Laurie Michaelis “If Cumbria County Council knowingly allows this mine…”

The latest page in the ongoing Wastwater Chronicles series – this is from The Pit and the Polar Bear

Wastwater Chronicles

“Its like Climate folk need mega-permission from up on high to oppose the coal mine” Coal & Nuclear Zero Carbon Cumbria Partners?

“Well. I’ve already torn up the Paris Climate Agreement outside the Mine office. I know, Im friends with a good guy whose a climate expert…I’ll ask him….”

Laurie Michaelis – full March 2018 letter below

Laurie is the Quakers for Sustainability expert and he has written to Cumbria County Council outlining why they should turn down the coal mine plan. His letter and memo is reproduced in full below.

Dear Rachel Brophy

Planning Application 4/17/9007: Woodhouse Colliery

I am writing to comment on the above application and to ask to be allowed to speak at the Development Control Committee meeting on 7thMarch.( note this is now 18th April)

My comments centre on the climate change implications of the proposed mine and on the business case…

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Petitions: Secretary of State – AND Cumbria County Council

A Coal Mine Under the Irish Sea ??? NO THANKS!! Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

Dear Friends,

Here is a petition from Coal Action Network to the Secretary of State asking for Cumbria County Council’s decision to be called in https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-cumbria-coal-mine

Our own original petition which Tim Farron MP delivered to the Secretary of State on our behalf and which importantly flags up nuclear impacts can still be signed here : https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-cumbrian-coal-in-the-hole-its-too-near-sellafield

Given that the Secretary of State ordered Cumbria County Council NOT to approve the planning application until his decision, the County Council may well be obliged to ratify their 2nd October decision – there is our petition to them here – please keep signing and sharing https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/no-new-coal-mine-in-cumbria

Talking to Local Lads..

from the Pit and the Polar Bear – the latest in the Wastwater Chronicles

Wastwater Chronicles

In Whitehaven talking to local lads

2018 “Any big Climate Bods shouting ’bout coal mine yet?”

“Nope”

On the phone to Environment Ed of the Guardian newspaper : “please could you report on the really dangerous plan for the undersea coal mine near Sellafield?”

One of Top 5 Environment Journalists ” We will report on it when the decision has been made”

“Fat lot of good that’ll be!!! I can write a letter in but its not the same.”

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“C’mon Fellow Greenies…”

From 2017 …..

Wastwater Chronicles

June 21st 2017 “C’mon Fellow Greenies...There are just five weeks to go before Cumbria County Council (the most obsessively pro-nuke in the UK) rubber stamp the application – and hey presto, we’ll have a brand new coal mine just a few miles from one of the world’s most polluted and toxic nuclear sites…..” Jonathon Porritt

Wow, thats a great shout -out from BIG-GREENIE Jonathon Porritt on his blog. All the big voices are bound to leap into action against the coal mine now….”

Later…… tumbleweeds

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LABOUR OPPOSE THE FIRST DEEP UK COAL MINE IN DECADES

Protest banners are continually removed from the fences of the site – contrast this with that other defunct fossil fuel plan in Lancashire. At least the frackers, Cuadrilla allowed protest banners on their fences!

Following a direct question to Labour HQ from environmental journalist Donnachadh McCarthy,  Labour has stated  :

“Labour is very concerned about the environmental and long-term economic ramifications of approving the UK’s first deep coal mine in forty years. 

 “This project will not help us fight the climate emergency, nor will it provide the long-term job security that Cumbrians deserve as the UK rightly moves towards a green economy.

“We believe this project should be called in by the Government on the grounds of compliance with national net zero commitments. 

“But this underlines why the Government needs to support the transition to a green economy, including greening the steel industry, which would create stable, high-skilled jobs in local communities across the country.”

Local nuclear safety group Radiation Free Lakeland are delighted that Labour has come out against the coal mine plan.  Marianne Birkby founder of Radiation Free Lakeland and the person who took on the legal challenge under the Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole campaign which has seen the plan being kicked into the long grass repeatedly has said “For Labour to come out against the coal mine is a very big deal given the £millions so far spent on public relations alone for political lobbyists from New Century Media to push this plan in the corridors of power.  We assume that the County Council will have to ratify their “minded to approve” decision taken on October 2nd and we hope that councillors will see that this coal mine not only has no justification but is positively dangerous to the health of this county and beyond on both nuclear and climate grounds. If not, if the Council stick with their ‘yes’ vote  there is, given Labour’s opposition and mounting evidence against the development,  an increasing possibility that the Secretary of State will call the Council’s decision in for a public inquiry.”

Donnachadh McCarthy reporting in the Independent – Labour is Opposing the UK’s First Deep Coal Mine..https://www.independent.co.uk/independentpremium/voices/woodhouse-uk-deep-coal-mine-cop26-climate-change-cumbria-carbon-emissions-b1014586.html

A Letter to The Queen on the Anniversary of the Windscale Fire. Coal and Nuclear Do Not Mix.

The following letter has been sent to the Queen along with a covering letter to the Crown Estate.

Madam,

Your Majesty’s  love of wildlife is legendary and impressively includes reports that Your Majesty refused to let staff meddle with the bats at Balmoral, “despite the extra cleaning work that they generate.”  

Here in Cumbria wildlife from bats in ancient woods to black guillemots on St Bees Head are under threat along with so much more from the plan to open the first deep coal mine in 30 years.  The coal mine would largely be under the Irish Sea.  

Your Majesty’s Crown Estate has a direct role to play in either facilitating or stopping this plan in its tracks.  Your Majesty’s Crown Estate signed an Exploration Agreement with West Cumbria Mining on 21st July 2017.  This agreement ran out on 2nd October 2020.

Also on 2nd October 2020 Cumbria County Council approved West Cumbria Mining’s plan (The Secretary of State is deliberating on whether or not to call the plan in for a public inquiry).

In order to facilitate the plan for the first deep coal mine in 30 years West Cumbria Mining require Your Majesty’s Crown Estate to agree to an Exploitation agreement in order to extract the coal.

Many feel that profligate burning of fossil fuel is the most dangerous technology man has created but as a long time nuclear safety campaigner I would suggest along with the authors of the Doomsday Clock that the burning of uranium is equal to and even trumps fossil fuel.  Uranium wastes/products which include plutonium and polonium, from much of the worlds uranium fuel and all of the UKs uranium fuel is sitting at Sellafield.  

 This week is the anniversary of Britian’s worst nuclear accident, the Windscale Fire of 1957.  The repercussions of which are still being felt.  Your Majesty has visited Sellafield, the world’s known riskiest nuclear waste site.  Windscale was renamed Sellafield.   Sellafield would be just 5 miles from the deep undersea coal mine.  Mass void removal is known to induce seismicity.  As well as this certain seismic risk the mine would be directly below the radioactive sediments which have settled on the Irish Sea bed from decades of Sellafield discharges.  The radioactive sediment which includes plutonium is named as the Cumbrian Mud Patch.  

The radioactive risks from this, the biggest coal mine to be mined near Sellafield ever, are literally out of this world as the high level radioactive wastes sitting at Sellafield could annihilate the planet many times over (as they were originally designed to).  This and the certain risk of resuspension of the Cumbrian Mud Patch wastes means that this coal mine puts the whole planet at direct risk of a nuclear fall out there would be no coming back from. 

Please be on the right side of history.  The required Crown Estate agreement with West Cumbria Mining for Exploitation of coal reserves under the Irish Sea 8km from Sellafield and directly beneath the Cumbrian Mud Patch should not be signed up to, the certain climate and radiological damage would be intolerable.  Tomorrow is too late.

We would be honoured if you would accept this gift of a painting of the beautiful Irish Coastal area which would see the first deep coal mine in 30 years should this plan be agreed to.


yours sincerely

Marianne Birkby

On behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland and our Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole campaign

PETITION TO THE QUEEN HERE

Read more:

Sellafield wastes reach the Arctic

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg15420811-400-sellafield-leaves-its-mark-on-the-frozen-north/#ixzz6ZtNUn2cq

Crown Estate Exploration Agreement with West Cumbria Mining

https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/07143398/charges/lXWNTRigei_OaJQXhs2MwyKZ7ms

A briefing paper by Tim Deere-Jones. WEST CUMBRIA MINING: WOODHOUSE COLLIERY PROPOSAL RADIOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS of POTENTIAL SEABED SUBSIDENCE SEISMICITY & “FAULT RE-ACTIVATION” beneath The CUMBRIAN MUD PATCH: INDUCED BY “MASS REMOVAL”, RAPID EXTRACTION & VOID SPACE CREATION.

Stop the Plan In Its Tracks – Petition Her Majesty Not to Sign New Agreement with Planned Coal Mine

To: Her Majesty The Queen

No Agreement to Exploit Crown Estate Coal Reserves Under The Cumbrian Coast

No Agreement to Exploit Crown Estate Coal Reserves Under The Cumbrian Coast

The plan for the first deep coal mine in 30 years requires Her Majesty to agree to an Exploitation agreement with the developers, West Cumbria Mining, in order to extract the coal. We the undersigned plead with Her Majesty to Please be on the right side of history and Refuse to sign the Crown Estate agreement with West Cumbria Mining for Exploitation of Coal Reserves under the Irish Sea five miles from Sellafield and directly beneath the radioactive Sellafield/Cumbrian Mud Patch.

Why is this important?

Local campaigners have been opposing this plan on the grounds of intolerable climate and radiological damage since 2017.

Her Majesty now has a direct role to play in either facilitating or stopping this plan in its tracks.  Her Majesty’s Crown Estate signed an Exploration Agreement with West Cumbria Mining on 21st July 2017.  This agreement ran out on 2nd October 2020.

Also on 2nd October 2020 Cumbria County Council were minded to approve West Cumbria Mining’s plan (The Secretary of State told the council they could refuse but not offer final approval for the plan, pending his decision).

In order to facilitate the plan being pushed forward for the first deep coal mine in 30 years, West Cumbria Mining require Her Majesty to agree to an Exploitation agreement in order to extract the coal.

Her Majesty has visited Sellafield, the world’s known riskiest nuclear waste site.  Sellafield would be just five miles from the deep undersea coal mine.  Mass void removal is known to induce seismicity.  As well as this certain seismic risk the mine would be directly below the radioactive sediments which have settled on the Irish Sea bed from decades of Sellafield discharges.  The radioactive sediment which includes plutonium is named as the Cumbrian Mud Patch.

There have been many peer reviewed and independent reports indicating that subsidence/disturbance of the Irish Sea bed will resuspend these decades of radioactive wastes into the sea.  It takes just 4 years for radioactive wastes from Sellafield’s discharge pipeline to reach the Arctic. Far less time to reach our own coasts. The New Scientist has reported that Sellafield “reprocessing plant has released 40 000 billion becquerels of caesium-137. “So far, about 15 000 billion becquerels have reached the Arctic. This is between two and three times more than the contamination from Chernobyl, which is reaching the Arctic via the Baltic and North Seas.”  https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg15420811-400-sellafield-leaves-its-mark-on-the-frozen-north/%E2%80%A8


Mike Berners-Lee the climate expert has said of the Council approval of the coal mine that “12 Cumbria County Councillors have serious climate blood on their hands after approving the coal mine yet again – even though the case for has been shown to be 100% bogus. Unlikely there is anything any of them can do in their lives to undo this much damage.”   

For myself as a long time nuclear safety campaigner and the person who took on the legal challenge against the coal mine with the help of top lawyers Leigh Day,  I know that the climate impacts although massive, are the tip of the iceberg. The nuclear impacts are of a magnitude literally out of this world as it is well known that the high level radioactive wastes sitting at Sellafield could annihilate the planet many times over.  This and the certain risk of resuspension of the Cumbrian Mud Patch wastes means that this coal mine puts the whole planet at direct risk of a nuclear fall out there would be no coming back from. 


Please be on the right side of history and refuse to sign the Crown Estate agreement with West Cumbria Mining for further Exploration and Exploitation of coal reserves under the Irish Sea 5 miles from Sellafield and directly beneath the Cumbrian Mud Patch.

Exploration Agreement with West Cumbria Mining
https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/07143398/charges/lXWNTRigei_OaJQXhs2MwyKZ7ms

Who is Responsible for the Cumbrian/Sellafield Mud Patch which lies above the Coal Mine Plan?

Map of the Cumbrian Mud Patch also known as the Sellafield Mud Patch (BGS image) – the great majority of the Woodhouse Colliery lies beneath the Mud Patch which extends north of St Bees Head and into the Solway Estuary

Many thanks to Tim Farron MP who is asking questions on our behalf – this is his reply to us this week about lack of responsibility by regulators for the safety of radioactive wastes on – and off – Sellafield.

Dear Marianne

Thank you very much for your recent email with regard to the queries you wish to raise about potential seismicity from the mine and your concerns about radioactive waste and the lack of responsible parties.

The approval of the mine by the Cumbria County Council planning committee is a significant backwards step, especially in the midst of a climate crisis, and I was happy to offer my objection to the committee “in person”.  Much of this feels like deja-vu having been here only last year.  Now we await the Minister’s decision on calling in the application.  As you may be aware, I have written to him to urge that he does call in the application and reject it.

I would be more than happy to raise your queries with which I agree.  I think they are best raised with DBEIS.

That being the case, I am pleased to confirm that I have written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy to submit your queries for his response.  I will write again, when I have received the response.

With best wishes

Yours sincerely

TIM FARRON MP

The following letter was sent to Tim Farron MP to ask :

Who is Responsible for the Cumbrian/Sellafield Mud Patch which lies above the Coal Mine Plan and would be at certain risk of Subsidence?

Full text of the letter below…

Dear Tim,

Thank you for speaking against the plan to open the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades and for writing again to the Secretary of State asking for Cumbria County Councils “decision” to be called in. The council’s  vote on 2nd Oct is not final, I suspect (but do not know ) that it would have to be ratified as the Secretary of State has issued a holding notice saying that the council could refuse the application but not approve it – only that they were ‘minded to approve’.

I was cheering your presentation to the council on until the bit where you advocated new nuclear on the greenfields next to Sellafiied.   Our view, which is reinforced by empirical evidence, is that the radiological impacts of this coal mine would far outweigh the more obvious and (thanks to the work of Radiation Free Lakeland) acknowledged climate risks.  The radiological risks remain a big fat taboo.

The 101 conditions placed on the planning application include several conditions relating to Seismic and Subsidence Impacts.  These impacts are not ‘maybes’ they are definite consequences of mass void removal from the West Cumbrian coast largely from under the Irish Sea and the Cumbrian Mud Patch.

These conditions (see below) state that the developer would be responsible for self monitoring the known seismic and subsidence impacts. We know how this played out with Cuadrilla in Lancashire carrying out their own seismic monitoring and investigations. 

Given our concerns we would very much appreciate it if you could direct some questions to the BEIS (or whoever you think most appropriate)

The Mayor of Copeland Mike Starkie told the Council in his presentation that Sellafield strongly support the plan.  We assume this means the NDA/RWM rather than private contractors at Sellafield?

Decades of Sellafield’s radioactive nuclear wastes have accumulated on “the Cumbrian Mud Patch, a large offshore mudflat lying parallel to the Cumbrian coast, off Sellafield, which acts as a very efficient sink for particle-reactive radionuclides, such as transuranics.”  Diagenetic reactivity of the plutonium in marine anoxic sediments (Cumbrian mud patch – eastern Irish Sea) May 2005 Radioprotection 40 DOI: 10.1051/radiopro:2005s1-079   12.19 Institut national de l’environnement industriel et des risques

Our questions are: 

Does Sellafield accept responsibility for the decades of radioactive wastes which have settled on the Cumbrian Mud Patch?

If not, then who does and who would be responsible for resuspension of these radioactive wastes into the sea and ultimately to the shores of Cumbria?
The Council?   West Cumbria Mining?  Radioactive Waste Management?  Nuclear Decommissioning Authority?  No-one???
Given that WCM will carry out mass void removal and have already drilled ‘exploratory’ boreholes through named faults near the Sellafield plant – The Rachel Fault and the Nethertown Fault – and plan to abstract unknown quantities of fresh water from the Byerstead Fault…..

Who would be responsible for seismic damage resulting in a nuclear accident  at Sellafield ?

The Council?   West Cumbria Mining?  Radioactive Waste Management?  Nuclear Decommissioning Authority?  No-one???

Many thanks once again for voicing your strong opposition to the coal mine and I hope that you can find the answers to the above questions

yours sincerely

Marianne Birkby
Radiation Free Lakeland on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

Further Notes:

There have been many peer reviewed and independent reports indicating that subsidence/disturbance of the Irish Sea bed will resuspend radioactive wastes into the sea.  It takes just 4 years for radioactive wastes from Sellafield’s discharge pipeline to reach the Arctic. Far less time to reach our own coasts. The New Scientist has reported that Sellafield “reprocessing plant has released 40 000 billion becquerels of caesium-137. “So far, about 15 000 billion becquerels have reached the Arctic. This is between two and three times more than the contamination from Chernobyl, which is reaching the Arctic via the Baltic and North Seas.”  https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg15420811-400-sellafield-leaves-its-mark-on-the-frozen-north/

Our own report to the Council from marine expert Tim Deere-Jones highlights the irreparable damage that would be done to people and planet from seismic and subsidence impacts due to massive void removal from under the Irish Sea near Sellafield and directly under the Cumbrian Mud Patch.

The full report can be accessed here: https://keepcumbriancoalinthehole.wordpress.com/2020/06/11/briefing-paper-radiological-implications-of-potential-seabed-subsidence-seismicity-fault-re-activation-beneath-the-cumbrian-mud-patch-induced-by-mass-removal/

CUMBRIA COUNTY COUNCIL CONDITIONS ON WCM’s PLANNING APPLICATION RELATING TO:

SEISMICITY AND SUBSIDENCE 

nb WCM would ‘self-monitor’

 42 Phasing and Management for Paste Placement

 Prior to the commencement of Construction Works, a phasing and management plan for the placement of paste in the mining voids shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Mineral Planning Authority. The plan shall include details of the phasing of proposed filling activities, the volumes of paste to be transferred to the voids, the location and depth of the voids to be filled, an assessment of any risks associated with the transfer of paste to the identified voids and any mitigation measures necessary to ensure the transfer of paste to the voids to manage the risks identified.

 The approved plan shall be implemented and the development shall be undertaken in accordance with the approved details.

 Reason: To ensure the proposed development does not pose an unacceptable risk of pollution to controlled waters and to minimise subsidence in accordance with policies DC13 and DC20 of the Cumbria Minerals and Waste Local Plan.

 66.Seismic Activity – Monitoring

 No mineral working shall take place until a Seismic Activity Monitoring Scheme (SAMS) for onshore mining has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Mineral Planning Authority. The scheme shall include the following:

a) the methodology for monitoring seismic activity. This shall identify the potential receptors which will be the subject of monitoring, and the equipment to be utilised for monitoring;

b) the location for the installation of the seismic monitoring array to effectively monitor the seismic activity impacts on the receptors identified at (a); and

c) the arrangements including timescales and frequency of reporting the outcome of monitoring to the Mineral Planning Authority.

Once approved, the SAMS shall be fully implemented prior to the commencement of onshore coal mining and shall continue for a period of 6 years after the cessation of onshore coal mining. All monitoring and reporting shall be undertaken in accordance with the approved scheme.

Reason: To ensure that seismic activity events are monitored, investigated and mitigated in accordance with policy DC13 of the Cumbria Minerals and Waste Local Plan

67 Seismic Activity – Investigation

In the event that seismic activity which is attributable to onshore mining activity at any of the receptors identified at condition 66 exceeds a Peak Particle Velocity (PPV) of 6mm/sec the operator shall, as soon as reasonably practicable, carry out an investigation into the reasons for that exceedance. This investigation will confirm whether or not the seismic activity was induced by mining activity and, if so, identify the mining activities taking place, immediately prior to, the time the exceedance was detected. The outcome of that investigation shall be set out in a report and submitted to the Mineral Planning Authority within 7 days of the exceedance for approval in writing by the Mineral Planning Authority.

 Reason: To ensure that seismic activity events are monitored, investigated and mitigated in accordance with policy DC13 of the Cumbria Minerals and Waste Local Plan.

  1. 68 Seismic Activity – Mitigation
  2. Where a seismic activity investigation has been undertaken and reported to the Mineral Planning Authority under condition 67, and where the conclusion of that investigation is that the seismic activity was attributable to onshore mining operations, within 14 days of the receipt by the Mineral Planning Authority of the investigation report, mineral extraction shall cease and a scheme and programme for seismic activity mitigation shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Mineral Planning Authority. The scheme shall:
  1. a)  provide the rationale for the development of the mitigation measures with reference to the outcome of the investigation;
  2. b)  detail the measures to be taken to reduce seismic activity;
  3. c)  provide a programme for the implementation of the mitigation measures derived
    from the investigation report; and
  4. d)  provide for an increase in the frequency of monitoring reporting to assess the efficacy of the mitigation measures which have been put in place.

Once approved the scheme shall be implemented in accordance with the approved programme.

Reason: To ensure that seismic activity events are monitored, investigated and mitigated in accordance with policy DC13 of the Cumbria Minerals and Waste Local Plan.

69 Subsidence – Monitoring

No working of minerals shall take place until a subsidence monitoring scheme has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Mineral Planning Authority. The monitoring scheme shall provide for monitoring the potential effects of subsidence on sensitive receptors. The scheme shall include the following:

a)  The methodology for subsidence monitoring including establishing the maximum zone of influence of onshore mining by projecting from the outward edge of extraction a line outwards and upwards from the relevant seam at 35o from a line perpendicular to that seam so as to intersect the surface, the methods for recording existing ground levels, method for monitoring changes in ground levels, equipment to be utilised and duration of monitoring following the cessation of onshore mining;

b)  The subsidence monitoring locations and the rationale for the number of monitoring points and the locations selected;

c)  The frequency of subsidence monitoring, and the rationale for the frequency selected;

d)  The arrangements for reporting the outcome of subsidence monitoring to the Mineral Planning Authority which routinely shall be no less than annually;

e)  The method for the derivation of trigger subsidence levels at sensitive receptors which would represent a subsidence event; and

f)  Proposals for increasing the frequency of subsidence monitoring and for the

reporting of that increased frequency of monitoring to the Mineral Planning Authority in the event that a subsidence event occurs.

Surface subsidence monitoring and reporting shall be undertaken in accordance with the approved monitoring and reporting scheme.

Reason: To ensure that subsidence is monitored, investigated and mitigated in accordance with policy DC13 of the Cumbria Minerals and Waste Local Plan.

70 Subsidence – Investigation and reporting

In the event that a subsidence event occurs, the zone of influence of the sensitive receptor shall be established by projecting downward and inward at an angle of 35o to the depth of seam being worked. Coal production within the zone of influence of the sensitive receptor shall be suspended until a subsidence investigation has been completed. The subsidence investigation shall determine the reason(s) for the subsidence event. The investigation shall review the mining activities taking place prior to the subsidence event being detected and determine which of these activities led to the subsidence event occurring. The findings of the investigation shall be set out in a subsidence investigation report which shall also identify the mitigation measures and a programme to be adopted to prevent a reoccurrence of a subsidence event. Where a subsidence investigation report has been concluded it shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Mineral Planning Authority. Any mitigation measures shall be carried out in accordance with the Mineral Planning Authority’s written approval and the approved programme.

Reason: To ensure that subsidence is monitored, investigated and mitigated in accordance with policy DC13 of the Cumbria Minerals and Waste Local Plan.

Subsidence – Mitigation

  1. Coal mining shall only recommence within the zone of influence of the sensitive receptor which was the subject of the subsidence event under condition 70 after the Mineral Planning Authority provide written notification to confirm approval of the investigation report and that the proposed mitigation measures are acceptable. Coal mining within the zone of influence of the sensitive receptor which was the subject of the subsidence event shall thereafter only take place in accordance with the mitigation measures approved within the subsidence investigation report.
    Reason: To ensure that subsidence is monitored, investigated and mitigated in accordance with policy DC13 of the Cumbria Minerals and Waste Local Plan.
     
     

The Moment

This is the moment that Cumbria County Council approve the Coal Mine (again) – not unanimous this time – the Chair and the Vice Chair vote against along with another councillor.

The phrase “banality of evil” comes to mind.

There were powerful testimonies from members of the public and experts. I was barred from speaking and from delivering the petition (the petition was included in the speeches by Sam Moisha who spoke powerfully on nuclear risks). Due to a tech hitch I was an hour late getting my submission in (having registered to speak months ago) – the council used their ‘discretion’ to disallow my voice on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole (despite others handing in submissions even later and being allowed to speak).

There were confident testimonies from those in favour including the Mayor of Copeland Mike Starkie who said he was proud to support the development and he reiterated the strong support from Conservative MPs and Sellafield. The CEO of the development Mark Kirkbride spoke angrily (he protests too much?) saying that the development has NO LINK TO NUCLEAR WASTE ( he did not explain his role at Radioactive Waste Management) but provided no assurances about the acknowledged subsidence issues of the Cumbrian Mud Patch or proximity to Sellafield and seismicity. There were powerful speeches from members of the public and experts opposing the development. The presentations included climate damage, new steel making processes, proximity to Sellafield and subsidence of the radioactive Cumbrian Mud Patch . Given the excellent presentations you would have expected a vigorous debate from councillors. Not so. The first councillor to speak was Brenda Grey (LibDem) who said scientists were not to be trusted and that if we were ever on a new war footing then steel would be needed. Councillor Grey followed this up by proposing the motion to approve the decision subject to the 101 conditions. There was no reminder from the Chair or Officers that the Secretary of State has applied a holding condition on the development. The holding condition tells the Council that they could refuse the decision but not approve it – only that they could be “minded to approve” subject to the Secretary of States decision. So they could refuse but not approve!

The second speaker was Councillor Anthony Markley who spoke of the need for jobs, industrial development and his pride at being part of this new development’s future. He then seconded the motion to approve the first deep coal mine in 30 years. Councillor Markley had said pretty much the same about the plan for the high level wastes geological nuclear dump under Silloth – and then changed his mind saying he was listening to his constituents regarding health and safety. Concern for the health and safety of his constituents and their future was not in evidence in this instance.

The three councillors who voted against the plan but did not speak powerfully against it – insisting that the issue was “finely balanced” and “difficult” were the Chair Geoff Cook, the Vice Chair Alan McGuckin and Councillor Hilary Carrick. There were two abstentions and one who could not vote (tech problems) which left 12 councillors voting for the plan.

The full reports from the council can be viewed here https://councilportal.cumbria.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=124&MId=10597&Ver=4

The full roll call of shame is below

Geoffrey David (Geoff) CookChairExpected
Alan McGuckinVice-ChairExpected
Roger Kenneth BinghamCommittee MemberExpected
Joseph (Alan) BownessCommittee MemberExpected
Hilary CarrickCommittee MemberExpected
Frank CassidyCommittee MemberExpected
Nicholas Charles (Nick) CottonCommittee MemberExpected
Brenda GrayCommittee MemberExpected
Des EnglishCommittee MemberExpected
Kevin Robert HamiltonCommittee MemberExpected
Keith Haigh HitchenCommittee MemberExpected
Joseph Simon (Joe) HollidayCommittee MemberExpected
Anthony James (Tony) MarkleyCommittee MemberExpected
William (Bill) McEwanCommittee MemberExpected
Frank Irving MorganCommittee MemberExpected
Paul TurnerCommittee MemberExpected
Doug WilsonCommittee MemberExpected
Melvyn Henry (Mel) WorthCommittee MemberExpected
Svetlana BainbridgeOfficerExpected
Mark BrennandOfficerExpected
Philippa ChristieOfficerExpected
Richard CryerOfficerExpected
Jackie CurrieOfficerExpected
Geoff FewkesCouncil StaffExpected
Paul HagginOfficerExpected
David HughesOfficerExpected
Louise MavingOfficerExpected
Edward PageOfficerExpected
Jayne PetersenOfficerExpected
Andy SimsOfficerExpected
Jason WeatherillOfficerExpected
Alison NuttallOfficerExpected
Nicola HarrisonSecretaryExpected

The Press has focussed on climate campaigners and the climate damage rather than the proximity to Sellafield and the resuspension of the Cumbrian Mud Patch. KCCH have sent countless press releases out about the nuclear issues but as a BBC reporter said to me “we are’nt interested in the nuclear side”.

I did manage to include proximity to Sellafield in this interview with RT (how ironic as New Century Media the PR company behind West Cumbria Mining also is the PR company for Rosatom – the Russian state nuclear department)

Interview with Marianne Birkby – Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole
Interview with Councillor Tony Markley who voted for the first deep coal mine in 30 years

Cumbria County Council Approves Coal Mine – Again!

After hearing testimony from so many experts and locals opposing the plan from reasons ranging from the loss of ancient woodland, heritage, climate and nuclear impacts – the council have once again approved the plan – with 101 conditions.

This time the Chair and the Vice-Chair voted against the plan the final vote was 12 for – 3 against and 3 abstentions.

Shocking.

There is however a ‘holding notice’ on this decision until the Secretary of State decides whether or not to call the decision in for a public inquiry