Coal & the UK

Coal extraction

The UK still extracts and imports coal, primarily through opencast mining methods, for steel and cement production as well as for power stations.

There are several new coal mines proposed in the planning system awaiting approval, and these have been delayed and contested by grassroots community campaigns.

Coal in 2020

Opencast coal extraction

Opencast coal extraction causes extensive damage to local environments by opening up the land like a quarry, destroying habitats and polluting the air and water. Imported coal, from Russia, Colombia, the USA and Australia, also carries significant environmental and human rights impacts.

Power Stations

Coal-use in electricity declined to its lowest ever level in 2020, thanks to grassroots and NGO campaigning for a total phase-out of coal by 2025 (which may be brought forward to 2024).

There are now only four power stations left open in the UK running occasionally.

Global Impacts

Coal is the fuel that contributes most to climate change. Climate chnage impacts communities in the Global South, who least caused the problem, first and hardest.

The UK is also the financial centre of global coal mining, as many of the world's major mining companies are listed on the London Stock Exchange.

The UK heads up the international 'Powering Past Coal Alliance' but has yet to end coal extraction at home or fully end financial support for international coal mining.


Coal Roundup September 2020

TWO Opencast coal mines rejected this summer! Plus: plans for coking coal mines and power station closure dates

Coal Roundup June 2020

Decisions on coal mines still pending despite reduced coal demand & power station closures

Coal Roundup February 2020

The latest on current operating and proposed mines, and coal use in the UK

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