A CAMPAIGN to prevent a mass coal excavation operation from going ahead in Sheffield is gathering momentum.
Hundreds of people who stand to be affected by a proposal to excavate 395,000 tonnes of coal near to Chapeltown’s Cowley estate have joined the fight.
Doncaster-based Recycoal want to spend three-and-a-half years carrying out the recovery and restoration scheme at the former Hesley Wood tip and plans to sell coal to power stations, creating 35 jobs.
But Cowley Residents Action Group – formed to protest against plans – voiced concerns it will create air pollution, increase flood risks and have a detrimental impact on the health of residents.
They have collected about 2,000 signatures on a petition which they plan to deliver to Sheffield Council before a decision is made in December.
Jean Howe, CRAG chairman, said: “We are all of one mind that we just want it stopped. It is not needed.
“Who knows what pollutants are going to be found while they are digging and what will be going into the atmosphere?
“There is a neighbour across the road who has two severely asthmatic children.
“She said she cannot live here if it happens, because it is potentially life-threatening for her young ones.”
A spokesman for RecyCoal said: “RecyCoal works in consultation with government, local authorities, environment agencies and local residents to ensure each site is carefully planned with strict controls designed to avoid or minimize any impacts on people and the environment.”
Godfrey Bloom, MEP for the Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire region, said: “Obviously these people are desperately worried because this thing is going to be literally yards away from their village, with all the things which go with that.
“They have promised to re-landscape after five years, but so often you see companies like this disappear after those five years, leaving everyone to pick up the pieces. ”
Petitions are available to sign at Chapeltown Baths, Crawshaw butchers, Cafe Revolution, Lo Chemist, Pets are Pals and St Luke’s Hospice shop in Chapeltown.