As thousands of visitors travelled into Cumbria for the busy August bank holiday they were met with a powerful statement: 25 large banners opposing the proposed new coal mine near Whitehaven with the words ‘NO TIME for a COAL MINE’.
The banners, which targeted all the major roads leading into Cumbria on Friday 25th August were unfurled by new anti-coal action group ‘No Time for a Coal Mine’. Leaflets were handed out in in Kendal, Carlisle, Keswick, Kirkby Lonsdale and Penrith and fly posters also appeared.
It is the latest in a series of actions against the proposed 2.78 million tonne-a-year mine which has met with significant local, national and international opposition.
Sarah McGowan who was born in Whitehaven and took part in the action says, "We can all see the impacts of climate change. In Cumbria the summer has been a washout since June, while on the Hawaiian island of Maui people escaped firestorms by jumping into the sea. Meanwhile the IPCC has said we simply cannot afford to permit any new coal mines, the UK government is flying in the face of reason. Our banners show the strength of feeling against the coal mine and our determination to keep the coal in the ground. The mine must be stopped.”
West Cumbria Mining Ltd is looking to extract a total of 67 million tonnes of coking coal from under the seabed off Whitehaven right up to 2049. The vast majority of this coal would be exported to foreign steelworks, as it is too high in sulphur to comply with UK and European air pollution regulations.
Of the two existing UK steelworks using coal, Tata Steel alone could tolerate small amounts of coal from Whitehaven. Tata Steel is currently negotiating with government for subsidies to decarbonise, ending coal use, or it has threatened closure. If the project goes ahead, the Cumbrian coal would emit more than 200 million tonnes of CO₂, primarily from its use in blast furnaces. Its extraction would result in the release of around 334,000 tonnes of methane even if mine methane capture equipment is used (901,000 tonnes without capture).
So far, 2023 has seen the hottest global temperatures for June and July in recorded history. Hundreds of millions of people across the USA, Europe and Asia have been hit by extreme heat while deadly wildfires have raged through southern Europe, Canada, Russia, Hawaii and beyond.
The government’s approval of this proposed mine faces two legal challenges, that was due to be heard in the High Court in October 2023. This has recently been delayed pending the outcome of a recent Supreme Court case relating to the oil wells at Horse Hill, Surrey (Finch v Surrey County Council). Both cases relate to consideration of end-use emissions in the Environmental Impact Assessment. If the Supreme Court decides that end-use emissions should be considered, this would greatly increase the chance of the government’s decision on the proposed mine being revoked.
Increasing global temperatures threaten food and water security for many millions of people, endanger lives and will
increase mass migration as areas around the world become uninhabitable. Globally, it is those who have done the least to cause the climate crisis who are already suffering the most.
The banners show the strength of public feeling against the government’s coal proposal, and highlights that there are many people prepared to take action to ensure that the coal remains underground at Whitehaven.
 Cumbria County Council Executive Director - Economy and Infrastructure, Development Control and Regulation Committee Application Reference No:4/17/90077.17
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…