Minerals Plan: Key Issues & Options

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Comment Information

Comment Information
Document Section Derby & Derbyshire Minerals Core Strategy: Key Issues & Options Part One: Background Information Chapter 4: A Portrait of Minerals in Derbyshire the Usage & Markets section [List all comments on this document part]
Comment ID /3603521/2
Respondent David Bolton - UK Coal Surface… [List all comments by this respondent]
Agent Jenna Conway - Tarmac
Response Date 12 Aug 2010
Comment
Coal resources are of national importance as has been demonstrated and confirmed in the recent planning decision by the Secretary of State in the Huntington Lane planning inquiry. Para 16 of the Secretary of State's decision states:

The Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector's reasoning and conclusions on the need for the minerals as set out in the Inspector's Report. He observes that there was no dispute at the inquiry about the importance of coal in the UK's domestic energy mix and, like the Inspector, he considers that there is every likelihood of the demand for home sourced coal continuing into the foreseeable future. The Secretary of State recognises that there was limited evidence to substantiate the appellant's claim that there would be a significant benefit from reduced CO2 emissions if imported Russian coal were to be replaced by coal from the appeal site but, for the reasons the Inspector gives in IR485-486, he agrees that there would probably be a benefit from the proposal in terms of reducing carbon emissions.

In terms of coal, paragraph 4.25, page 111, of the Energy White Paper recognises that coal-fired generation makes an important contribution to the UK's energy security and the flexibility of the UK energy system, while acknowledging that in order to have a long term future its environmental impact must be managed effectively.

Paragraph 4.27, page 112, acknowledges that England, Wales and Scotland have significant recoverable coal reserves. These reserves have the potential not only to help to meet our national demand for coal and to reduce our dependence on imported primary fuels, but also to contribute to the economic vitality and skills base of the regions where they are found. Paragraph 4.31, page 113, adds that use of UK energy resources contributes to our security of supply.

Within the summary of measures proposed by the Energy White Paper, page 124, it is stated that where it is environmentally acceptable to do so, there is a value in maintaining access to economically recoverable reserves of coal.
The introductory text to Section 5.4, page 170, states, 'Coal will continue to play a significant role in global electricity generation for the foreseeable future, partly because it is the most abundant global fossil fuel but also because it brings security of supply benefits.'

The UK Government published 'The Energy Challenge: Energy Review Report' (Cm 6887) in July 2006. It commented that the UK would soon become importers of oil and net importers of gas at a time of rising prices and global demand. Without action to secure reliable energy supplies there would be risks to the nation's energy security.

On indigenous coal the Report stated:
'The Government believes that it is right to make the best use of UK energy resources, including coal reserves, where it is economically viable and environmentally acceptable to do so' (Para 4.23)

The report made reference to declining indigenous coal production and stated:
'Some of this decline could be reversed if surface mine output were at least maintained at recent levels subject to striking the right balance between the legitimate interests of the coal producers, the environmental impacts and the needs of communities' (Para 4.25)

In a recent speech given by Lord Hunt to the Coal UK Conference, 22 February 2010 he stated:
"So what is the role of coal in this mix? Today, coal represents under 20 per cent of the UK's total energy supplies. But with most of that used for generation, its contribution to our electricity supplies is double that. Take the 3 week cold spell after Christmas and over New Year as an example, coal generation accounted for a weekly average of nearly 40% and a daily average of 36%.
We know the advantages of keeping up access to our supplies of indigenous coal.
During 2009, the Government was pleased to see several major generators demonstrating that they also appreciate the advantages of continuing supplies of locally produced coal...
This Government's framework envisages a continuing role for coal, particularly in the generating sector, for the foreseeable future, provided that its potential environmental effects can be managed."

We recommend that coal be removed from the second point and added to the first bullet point to reflect its national importance.