BACK TO TOP

Cumbrian Councillors go against climate consensus and approve coking coal mine

This afternoon Cumbria County Council approved, for the second time, the application by West Cumbria Mining to extract 2.78 million tonnes of coking coal a year from Woodhouse Colliery, near Whitehaven.

The Councillors said that it was a finely balanced decision, with the Council proposing 101 conditions on the project. The council has already reduced the lifespan of the proposed operation from 2070 to 2049. The scientific arguments around emissions seemed to be too complex for some of the Councillors to grasp.

A year ago the decision to approve this mine was unanimous, this time 12 were in favour of accepting the application, 3 were against and 2 abstained from the voting.

The coal from this site is suitable for use in steel making, but would mainly be shipped to Europe. Alternatives methods of new steel production such as Direct Reduction Iron and recycling scrap steel already exist.

If this mine were to go ahead it would mean the first new underground coal mine to be started in the UK in many years. The last underground mine, Kellingley Colliery which produced coal for power stations was closed in 2015.

The Councillors who voted against the application had varying reasons, including expecting that the quantity of coal mined in the USA would not be reduced as the companies would find alternative markets in the USA or Latin America. West Cumbria Mining said that this mine's coal production would mean coal in other places was left underground and so there would not be additional carbon emissions due to mining an additional 2.78 million tonnes of coal but this was not unanimously accepted and has been refuted by top economists. Another Councillor had strong concerns about heritage impacts. Both the Chair and the Vice Chair voted against the application.

One of the Councillors who voted in favor of the application said, "I wasn't elected to do global issues, I was elected to do Cumbria issues".

Now the decision will go to Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, to decide whether he will call for a inquiry headed by a planning inspector into the application. If this happens the ultimate decision will be with the Secretary of State who has recently rejected the application by Banks Group to extract coal by opencast coal mining, from the Northumberland coast line.

Robert Jenrick warned the council that he would make this move if they decided to approve the application, before the hearing took place. Therefore this decision is not final.

Will you help to encourage the Secretary of State to call in this decision and decide against the application? There is a new petition launched after the application was approved, addressed to the Secretary of State.

Anne was at the hearing, and these were her thoughts at the end: "Today was a missed opportunity by Cumbria County Council to show real support for decarbonising the steel industry and rejecting this mine. The decision clearly involved careful consideration from some of the Councillors, but many said it was an exceptionally difficult case, leading to two abstentions. Society's understanding that we cannot continue to use old technology in the face of the climate emergency is growing. Consequently the Secretary of State has said he will consider whether this decision should be made by Government is an important step, a year ago that possibility was dismissed."

The UK government needs to take a strong stand on decarbonising heavy industry by stopping this application and making policy decisions that ensure real zero carbon is met quickly through bold action. The UK's hosting of the Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow next year should be a big encouragement to make the right decision and reject this and other projects which would worsen global climate change.

West Cumbria Mining, the company behind the application, is owned by Australian company EMR Capital.

The UK Government has committed itself to reach net zero carbon by 2050 but as yet has not managed to set out a roadmap to decarbonise the UK steel industry.

Share now:

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Never miss an update! Sign up to our Newsletter

OTHER STORIES

Horse Hill Supreme Court victory

Fantastic news today, 20th June 2024. The UK Supreme Court has set a historical precedent, in overturning a previous ruling, considering the legality of approving a new oil site in Surrey. The ground breaking decision stating that ‘downstream’ emissions (those released when a product is used) must be factored into decisions on…

UK election 2024: Parties line up to ban more coal mining

The UK’s last coal-fired power station closes this year, and last year is confirmed the hottest year on record. We’re pleased that the Labour Party has listened to our arguments, along with the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, and Plaid Cymru which have also ruled out any new coal mining…

Email your election candidate

Coal Action Network asked Who will stop coal? last weekend in Whitehaven, West Cumbria. At the site of the proposed coal mine, members of the local community and supporters gathered to ensure that the question of the mine is being put to election candidates. Now we need you to crank up the pressure and make sure all election candidates across the UK faces this question as they could decide the fate of the coal mine if elected…

Hearing date set for proposed West Cumbria Coal mine

The legal challenges against the government’s approval of a new coal mine off the coast of Cumbria will be heard in London on the 16th to 18th July.

Support local campaign group resist Bedwas coal mine

Mining company, ERI Ltd, is applying to mine nearly half a million tonnes of coal from two coal tips dumped in Caerphilly, South Wales by the same mining industry last time it operated in the area.

Bedwas coal tips: Key facts and impacts

Mining company, ERI Ltd, is applying to mine nearly half a million tonnes of coal from two coal tips dumped in Caerphilly, South Wales, by the mining industry last time it operated in the area. It’s vital we stop this shameless attempt to exploit the mess left behind by the mining industry to justify yet more mining. If the coal tip mining were to go ahead, it would…

Ffos-y-fran opencast coal mine quietly becomes a massive reservoir

Coal Action Network’s drone footage on Monday 11th March raised the alarm bell about the rising water levels. With this footage, a local resident informed Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council of the rising water levels, only to be told…

Global Week of Action: Putting Insurance Industry in the Hot Seat

The insurance industry found itself in the spotlight last week as a Global Week of Action blossomed across the world. From February 27th to March 3rd 2024, a wave of protests, both online and in the streets, swept through the doors of insurance giants, demanding accountability over their support for polluters and decisive action on climate change.

Protesters walk with banner reading 'Insure Our Futures Not Polluters'

Success: Yet another major insurer rules out coal and oil projects

After a week of peaceful protest around the world, alongside hundreds of groups, our efforts have paid off. Yet another leading insurance company, Probitas, has ruled out insuring the proposed West Cumbria coal mine and the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

CONNECT WITH US

Share now:

1
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x