MP Yvette Cooper has joined local trade unions GMB and the NUM to demand that all the Kellingley workers get  their final payout just as the Thoresby workers did. 

 

MP Yvette Cooper has joined local trade unions GMB and the NUM to demand that all the Kellingley workers get  their final payout just as the Thoresby workers did.
 
Almost 300 former miners, staff and surface workers are currently being denied a final payment despite a court ruling that payments were owed and despite the fact that all the Thoresby workers received the payment when Thoresby closed at a similar time.
 
The Conservative Government has tried repeatedly to block final payments to the Kellingley workforce - including the last miners at Britain's last deep mine colliery. First they refused to give the workforce the same support as Thoresby, then they went to court to try to avoid paying out, and now they are trying to limit the number of people receiving a payment.
 
In August 2017 the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) won a tribunal against UK Coal Kellingley Ltd entitling  the workforce to a final payment similar to that received by the Thoresby workforce because UK Coal failed to carry out proper consultation or explore alternatives to keep the pits open when they closed in 2015.
 
The court agreed that the workforce had not been consulted and that they should be entitled to an extra payment.


Now the government has backtracked and said that only the 409 men who were members of the NUM will receive payments despite the fact that the entire workforce were denied consultation and were wrongly treated when the pit closed (and despite the fact that all the Thoresby workforce were given payments regardless of which union they were in).


Now all the unions have come together to call for the whole workforce to get support.
 
Yvette is backing all the unions campaign for their members and is calling  for a meeting with the Energy Minister to demand that everyone gets a payout.
 
Yvette Cooper MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford commented:
 
"Time and again this Conservative Government has tried to block support for Yorkshire miners. They gave the extra payments to the Thoresby workforce without a murmur, but they've resisted help for Kellingley every step of the way. I backed the NUM who rightly fought to get these payments in the first place and it's thanks to them that the first payments have been made. Now I'm backing the GMB rightly fighting to get the same payments to the rest of the workforce too.
 
Everyone knows that the consultation  by UK Coal and the Government over the closure of Kellingley and Thoresby pits was a sham - and we also know they never properly looked at the investment options that could have kept Kellingley open for longer.
 
The Government failed to support the pit and now is failing the workforce - it's outrageous. That's why I'm demanding a meeting with the Energy Minister and campaigning with the unions to get the whole workforce the support they deserve.”

Yvette & unions launch campaign for Kellingley workers as Government tries to deny hundreds of workers their final payout

MP Yvette Cooper has joined local trade unions GMB and the NUM to demand that all the Kellingley workers get  their final payout just as the Thoresby workers did.   

What a mess. The Prime Minister’s deal has lost support from all sides. For me a blindfold Brexit deal where we know so little about the future security and economic cooperation is too risky so I will vote against it. But whilst Theresa May’s deal doesn’t work, we cannot countenance no deal at all.  For the sake of people across the country who no matter how they voted will be feeling let down by the chaos, it is time for Parliament, the Government and the EU to pause for breath and think again.

Keir Starmer has rightly said Labour MPs can’t sign up to anything if we don’t know where it is heading. The political declaration accompanying the Withdrawal Agreement on the long term relationship with the EU is just 7 pages long. If we leave with so little agreement on the future, our negotiating hand in those long term negotiations will be that much weaker too.

 

As Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, I am particularly concerned about the security consequences. Cross border crime and security threats are at their highest ever level. Yet whilst the political declaration includes reference to passenger name records and the Prüm fingerprints database it is ominously silent on two of the most important measures of all – the SIS2 criminal information database and getting a replica for the European Arrest Warrant.

We shouldn’t underestimate how serious this is. The SIS2 database is checked by our police, border force and immigration officials over half a billion times each year – looking for wanted criminals, terror suspects, child sex offenders or dangerous weapons. The head of the National Crime Agency has said, “If we cannot have access to these tools… There is a risk that this country is less safe as a result.”

There also isn’t a plan B. Unlike on Northern Ireland or customs there is no backstop for security in the Withdrawal Agreement. Most experts think a new Security Treaty will take years to agree and ratify, but if it isn’t completed before the end of the transition in December 2020 we have a serious capability gap.These measures save lives, stop criminals and stop terrorists. That’s why the Prime Minister of all people must know in her head and her heart that this downgrade of public safety is not in the national interest.

It was inevitable it would come to this. Theresa May’s strength is her resilience. Her weakness is her inability to consult or build consensus. She never sought Parliament’s agreement on the negotiating objectives. With no consultation she set up impossible red lines. No need even to mention the timing of Article 50 and the General Election. She hoped that if she talked tough on Europe but sought compromise she might be able to bounce something through – just as she had when she promised Eurosceptics in 2014 that she would opt out of many EU security cooperation measures only to opt straight back in again. Since then they haven’t trusted her, but nor has anyone else. Finally she hoped that by fudging the long term future deal she could persuade enough people to give her and the EU the benefit of the doubt. But there is no trust, and everyone fears the worst.

So what next? Let’s be clear, no deal is not an option and only the most reckless and dogmatic politicians would even propose it right now, even though the clock is ticking. An outcome which relies on stockpiling medicines, lines of portaloos along the M20 to support the tailbacks to Dover, and police warnings about public safety cannot possibly be a good deal for Britain. 

Instead we should stop the clock. We need an extension of Article 50 so there is time to rethink and change course. The Prime Minister should start that process now. However much she wants to defend her own deal, she needs to recognise the scale of opposition and the risks to the country if she does not think again. It is impossible to predict at the moment what will happen within the Conservative Party or whether we will get the General Election Labour is calling for. But whatever happens we need more time, and the EU should recognise that it isn’t in their interests to end up with a chaos or a “No Deal” Brexit. Whatever outcome people want from all this, it’s in everyone’s interests to pause and take a deep breath. This mess isn’t helping anyone and it certainly isn’t in the national interest.

 

Why I Can’t Support the Prime Minister’s Brexit Deal

November 17, 2018

What a mess. The Prime Minister’s deal has lost support from all sides. For me a blindfold Brexit deal where we know so little about the future security and economic cooperation is too risky so I will vote against it. But whilst Theresa May’s deal doesn’t work, we cannot countenance...

The proposed extension to Rudd Quarry in Altofts should be stopped. It is far too close to Altofts primary school and the objections in terms of dust, noise, flooding and safety far outweigh any potential benefits for the company. You can read more details on my objections here. 

 

 

I am writing to oppose the application to extend Rudd Quarry on a series of grounds. I have received very many letters and emails from residents of Altofts who have put forward strong arguments against this application. I have also seen the letter that Silkstone Environmental LTD submitted to the planning committee on 9 May. Overall, this quarry extension would run far too close to a school and residential area, and judged against all the planning guidance, the harm to the community in terms of noise, dust, visual impact, traffic and flood risk substantially outweigh the claimed economic benefit to the applicant.

 

Location

The application allows excavation to come extremely close to Altofts Junior School. Silkstone Environmental LTD accepts that it will mean excavation as close as 120m from the playground and 145m from the school building. The application itself appears to suggest that excavation could even run closer than that. Even 120m is extremely close given the noise and dust that I have seen for myself from the existing quarry when standing over 300m away.

Silkstone Environmental LTD claim that the application includes the worst case scenario and that some of the closest excavations would not occur for another ten years do not provide any reassurance, as the point is that the worst case scenario would be permitted under the application even though it is unacceptable. And we have an obligation to consider children in ten years time as well as children today.

Many residents are also concerned that existing planning conditions are not being adhered to.

 

Noise

I have seen for myself the level of noise even on a quiet day at the quarry from further away than 300m. I believe this would increase problems for the school in a way that cannot be justified. Residents are already facing difficult levels of noise pollution as lorries and trucks are frustrating residents due to a ‘constant beeping sound’, the water pump causing excess amounts of noise and the general noise of the use of heavy machinery. This noise pollution would only increase if the Quarry extension is approved.

Heavy machinery would be operated at the same time as the schools opening times and in a much closer proximity than at present, making it harder for pupils and teachers to concentrate in school during such a vital stage in their development. Given the potential impact on ability to learn, this significant increase in noise from daily excavations so close to the school and local residents is not justified by any benefits from the application.

 

Flood risk/ surface and ground water issues

Residents of Altofts have already experienced flooding to their homes due to the quarry pumping waste water into the fields, it has also made open green spaces and public footpaths unusable during this period of flooding. The current planning permission stipulates that ‘All surface water from the site shall pass through approved drainage facilities’, however residents have reported that surface water is already being passed down Greenfield Road rather than into Ashfield Beck as stipulated. I have seen multiple pictures of gardens and roads being completely destroyed by this flooding.

 

Dust/ Air Quality

There are real concerns about the significant amount of dust that will be generated by the additional clay extraction and the affect that this will have on the air quality for Altofts and Normanton residents and particularly on any sufferers of lung conditions including Asthma which many residents have already told me that they suffer from.

Silkstone Environmental LTD says the risk posed by the dust is ‘not significant’ however a Government Report in 2004 found that dust from quarry sites can carry ‘0.5km from the source’ meaning the dust from this quarry would affect the air quality of thousands of Altofts and Normanton Residents. The report also states that there is a ‘severe case for worry’ for the air quality within 100m of a site. Given the proximity to Altofts Primary School this is a serious cause for concern.

Reports have shown that exposure to such dust can heighten the symptoms of asthma, and can cause lung and heart problems in later life. Asthma UK has found that 2/3 people who suffer from asthma feel that poor air quality (including dust) makes their asthma worse.

I have been told that over 15 children who attend Altofts Primary School suffer with asthma, and one child who has a life-limiting respiratory illness which would be exacerbated by the additional dust created by the extension of Rudd Quarry.

The lack of wheel wash at the site also means that mud and dust is distributed throughout the town, not just in areas close to the quarry such as the primary school.

 

Traffic

It is also clear that the roads in their current state are not adequately equipped to deal with the heavy traffic that will be created by extending the quarry. In addition residents are reporting that the site is not adhering to current planning rules as HGVs are using Greenfield Road as an access point, whereas the planning stipulates that ‘All HGV vehicular access and egress to the site shall be via existing access onto Newlands Lane” and “Except in emergencies or with prior written agreement from Local Planning Authority there shall be no HGV access/ egress to the site via existing access onto Greenfield Road”.

The entrance to the site is currently on Newlands Lane, however as Silkstone Environmental LTD have recognised, this entrance does pose an issue. Newlands road is far too narrow to accommodate HGVs, and certainly not suitable to accommodate up to 150 HGV movements per day. The road has already significantly deteriorated. In addition Newlands Lane is a used by many pedestrians who attend the doctor’s surgery, the church, the children’s play area in Smirthwaite Park and the bowling green, however the use of HGVs down this road more frequently will make the area much more dangerous.

I am concerned about the accuracy of the noise report. It appears the applicants have completed the noise report based on only 4 HGV movements per hour. The applicant is applying for a maximum of 150 movements per day, which when the opening hours of the quarry is taken into consideration means that there would be an average of of 16 movements per hour during the working day and during the school day.

Nor is Silkstone Environmental LTDs claim that this will only apply to peak periods reassuring. If the maximum movements are during the summer months this is the time that children are much more likely to be walking home, playing outside and sitting exams, making the higher traffic, air and noise pollution an issue for the school which is so close.

 

Safety

It is clear that the site has not been properly secured as I have had multiple constituents write to me about break ins which has included individuals riding motorbikes within the site which is incredibly dangerous and a public health hazard. These reports also include recent incidents which have been reported to the police in the last few weeks.

Concerns have also been raised about people bathing in the water given the failure to secure it and the proximity of the school increases the concerns for children. In addition the quarry is next to a landfill site from the 1980s raising concerns of contamination

Conclusion

I hope that based on this evidence the planning committee will reject this application.

Yvette backs local residents in opposition to Rudd Quarry extension

May 14, 2018

The proposed extension to Rudd Quarry in Altofts should be stopped. It is far too close to Altofts primary school and the objections in terms of dust, noise, flooding and safety far outweigh any potential benefits for the company. You can read more details on my objections here.   

Yvette Cooper MP presents Luke Gale with Parliamentary Rugby League Group Super League Player of the Year Award

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Yvette visits Haribo in Castleford

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Haribo is a really important local employer for us as well as a success story across the country - so it is great to see them expanding and creating more...

Action needed on street drinking in Castleford

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Action needed on street drinking in Castleford Castleford needs the same powers as Pontefract and Wakefield to stop problem street drinking in the town. Support my petition for action here....

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