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Mining gives way to work and wildlife


COAL MINING may now be all but defunct as a UK industry, but the scars it left on the landscape are now being reckoned with, site by site.

The Weetslade colliery reclamation in Tyne & Wear, 11km north of Newcastle upon Tyne, is one such project and, as often happens on brownfi eld sites, wildlife has thrived in the abandoned environment.

The plan is for the south of the 59ha site to house offi ces and light industry, with the north turned into a country park.

White Young Green won a £250,000 contract to be the client's (regional development agency One NorthEast) representative on site.

Essential to the venture is the creation of habitats for a number of species such as great crested newts, badgers and roe deer, which will also be catered for with wildlife corridors through the site.

Main contractor CA Blackwell (Contracts) is undertaking the bulk earthworks as part of a £4.9M job and by the end of 2005 will have moved 970,000m 3 of material including colliery spoil and made ground.

The scheme also involves excavating coal from beneath a spoil heap in the south of the site. Once the team has excavated the made ground down to natural levels, it will compact infill to create a working platform for building work.

Golder Associates (UK) is supporting design consultant Carl Bro Group with ecological and archaeological work.

Landscaping is due to be completed in summer 2006.

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