On Monday, we were in Northumberland and I reminded you of Shotton Surface Mine, where coal is being extracted next to the landscape art of Northumberlandia.
In order to get permission for mining like this, the mining company and the landowner had to produce a detailed plan as to how the landscape would be restored after operations were complete. This is why Northumberlandia exists.
The coal underneath has already been removed and the area has been landscaped and a public space created. Seems like a good solution but it does add to the costs for the mining company.
In other parts of Northumberland coal has been extracted via a shaft. Apart from the area immediately around the shaft there is little alteration to the surface. Coal has been removed from below the ground but there is sufficient rock remaining to prevent large scale collapse and the land above is stable.
When the mines were closed, the shafts were blocked to make them safe and the area around was tidied up. That sounds much simpler than a massive landscaping task, doesn’t it?
But there is a hidden environment issue. When the mining machinery was switched off, they also switched off the water pumps…
But why did they need water pumps in the first place? And why does it matter that they have been switched off…?
I’ll let you ponder that, and I’ll give you some more details next week.