Alston Moor anti-pollution plans revealed

Date: Friday 19th January 2018

RESIDENTS in the Alston area get a long-awaited glimpse of plans for a new mine water treatment scheme next week.

RESIDENTS in the Alston area get a long-awaited glimpse of plans for a new mine water treatment scheme next week.

A public drop-in event is to take place at Nenthead village hall on Thursday between 8am and 8pm. It is to give people a chance to see the final designs before a planning application is submitted to Cumbria County Council.

The scheme is designed to tackle lead and zinc pollution in the River Nent and South Tyne and clean up the water.

Water from the long-closed Haggs mine at Nentsberry is polluting the rivers, says the Coal Authority. The scheme consists of three treatment ponds and a reed bed on a five-acre piece of land south of the River Nent, off the B6294, between Foreshield Bridge and Hudgill.

The location was selected by the Coal Authority and Environment Agency following public meetings. It was considered the most favourable after an outcry from Nentsberry residents when a scheme was proposed for their community.

The proposed treatment scheme is part of the water and abandoned metal mines program — a national Government initiative being implemented by the Environment Agency and the Coal Authority to tackle water pollution caused by historic metal mining in England.

Around 1,500km of rivers are affected and the River Nent is ranked as the most impacted catchment in the Northumbria river basin and the second worst in England. The Coal Authority says wildlife, including fish and river flies, is affected, while about 60km of river in the South Tyne catchment are polluted by cadmium, zinc and/or lead.

A check weir was built on the River Nent last year in a field near the A689 at Nentsberry. The weir was dredged and around 1,000 tonnes of sediment containing 20 to 30 tonnes of zinc, cadmium and lead removed.

Andrew Brookes, project manager for the Coal Authority, said: “It is thanks to the help of the public, businesses and interested parties that we have got to this point and we will remain in contact as the application goes through the system.

“It has been a very long process and the public will still have the opportunity to make their views known through the formal planning process.”

Details of the public information events and the background to the proposals, including the method of site selection, are available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/haggs-mine-water-treatment-scheme