The NSW Land and Environment Court in Australia has rejected the proposed Rocky Hill open cut coal mine in the Hunter Valley because of the greenhouse gas pollution it would produce.

Justice Brian Preston said in his ruling that the Rocky Hill project has been denied on the basis of uncertain economic benefits and adverse social and visual impacts.

Gloucester Resources, a unit of GRL Holdings, proposes to develop the Rocky Hill project.

Preston said that the mine would be in the wrong place at the wrong time and his decision is aimed at avoiding the dire consequences.

“Shutting the door on new fossil fuel developments will be a major turning point in the battle to stabilise the climate system.”

The judge commented: “The construction and operation of the mine, and the transportation and combustion of the coal from the mine, will result in the emission of greenhouse gases, which will contribute to climate change.”

He added that the new coal mine would increase greenhouse gas pollution when what is needed to meet the Paris climate agreement commitments “is a rapid and deep decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.”

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By GlobalData

Welcoming the decision, Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said: “The NSW Land and Environment Court has effectively ruled that coal, just like tobacco and asbestos, is bad for us. I’m thrilled to see the law catching up with the science.”

Climate Councillor professor Will Steffen said: “Shutting the door on new fossil fuel developments will be a major turning point in the battle to stabilise the climate system and will add further momentum to the shift to clean, reliable, renewable energy systems.”

Residents of Gloucester have been protesting against the proposed coal mine for several years.