Wednesday, February 10, 2016

News: New Maltby restoration scheme in development

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New plans are coming forward for the restoration of the mothballed Maltby pit site in Rotherham.

The 200 hectare colliery at Maltby was mined for over 100 years until geological conditions could not be overcome and underground operations ceased in 2013.

Owners and operators, Hargreaves decided to mothball the mine following no viable alternative solution being found to geological reports that indicated that the risks associated with mining a new panel, called T125, had not significantly reduced and that the panel is not viable on health and safety, geological, and financial grounds.

The winding tower was brought down in 2014 and the mine shafts have been filled and capped. With the sudden closure, the future restoration scheme, included in the planning permission for the mine's operation, is being re-examined.

Planning permission was refused last year for the importation of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of MRF - a fine slurry-like material which is formed during the washing and reclamation of coal fines (tiny coal particles).

Rotherham Council was forced to formally request a revised scheme of restoration and aftercare from Hargreaves in relation to the conditions of a previous planning permission.

The site sits within the borough's Green Belt and the majority of the Maltby site is being put forward through the Local Plan as remaining in the green belt with a pocket of development, which includes the pit yard, associated buildings and access, not considered suitable for a business park with offices or industrial units but instead used for "for waste and energy activities."

A scoping report recently submitted on behalf of Hargreaves to Rotherham Council outlines a reclamation scheme that will result in the progressive restoration of 138.8 hectares of the colliery tip which will take six and a half years to complete. Once restored, the site will be subject to five years of aftercare.

The site has a number of lagoons and spoil tips and the scheme includes both cutting and filling operations to lower certain areas of the colliery tip. The plans add that: "as part of these proposed earthmoving operations it will be necessary to import a range of suitable fill materials to facilitate the efficient reclamation of the excavations, voids and low areas of the colliery tip as a land recovery operation."

It is envisaged that 300,000 tonnes will be imported per annum for six and a half years. Mostly brought to site by road, the possibility of using the rail sidings is discussed.

The plans state that 220,000 of fill material will be imported and it is anticipated that types of available fill material will "typically be inert and non-hazardous wastes such as construction and demolition arisings." Around 150,000 tonnes of material suitable to create soil on the site may also be required.

Once the cutting and filling and topsoil has been carried out, the surface of the colliery tip will be cultivated and seeded as appropriate - grass seeding, shrub and tree planting, ditching and fencing. This is set to create a range of habitat types and uses including amenity grassland, agriculture, public access and nature conservation.

The immediate future of the site is as Maltby Energy Park, with operator Alkane Energy generating energy from the coal mine methane assets for an estimated period of up to 15 years. Coal fines will continue to be mined up to July 2016.

The colliery infrastructure is set to be retained for five years whilst the restoration takes place. This will enable other potential development proposals to be pursued separately.

Further detailed reports on environmental impact, transport and noise are set to be carried out as part of the full planning application for the restoration scheme.

Hargreaves Services website

Images: Hargreaves Services

1 comments:

Anonymous,  April 28, 2016 at 4:02 PM  

What about the heavy goods vehicles which will have to come through Maltby high street to import all the materials needed etc. Maltby already has too much heavy traffic without additional heavy traffic which looks as though it is going to be for a long time to come. Cannot anyone think of a better idea eg the already existing railway line?The volume of traffic will be too much through the centre of Maltby.

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