A drift mine which is expected to generate £10m for the community and create up to 50 jobs has been given planning permission.
New Crofton Co-op Colliery Ltd, a workers’ co-operative led by engineer Bill Birch, will mine up to 6,000 tonnes of coal each week at a site between Crofton and Wintersett until 2036.
The proposals, which will create around 50 full-time jobs, were given the go-ahead at a meeting of Wakefield Council’s planning and highways committee yesterday.
Up to eight lorries and one train per day will transport the coal away from site, which is just off Santingley Lane.
Dr Birch worked as a miner for 20 years and is the managing director of the co-operative. He told the meeting: “Having taken stock of my life I wanted to give something back to the coal industry which has given me so much.
“That is where the idea of the New Crofton Co-operative came from and we feel this development would lead to a very significant legacy.”
The plant will be in operation from 6am to 10pm Monday to Friday and from 7am to noon on Saturdays.
No operations, except for pumping and mine ventilation, would be carried out on Sundays, Bank Holidays or Public Holidays.
Following the completion of the 22-year scheme, the co-operative would also return the site to its former state.
It will also be the subject of a period of five years of aftercare for the agricultural land, field boundaries and footpaths which may be affected.
Nostell Estates objected to the plans on a number of grounds, including negative impact on greenbelt land and created traffic created by the mine.
Ryhill Parish Council pledged its support to the scheme, saying it would bring much needed jobs to the area. Ward councillors also backed the scheme but did raise concerns about increased traffic.