Consultation question: Considering the information presented in this call for evidence paper, and your own knowledge and experience, what are your views on the extraction of coal in Scotland?
Our response: The Welsh Government's most recent policy statement on coal should provide a starting point for the Scottish Government to build upon (https://gov.wales/coal-policy-statement-html) in developing its own policy, as there are clear and relevant parallels between both Governments.
Both Wales and Scotland has a long legacy of suffering the localised impacts of environmental blight and hazardous conditions of coal mining, with nearby communities rarely seeing a significant share of the economic benefits. Wales is still littered with unrestored or poorly restored coal mines. It was reported that only this year are the final abandoned coal mines in Scotland being restored - again, often to revised, lower standards that what was promised nearby communities due to insufficient restoration bonds.
Now more is known about climate change, both Wales and Scotland have led the way in developing progressive policies and practice to realise their ambitious targets. This cannot include viably include coal, which is worse in CO2 emissions than natural gas and oil in its conversion factor to energy. The EIA Pathways to Net-Zero report make this very clear, underscoring that no new coal mining for any purpose can be part of a pathway to Net-Zero by 2050.
A critical part of that report is no new coal mining for any purpose. The report goes further to explicitly include coking coal for steel in this prohibition. Port Talbot Steelworks in South Wales and British Steel in England are the 2nd and 3rd largest single-site sources of CO2 in the UK - because they burn coal. Any policy that differentiates between the extraction of coal for energy production and coal for steel production, ignores this growing threat to meeting climate targets across the world. It would also ignore the rapidly escalating developments around the world in decarbonising the steel industry. Green steel is on its way, with the first delivery of commercial quantities made from Sweden in 2021. Unfortunately, once investors have opened a coal mine, they will seek return on that investment and find alternative markets for the coal, or laggard steelworks that still rely on coal in the future. So permitting new coal mining for steel will prop up the biggest polluters and discourage transition to new technology and practices.
There is no viable future for any of us that relies on coal to get us there. Scotland should be using its just transition fund to skill its inhabitants in the industries of the future, not ploughing people into the industries that destroy that future.
We are an environmental organisation dedicated to ending coal mining and use in the UK for the sake of our collective climate and ecosystems. So you’d think we’d celebrate the claim by Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd that it will finally stop mining coal today at Ffos-y-fran in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. But we’re not. Because the abject failure of Merthyr County Borough Council to stop…
People hailing from Cumbria to London, and everywhere in between, descended on the Mines and Money Conference in London across two days (28th-29th Nov 2023). We demanded that investors stop pouring cash into the mining sector, and instead invest in our collective future. Together with Fossil Free London and other groups, we greeted investors with…
The insurers that have ruled out underwriting the mine are AEGIS Managing Agency, Argenta Syndicate Management, Hannover Re and Talanx. These are the first financial institutions to rule out any involvement with the project, and the win represents a new phase in the campaign to stop the project from going ahead.
Today’s global actions focused specifically on the state-owned China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure), the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim), and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). Sinosure is said to be in advanced talks with the Ugandan government about providing credit for the project.
On 18th October dozens of protesters staged a sit-in occupation of the plush City of London offices of ten Lloyd’s of London insurers demanding they rule out insuring the proposed West Cumbria coal mine and East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
Global mining companies are coming to London soon attempting to find investors in their ruinous projects at the Mines and Money Conference (28th to 30th November). Join our protests against it!
01 September 2022: Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd applies for a S.73 time extension to mine coal from Ffos-y-fran, and to accordingly delay and vary restoration works.
06 September 2022: Planning permission ends for coal mining at the Ffos-y-fran site, after 15 years and 3 months of operations.
12 September 2022: first reports to MTCBC have been made by local residents of coaling beyond the end of planning permission.
Over 30 Welsh NGOs and businesses have signed a letter to Welsh Minister Julie James and Deputy Minister Lee Waters, demanding they draw a line in the sand and announce ban on any further coal mines on Welsh soil. The letter was delivered on 11th October 2023.
On 15th September 2023, The Guardian reported that Tata Steel accepted Government funding to avoid closing its steelworks in Port Talbot, South Wales, by decarbonising it instead – but at a loss of up to 3,000 jobs. The UK Government is providing £500 million, and Tata Steel is expected to provide another £725 million…