Coalfield regeneration cash boost

The regeneration of England's derelict coal mines will he helped with a £20m funding boost, as well as money for six new sites, the National Coalfields Conference heard this week.

The Government's coalfield regeneration programme has put 1,946 hectares of contaminated land back into use, seen over £370m of public money invested in former coalmine communities and led to the building of 2000 new homes since it began ten years ago.

The programme has now been extended until 2012, and after the addition of six new sites encompasses a total of 107 former coal mining areas.

John Walker, chief executive of national regeneration agency English Partnerships, said: "The additional funding will allow us to be more flexible in terms of the way we help coalfield communities. We will work with our partners to prioritise the way this funding is spent to maximise its impact.

"The inclusion of the six new sites will allow us to support and help turn around the fortunes of these blighted mining communities. Our input will kick start a programme to create new homes, jobs, community and leisure facilities, and public open space.

The collapse of England's coal mining industry left former mining communities with large areas of contaminated land as well as high unemployment. In the 1990s coalfield areas accounted for a quarter of all the derelict land in the UK, and only13% of the country's population.

By 2012, the National Coalfields Programme hopes to:

  • Bring 4000 hectares of derelict and contaminated land back into
  • Create 42,000 new jobs
  • Create 2,000,000m2 of office floorspace
  • Build 8,000 new homes;
  • Encourage over £1bn worth of private sector investment into the coalfield areas

    Goska Romanowicz

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