11 groups commit to taking direct action to stop the West Cumbria coal mine if government approves it

The statement reads:

If the Secretary of State fails to stop the West Cumbria coal mine, we, the undersigned, will.

We, the undersigned, say that the fight to stop the West Cumbria coal mine is not over if the Secretary of State grants West Cumbria Mining Ltd. permission to wreak climate chaos.

We commit to taking the action necessary to prevent the damage that West Cumbria Mining Ltd.’s proposed coking coal mine would cause to the local environment, UK climate leadership, and global climate change if the Secretary of State fails to stop it after the public inquiry.

Limits of the public inquiry

The Planning Inquiry that’ll guide the Secretary of State’s decision will be limited by a National Planning Policy Framework that’s no longer fit for purpose in its failure to centre contributions to climate change in planning considerations. A recent precedent also means the Planning Inquiry may not even consider the ‘downstream’ impacts of the coal mine—namely how the coal will be used. Starting a new coal mine means more coal is used and generating greater emissions, but these emissions may be discounted. This would limit the public inquiry to consideration of the impacts from the mining only. We will not be bound by the limitations imposed on the public inquiry.

This mine must be prevented

We are living on the brink of climate catastrophe as well as many collapsing local ecosystems around the UK. Allowing this new coal mine now would cost the UK in terms of its environment, publicly funded infrastructure, and climate leadership, with any tax income in question. Resources must instead be invested in generating green jobs within West Cumbria, proving that it is not a choice of jobs in climate-trashing industries or unemployment—as that’s not a choice to most people.

Our commitment

We resolve to take the direct action that’s necessary to stop the proposed West Cumbria coal mine if the public inquiry and Secretary of State fail the British public and our future generations by permitting this climate wrecking proposal to go ahead. This direct action will involve a diversity of online and offline tactics that have a proud history of playing a vital role in protecting people, animals, and the environment where other methods have been ineffective and exhausted. In the UK, this includes the civil rights movement, women’s vote, disabled rights, genetically modified farming, and the phase-out of using coal to generate electricity.

Signed so far:

Bristol Rising Tide

Coal Action Network

Columban Missionaries Britain

Earth First! Gathering UK

Earth First! North East

Green Anti-capitalist Front

Insurance Rebellion

Reclaim the Power

Rising Tide UK

West Cumbria Friends of the Earth

XR North East and Cumbria

We’ll see you in the streets!

Copies of the statement have been posted to West Cumbria Mining Ltd, and EMR Capital - who are their financial lifeline (explained in this parody investment brochure).

Press release

Coal Action Network is one of 11 action groups committing to take direct action against the proposed Cumbrian coking coal mine, should the government reject all of the evidence at the public inquiry and approve the mine. Download a PDF of the joint statement or this press release.

Direct action groups are signing onto a public statement (below), committing to take action to stop the controversial coal mine proposal, if, after the public inquiry, Gove approves it despite direct warnings from its own Climate Change Committee. Copies of this statement, along with a parody booklet about West Cumbria Mining Ltd’s links with investors in the Cayman Islands tax haven, and a flyer for public rallies planned on the first day of the public inquiry were posted to offices of connected companies around the world this week.

EMR Capital was recently reported to be wavering in their financial support to West Cumbria Mining Ltd due to the costs in legal and expert fees of trying to win the upcoming public inquiry. The most recent annual accounts show that this finance is essential for West Cumbria Mining Ltd to operate.

Direct action can cause severe delays to large-scale projects and cost companies huge amounts­­—HS2 Ltd recently estimated protestors had cost the company £75million so far. The possibility of further delays and yet further costs may concern other investors or insurance providers that would have otherwise shown interest if the coal mine eventually got the go ahead from Micheal Gove.

Direct action has been a prominent element of many struggles for social improvement and reform throughout history, more recently including civil rights movement, women’s vote, disabled rights, genetically modified farming, and the phase-out of using coal to generate electricity. With the local campaign having exhausted other options, groups signing onto this statement are therefore committing to using direct action again to end all coal mining in the UK.

These groups believe, that irrespective of its stated use, industry cannot continue using coal and other fossil fuels—citing that impacts of climate change are already causing ecosystems to start failing in some countries where people are often more reliant on them for their survival.


Updated 24 September to reflect the change of Secretary of State in the latest cabinet reshuffle means Micheal Gove will make the decision following the planning inspectorates recommendation.

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