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This is Burton Green, Warwickshire www.burtongreen.com

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The Superpit

Deep beneath this part of Warwickshire lies a thick seam of high quality coal. The Warwickshire Thick Coal Seam consists of extremely high quality coal in a seam approximately 8 metres thick. The seam lies at a depth of 1100 metres.
The area is bounded in the West by a fault line, roughly near Berkswell, which depresses the coal seam to a much greater depth. To the South, the seam deepens slightly, to over 1200 meters South of Kenilworth, and then splits into 8 separate thinner seams.

In 1985, British Coal announced its intention to build Europe's biggest Super-Pit, here.



A map showing the Super-Pit area, with Cromwell Lane-Hob Lane running across its centre, was published on the front page of the Coventry Evening Telegraph.
 
The plan was to mine 115 square kilometers around Burton Green. This would have included the entire area beneath the town of Kenilworth.
There was some very strong local opposition to the plan.







The photo at the left shows Kenilworth residents marching to a rally held on the green outside Kenilworth Castle.













The article at the right, from the Coventry Telegraph, is a report of a speech given to local businessmen by the Energy Minister, Mr Peter Walker.









The Superpit also had the support of the Church of England.

This article reports the views of Rev Trevor Cooper, who lived in Tile Hill. You can click on the image to enlarge it.

The Church supported the project on the basis that a new coal mine would bring 600 jobs to Coventry.

Coventry Cathedral was also used for an exhibition of mining technology.


At a meeting between local Members of Parliament and the Chairman of British Coal, a British Coal spokesman, Peter Binns stated "There is no way we're not going ahead with this scheme".

You can enlarge the image at left, by clicking on it, and you may need to enlarge it further in your browser. The quote about "no way we're not going ahead with this scheme", is in the final column.

In recent years, because of the threat of HS2, it has been claimed, by some people who were not living here, that villagers 'defeated' the Coal Board at a public inquiry. This is not true.






About a year after the initial announcement, British Coal published the map, shown left, detailing the proposed railway sidings, the location of spoil heaps, etc.









Collapse of the Project

As far as I understand the situation, the price of UK deep-mined coal, became uneconomic, relative to the price of surface-mined coal, that could be imported from abroad. This was the reason why the project collapsed.

Not only did this particular scheme collapse, but a large number of mining jobs were lost throughout the entire country. The UK coal mining industry was decimated.