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England’s last coal mine shuts next week marking the end of a tradition dating back to Roman times

ENGLAND’S last coal mine shuts next week, marking the end of a tradition dating back to Roman times.

Banks Mining’s open cast site near Dipton, Co Durham, will extract its last coal on Monday.

The 250 workers will be made redundant — victims of falling demand and concerns over the environmental damage caused by burning fossil fuels.

It means there will be no working mine left in England — although there are a handful of sites still operating in Wales and Scotland.

Coal has been a vital resource since Roman times and powered the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries.

At its height, the mining industry employed one million people in the UK.

The last deep mine in the UK closed in 2015 and all coal-fired power stations will close by 2025.

Banks insists five million tons of coal is still needed in Britain for the steel and cement industries.

But most of it is imported from Russia while potential sites in the UK remained untapped.

Banks managing director Gavin Styles hit out over the Government’s failure to give approval for new mines.

He said: “As we face a recession, the Government has a choice between allowing miners in northern England to keep their jobs, and upsetting campaigners.

“Its cynical refusal to even announce a decision is why the British public has completely lost faith in politicians.”

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