Help us to stop the Whitehaven coal mine proposal by writing to your MP

Updated. The decision to stop or allow the proposed 61.4 million tonne coal mine has been delayed or a second time. It is now due on or before the 8th November. (Following a first delay when the Government had said the 17th August.) We are keen to apply as much pressure to stop the mine as possible. For why this mine cannot be allowed to go ahead, see our blog post Key facts: Whitehaven coal mine.

The public inquiry into the application closed nearly a year ago (September 2021). Now we’re contending with the invasion of Ukraine, a looming energy crisis, and the closure of Port Talbot steelworks if it doesn’t receive £1.5 billion in subsidies from the government to pay for new equipment to remove its dependence on coal.

Since Liz Truss became Prime Minister there is a new Minister, Simon Clarke responsible for this decision. He is the third new holder of this role since Robert Jenrick said the government would take over the proposed Whitehaven coal mine decision in March 2021 from Cumbria County Council.

Write to your MP now to ask that they make Simon Clarke, the Secretary of State responsible for the decision, aware of your concerns.

Find out who is the MP for your area.

Below are some suggestions of points to include, please re-write them yourself and or change their order. Unique letters make a much bigger difference than reproducing the same one.

Some things to consider in your letter to your MP:

1) The only significant domestic demand for Whitehaven’s coal would be Port Talbot Steelworks (at most, 13% of the coal produced could be consumed in the UK at full production). Port Talbot Steelworks has announced it will either cut out coal from its steelworks with a £1.5 billion government subsidy – or close. Either way, close to 100% of Whitehaven coal would be exported where it doesn’t get included in UK emissions statistics, but does worsen everyone’s climate risk.

2) The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is a good reason to lead the way in reducing our industries’ dependence on fossil fuels, starting with Port Talbot Steelworks, and embrace the massive potential for renewable energy across the UK. Much can be done just by increasing efficiencies, see our report on Coal in steel.

3) Chris McDonald of the Materials Processing Institute has said that the Whitehaven mine would not displace a single tonne of Russian coking coal from the UK. The industry’s trade association—UK Steel - has confirmed that no Russian coal is used in UK steelworks any more; these plants have already found alternative sources.

4) The UK holds the COP (climate summit) presidency until the end of 2022, the UK needs to set an example by keeping all fossil fuels in the ground. Lord Deben, of the Climate Change Committee, said in June 2022 "As far as the coal mine in Cumbria is concerned, let's be absolutely clear, it is absolutely indefensible".

5) The cost of living crisis means that we need to invest in technology and industries which can offer sustainable, well paid, long-term employment, building a greener country—rather than investing in a declining industry at a coal mine with an uncertain future. The Local Government Association, says there is potential for over 6000 green jobs in Cumbria this decade of which 10% of these could be in Copeland, where the Whitehaven coal mine would be.

You can also include reasons against this coal mine which are not on this list, but important to you. Remember it would produce coal for steel making, rather than for coal power stations. Please remember to include a full name and address.

Particularly important Ministers to contact are: Alok Sharma, Reading West; Simon Clarke, Middlesborough South and East Cleveland; Kwasi Kwarteng, Spelthorne; Greg Hands, Chelsea and Fulham; Paul Scully, Sutton & Cheam; Marcus Jones, Nuneaton; Lia Nici, Great Grimsby; Steve Double, St Austell and Newquay; and Alan Mak, Havant, Hampshire. However, only the MP for the area that you live will correspond with you on this issue.

If they haven't already you could ask your MP to sign the Early Day Motion titled, “Planned coalmine in Whitehaven, Cumbria”. 51 MPs have signed so far.  Is yours one of them? Normally only opposition party MPs sign EDMs.


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