Perfect timing, NOT!  Just as America pulls out of the Paris Accord comes news of proposals to develop more coal mining – and opencast to boot – in Northumberland. Unsurprisingly there’s a lot of opposition from environmental groups. Of particular interest is the name of the developers – The Banks Group.

Remember how they had another open cast mine and came up with a cheap way of avoiding having to fill in the hole and leaving the landscape as they found it? They left the slag that had come out of it in situ and moulded it into a human form, sort of, (slag heaps with an enigmatic grimace, some say) and then transferred the ongoing upkeep cost to the community.

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About it, the Arts correspondent of the Guardian gushed:There’s a slumberous dreamlike delicacy to this work of art that dares to proclaim the wonder of the human body, that fertile marvel”. A successful wheeze then!
So could they now be planning a similar stunt? They say Many of Northumberland’s best-loved environmental assets only exist due to previous surface-mining activity in the area and the comprehensive Discover Druridge and Restoration First initiatives we developed as part of the Highthorn planning application will enable us to make significant local infrastructure enhancements that will provide major long-term benefits to wildlife, visitors, local people and businesses.”
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So might that mean Northumberlandia, dubbed the Slag of the North or Slag Alice, the world’s largest human figure, will soon have a companion? Reports that there’ll be an even larger figure, equally anatomically unrealistic, of a naked man are nonsense. But it is thought that he will be named Cock o’ the North.