting in the traditional dot-style of her mob from early childhood, taught by her grandmother. In the painting she remembers a childhood experience, when her grandparents would take her and her siblings out walking, teaching them to find snakes in the desert and "ask" them to take them to nearby water holes. The one-eyed snake as a caretaker of water is a revered spirit animal for her mob. The painting's first showing will be at the Hourglass Studio Gallery, Hangingroyd Lane, Hebden Bridge, from April 18th-25th, together with an exhibition of our Watershed restoration plan. It will be sold at auction as part of the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival, at 7.30 p.m. on Sunday 20th June. Limited edition prints will also be available via our websites, with all proceeds supporting our environmental work.

Background info:- www.watershedappeal.org.uk and www.treesponsibility.com. Contact us on 01422 843222 or 07960 471 791 or by e-mail info@treesponsibility.com


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