English Partnerships is to increase funding for the coalfield regeneration fund by another £20m.

English Partnerships has announced an additional funding package of up to £20m for the National Coalfields Programme to pay for the regeneration of more coalfield sites on top of the 101 currently in the programme.

Margaret Ford, Chairman of English Partnerships, announced the additional investment to supplement the existing £386m commitment to the programme, at the Coalfield Communities Campaign annual conference today in Dunfermline.

Ford said, “This additional money will ensure that even more former colliery communities can benefit from this programme. We are in the ninth year of our existing programme and so you would expect our results to be good – but they are in fact stunning. Achievements we can all be very proud of."

She added: “The National Coalfields Programme has grown from 57 sites in 1996 to 101 sites – a staggering 77% increase. We are now underway or have reached completion on 61 sites, made a start on five more and a further seven are approved and waiting to start.”

The funding will allow additional sites to be tackled by the programme. These will be selected from the current reserve list and a number of sites previously put forward by the CCC will be reconsidered.

Ford also announced the approval from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister of almost £10m, from the existing £386.5m ring-fenced budget, for Frickley colliery in Yorkshire.