STOP PRESS: Public inquiry called into West Cumbria coal mine!

In a surprise decision, the West Cumbria coal mine application is going to a public inquiry called by Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State), announced late yesterday (11.03.2021). Climate change will never be a local issue.

Why now?

  1. ‘Public controversy’ (this is literally your efforts!).
  2. The Sixth carbon budget was released in December—this coal mine alone would exceed the sub-allocation for active and old mines. You've since made it impossible for the Council and government to ignore that.
  3. Legal challenges (last week West Cumbria Mining Ltd applied for a Judicial Review of the Council’s decision to reconsider the application – a decision that again you helped make happen).

What now?

A public inquiry is a formal process started by a Minister (Robert Jenrick in this case) and run by The Planning Inspectorate where the facts of the case are examined more closely than in a council hearing. We now have another opportunity to expose the falsehoods within justifications for the West Cumbria coal mine and highlight the reasons it must never go ahead. These include:

  1. Over 85% of the mined coal would be exported, maybe more with high sulphur concentrations that are too much for the British steel industry – how does ‘domestic demand’ justify that?
  2. There’s nothing ‘neutral’ in new coal – it’s time to put that industry myth to bed.
  3. Jobs will be limited in time and number, and lower paid compared to what’s possible with investment in skilled green jobs.
  4. Approving new coal mines is incompatible with UK’s decarbonisation targets – and the Climate Change Committee has our backs on that.
  5. Approving a new coal mine during the same year the UK hosts the G7 and the COP26 summits, and as co-hosts the Powering Past Coal Alliance would signal to other countries they can pay lip-service to their climate change commitments.

As a grassroots supporter group, Coal Action Network will do what we always do, and that’s to fight for front-line communities to get their knowledge and voices heard in spaces like this public inquiry. We’ll keep you updated—but follow-us on Twitter if you use it, we'd like to share things with you there.

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