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Proposed Whitehaven coal mine campaign timeline

Main events

2014 Company directors buy Riverside Energy and change the name to West Cumbria Mining Ltd ( West Cumbria Mining Ltd).

2015 Cumbria County Council and  West Cumbria Mining Ltd hold internal discussions.

2016 Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report is finalised.

2017 Initial planning application is submitted.

2017 September. First demonstration against the coal mine - organised by Radiation Free Lakeland

2018 Major changes to the application are made and a new Environmental Statement submitted.

2019 March. Cumbria County Council planning committee holds hearing for the Whitehaven coal mine application, and approves it “subject to S106 legal agreement".

2019 April. Call in Request to Rt Hon James Brokenshire Secretary of State from Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole (a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign) around potential nuclear impacts of the proposal.

2019 June. A call-in request by SLACC is refused by Secretary of State (Secretary of State).

2019 October. Cumbria County Council planning committee holds second hearing and again approves the Whitehaven coal mine application “subject to S106 legal agreement".

2019 Judicial review launched by Leigh Day solicitors on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland.

2020 May. Cumbria County Council planning committee sets aside (withdraws) previous “consent subject to S106”.

2020 June.  West Cumbria Mining Ltd submits revised application (claiming to no longer mine and sell the high sulphur “middlings” coal in the area).

2020 October. Cumbria County Council planning committee holds third hearing for the Whitehaven coal mine application, and again approves it “approval subject to S106 legal agreement".

2021 January. SLACC issue second request for the Secretary of State to call-in  West Cumbria Mining Ltd’s application.

2021 February. Cumbria County Council suspended approval decision because Climate Change Committee recommended the end of coking coal use by 2035.

2021 February. CAN petition with 110,000+ signatures is submitted to the UK Government for the Secretary of State to call in the mining application.

2021 March. SLACC launches judicial review against the Secretary of State’s failure to call in  West Cumbria Mining Ltd’s application.

2021 March.  West Cumbria Mining Ltd launches judicial review against Cumbria County Council and in opposition to SLACC’s judicial review of the Secretary of State.

2021 Secretary of State finally agrees to call in  West Cumbria Mining Ltd’s application and to hold a Public Inquiry into it.

2021 September. 11 groups commit to taking direct action to stop the West Cumbria coal mine if government approves it.

2021 September.  West Cumbria Mining Ltd make major change just ahead of Public Inquiry - tunnelling under the ancient woodlands.

2021 September. Public Inquiry is held.

2021 September. On the first day of the Public Inquiry, around 70 people gather outside the site of the prospective Whitehaven coal mine, and outside the Secretary of State’s office, Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government.

2022 December. Michael Gove publishes decision to grant planning permission to the Whitehaven coal mine.

2022 December. Twitter storm erupts with the message “We reject the Whitehaven coal mine, #StopCoal @luhc @CoalActionUK”.

2022 December. Protests at the site and in other parts of Cumbria against the approval. At the site they continue monthly throughout 2023.

2022 December. 5 Santas deliver sacks of dirty ‘coal’ to the Secretary of State at the Department of Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities as he is on the (very) naughty list for approving the Whitehaven coal mine.

2023 Jan. SLACC and FOE request permission to legally challenge the Secretary of State’s decision in a Statutory Review.

2023 April. High Court refuse permission to appeal.

2023 April. FOE and SLACC apply for ‘Renewal’—similar to an appeal, which is granted.

2023 May. Legal challenges against the governmental decision are approved for SLACC and Friends of the Earth for a combined hearing. Originally due to be heard in October 2023, but delayed to await the outcome of a linked case, relating to oil extraction in Surrey.

2023 August. 25 large banners opposing the proposed new coal mine near Whitehaven with the words ‘NO TIME for a COAL MINE’ were unveiled along all the roads entering Cumbria on the same day.

2023 August. Earth First! Gathering occupied the site of the proposed Whitehaven coal mine for 5 days, with around 150 attendees, ran workshops on all things environmental and engaged with many local residents over the days.

2023 September. Global Day of Action against Fossil Fuels includes demonstrations against Lloyds of London Insurance companies which fail to rule out insuring the project.

Published: 28. 12. 2023

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