It has emerged that the owners of a deep coal mine in Kellingley, Yorkshire and in Thoresby in Nottinghamshire are considering whether to close their operations over the next 18 months, resulting in the loss of more than 1300 jobs.
The coal mines which are owned by UK Coal are currently undergoing consultation on the closure which would leave just one deep pit mine in the UK at Hatfield in South Yorkshire. It is thought that the closure would also affect jobs at the head office based in Doncaster. UK Coal were saved from administration just nine months ago and had hoped to receive extra funding of £20m to secure their future – however these two sites would need to close despite this. The company also has a further six surface sites.
The Labour party has called on the government to step in and save the jobs and the local MP has described the pit as important for local jobs and the energy supply. The TUC agree and suggest that the closure would make the UK more reliant on coal from overseas – especially Russia. They point out that the government will need to pay towards the cost of closure and that it will lose tax revenue as a result.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change has stated that the future of UK Coal is a commercial matter and that the government is aware of the difficulties they are facing.
Meanwhile, the UK is suffering very high levels of pollution and is currently well above EU maximum levels – along with a number of other EU countries. It is thought that the UK may become a target for EU fines due to the excessive concentrates of nitrous dioxide. Environmental campaigners have said that the UK should be ashamed of its failure to tackle the problem and the World Health Organisation has pointed out that pollution is the biggest global killer with victims falling prey to lung infections, asthma and cancers.