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From: "Loombreaker" (
Date: Mon, 28 May 2001 23:53:31 +0100
Subject: eLoombreaker 19, May/June 2001

The Watershed Campaign - Lancashire

The moorland watershed between Todmorden and Bacup has been systematically trashed for decades the rivers run orange because of iron pyrites from old mineworkings, the hillsides are scarred and eroding, the area is a fly-tipping blackspot, and someone thought it would be a bright idea to put a landfill site just above the source of the River Calder (the owner has recently applied for a time extension). Now, to cap it all, there is a looming planning application for a huge open cast clay and coal mine using trench and augur extraction, put in by Cobex Ltd (from Wakefield).

There is an active campaign against the mine as well as the boring behind the scenes work of putting our case to Lancashire County Council, creating a coalition of local groups, sorting petitions etc, we've recently held a "Walk for the Watershed", which was a joyful and creative event, which got huge backing from the local press. At the moment we're not doing direct action stuff that may happen later down the line, but it would be better to get it stopped at the planning stage. (The decision will probably be in June or July).

The aim of the watershed campaign is not just to oppose the mine. We want to put forward an alternative vision of the ecological restoration of the whole area, healing the scars of the industrial past, finding ways to bring the moorland streams back to life, and reforesting the hillsides to prevent flooding and erosion. (The Upper Calder Valley was badly hit by floods last year, underlining our vulnerability to the effects of climate change).

Our vision is not just pie in the sky it is happening already. The treesponsibility climate action group in Calderdale has begun tree planting on some steep eroding sites and has carried out a reed-bed study near a particularly polluted mine out flow. We are about to launch our "After the Floods, the Forest" campaign, and are confident about getting funding to establish a community woodland on a huge and badly degraded 6 hectare site (once the location of an old pipeworks). We are also putting input into the structure plan review processes of Calderdale and Lancashire County Councils, in the hope of getting the area "redesignated" to safeguard it for the future.

To get involved call Penny on 01422 843222

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