Entrance to Daw Mill colliery, September 2006
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Daw Mill was a coal mine located near the village of Arley, near Nuneaton, in the English county of Warwickshire. The mine was Britain's biggest coal producer. It closed in 2013 following a major fire. It was the last remaining colliery in the West Midlands.
Daw Mill mined a five-metre thick section of the Warwickshire Coalfield (known as the Warwickshire Thick) in the north of the county. It was owned and operated by UK Coal and in 2008 employed 680 people.
The two shafts that served Daw Mill were first sunk between 1956 and 1959, and 1969 and 1971 respectively. The mine was a natural extension of the former collieries Kingsbury Colliery and Dexter Colliery, both of which have also closed. In 1983 an inclined tunnel linking underground workings with the surface was completed. This drift mining enabled Daw Mill to increase its production capacity as it removed the often time-consuming process of winding coal up the shafts.
Daw Mill was the last surviving mine in a county that once had 20 operating collieries. In 2008 it excavated 3.25 million tons of coal, beating a 13-year-old record for annual output at a British coal mine set at Selby in North Yorkshire.
Three men were killed at Daw Mill in mining accidents in 2006 and 2007. In 2011 UK Coal was fined £1.2 million for safety breaches.
On 22 February 2013, a major fire broke out 500 metres (1,600 ft) underground, described as the worst underground blaze in Britain for 30 years. UK Coal and Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that 92 workers were safely extracted. As of 7 March 2013 the fire had still not been fully extinguished. It was initially estimated that remedial work to the colliery could take between three and six months, making a return to production subject to a further review, resulting in the possible immediate closure of the mine.
On 7 March 2013 UK Coal announced the closure of the mine, due to the destructive fire which had extensively damaged it, with the plan to make most of the 650 staff redundant.
Land Redevelopment plans
In July 2013, the ownership of the Daw Mill site was transferred to property redevelopment firm Haworth Estates after UK Coal went into insolvency. Haworth subsequently submitted plans to North Warwickshire Borough Council to turn the land into a business park, which included proposals for an HGV depot, but withdrew their application in October 2014 after encountering opposition from local residents and councillors, who felt the scheme would be unworkable. One of their key objections was the volume of traffic that would be generated in the local area. Haworth said they would submit a revised proposal. A fresh set of plans were put forward in November. These included a "low-level rail hub", and a one third reduction in the size of the development. The proposals were further refined, and a second revised application made in July 2015.
Having initially objected to the proposals on the grounds of the size of the road network that would be needed to support the new development, the Highways Department of Warwickshire County Council announced in October 2015 that it would now support the development. The decision prompted local MP Craig Tracey, whose North Warwickshire constituency includes the site, to write to the Department urging it to reconsider its stance. His letter highlighted the potential impact the business park would have on the nearby town of Coleshill, which he said would be adversely affected by the increase in traffic flow. North Warwickshire Borough Council's planning committee unanimously rejected Haworth's proposals on 3 November, citing fears that the development would cause "substantial" harm to the local green belt. Haworth announced that it would appeal the decision.
- Macalister, Terry (8 December 2008). "Colliery on track for record output shows King Coal is striving to regain crown". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
- "HS2 could mean closure of Daw Mill". Coventry Telegraph. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
- Evans, Steve (21 June 2006). "Miner dies at Daw Mill". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
- "UK Coal fined over miner deaths at Daw Mill and Welbeck". BBC News. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2011.
- "Daw Mill coal mining may end after 'ferocious' fire". BBC News. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- Taylor, Matthew (7 March 2013). "Daw Mill colliery closure marks end of an era for 650 miners". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
- "UK Coal 'may close Daw Mill colliery'". BBC News. 14 March 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
- "Daw Mill 'likely' to shut in 2014, says UK Coal". BBC News. 11 August 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Daw Mill: Hundreds of jobs go at fire-hit mine". BBC News. 7 March 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
- "Daw Mill development plans could bring 1,000 jobs". ITV News Central. ITV. 4 November 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- Merriman, Ryan (30 July 2014). "Concerns raised over Daw Mill site". Nuneaton News. Local World. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- Chamberlain, Elise (18 October 2014). "Business park plans for Daw Mill colliery site are withdrawn". Tamworth Herald. Local World. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- Waddington, Jenny (1 July 2015). "Revamped plans for Daw Mill Colliery are revealed". Coventry Telegraph. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- "MP slams U-turn on Daw Mill application". Tamworth Herald. Local World. 30 October 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- Merriman, Ryan (29 October 2015). "MP slams U-turn on Daw Mill plans". Nuneaton News. Local World. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- Jones, Tamlyn (4 November 2015). "Daw Mill colliery developer to appeal council rejection". Birmingham Post. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- "Joy as Daw Mill plans unanimously rejected". Tamworth Herald. Local World. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- "Final decision on future of Daw Mill colliery". CoventryLive. 21 September 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
- UK Coal profile of Daw Mill
- A Profile of Daw Mill Colliery
- Daw Mill @ Mine-Explorer.co.uk
- Cutting edge information from deep underground, document about Daw Mill Colliery