Hunger Pangs

Wastwater Chronicles

Climate Campaigners congratulate Hunger Striking Teenagers

“Blood ell, should be telling them there are other ways”

October 2020

Council votes Yes to Mine – not quite unanimous this time

February 2021

Coal Mine U- Turn- Council to Vote Again

“This time they may say NO!”

NEWS – 11th March

Government to take decision out of local hands – Public Inquiry – Final Decision to be taken by Secretary of State

Public Inquiry Terms of Reference:

NO consideration of Earthquakes or Nuclear Impacts.

Climate Impacts to be considered.

World News

New York Times August 26th 2021 -Friends of the Earth and Friends of the Lake District call out Climate Impacts

……nuclear cloak of invisibility

BBC – Reuters News

Coal mine. climate. jobs. steel. climate .climate. climate climate

Meanwhile – under the radar of media and NGOS – the CEO of the coal mine gives ADVICE to Government on : “How much…

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“Risks are Manageable”

Wastwater Chronicles

24th September 2020

Council publish their report into new coal mine plan and say’s “risks are manageable.”

What!!! – so they’ve brushed aside evidence on nuclear impacts by using comments from climate focussed campaigners, that would be “more concerned if it was coal gasification” – thats insane. Deep mass void removal causes more geologic damage than anything – even fracking. And the council are going with the 2049 date (instead of 2070) suggested by the lily-livered NGOs who want to seem pragmatic instead of saying NO

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BBC say: “We are not interested in the Nuclear aspects of the Coal mine..”

Wastwater Chronicles

June 2020

“Dear Friends, thanks to our continued challenges, the Developers of the first deep coal mine in decades have put forward a new plan. They propose to make the lower quality “middlings coal” previously called a “by product” into coking coal. Please write and object BEFORE 15th June also ask to speak at the planning meeting on July 8th 2020″

Right, will send that off to folk.

Sheeh climate campaigners have asked the developer to reduce the life span of the mine from 2070 to 2049 – ffs Just Say No

phone call to BBC

Hello, yes the subsidence off the Cumbrian Mud Patch would cause radioactive waste on the seabed to be churned up and dumped back on the beaches…..

BBC: “We are not interested in nuclear aspects of the coal mine. Our audience doesn’t care how close the mine is to Sellafield.”

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Coal Boss CEO’s Work for the GDF – Advice on Investigations and Costings Veiled in Secrecy

RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

Coal Boss is Advising on Investigation Techniques for the Nuclear Dump – Including Seismic Blasting and Deep Borehole Investigations. Please Sign the Petition to Remove the Coal Boss as Government Nuclear Dump Advisor

Since 2017 Radiation Free Lakeland have been highlighting the links between the coal mine and the nuclear dump aka Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).

Back then we did not know that the Coal Boss, Mark Kirkbride was to be appointed in 2019 as key advisor to the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management. This is the authority that gives advice both upwards to Government and downwards to Nuclear Waste Services and Radioactive Waste Management Ltd. CoRWM is appointed by the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Most people cannot quite believe that the CEO of the first deep coal mine in over 30 years is also advising government on the controversial and hugely experimental nuclear dump plans. People…

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Mass Void Removal Under Irish Sea

More relevant than ever given that the coal mine boss is now (incredibly) advising on the even bigger mass void removal of 25km square and 1000m deep for a sub-sea nuclear dump right next to his coal mine

Wastwater Chronicles

A report commissioned by Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole and written by Marine Pollution expert

Tim Deere-Jones says…

“Any seabed subsidence in the West Cumbria Mining designated subsea mining zone would generate

re-suspension of Cumbrian Mud Patch heavily radioactive seabed sediments…such an event would

generate elevated doses of man-made radioactivity to coastal zone populations.”

………

Sheesh! and all the big Environment Groups say nowt about that..

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Chair of Conservative Party in NW Supports Government Appointment of Coal Boss to Nuclear Dump Plan

RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

Following Radiation Free Lakeland’s call (once again) for the Coal Boss to be sacked from his role as “invaluable” Government advisor on the deep Nuclear dump plans, the Chair of the Conservative Party in the NW, Chris Whiteside has viciously compared Radiation Free Lakeland to “nasty little” online trolls.

The concerns about cronyism are legitimate given the fact that government are due to make a decison on Mark Kirkbride’s coal mine and if the Chair of the Conservative Party in the NW cannot see that then we are in a dark place indeed. Mark Kirkbride is not as Chris Whiteside suggests “one of a large number of people in a government department” even that should raise eyebrows. But no – its far worse than that. The coal mine boss is the person Government are relying on to provide advice on for example investigation techniques (seismic testing, boreholes etc), Costings, Construction…

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An Open Letter to Michael Gove MP on the Cumbrian Coal Mine

Dear Michael Gove MP,

It was baffling to see that in amongst all the resignations from Boris Johnson’s Cabinet there was only one sacking.  The sacking of yourself, Communities Secretary of State, due to give a verdict on the Cumbria Coal Mine on 7th July, the very next day. 

Mainstream NGOs assume that your decision on the Cumbria Coal Mine was to be an approval and see your sacking as an opportunity to now lobby Greg Clark MP who has taken over your role as Communities Secretary.  

As the first group to oppose the coal mine back in 2017  we see it in an entirely different light given your achievements while Environment Secretary.  Under your leadership was the creation of the Marine Conservation Zones.  MCZ’s  are a landmark in a vision aiming to protect the oceans.  The Irish Sea Marine Conservation Zone includes the Irish Sea area of the proposed West Cumbria Coal Mine.   Should the coal mine be approved then two decades of sub-sea coal transports  from the mine area to the onshore processing area would be necessary.   2.78 million tonnes of coal a year until 2049 would be trundled through corridors beneath the Marine Conservation Zone causing likely subsidence (and resuspension into the water column)  of the Sellafield contaminated Cumbria Mud Patch lying on the sea bed.  West Cumbria Mining say this would be mitigated by concrete backfill…in over 20 years time – when the coal would be mined out and the Marine Conservation Zone subsea corridors no longer needed.

We believe you were going to turn down the subsidence and earthquake inducing coal mine for these and other overwhelming reasons including climate, proximity to Sellafield and the lack of “need” for the product of lower quality coking coal.

Chris McDonald, chief executive of the Materials Processing Institute and chair of the UK Metals Council said, “I think it’s important to be clear that even if this mine opened tomorrow, it would not displace a single tonne of Russian coking coal from the UK – and I can say that with confidence”.  Coal Action Network have pointed out that “Tata Steel already does not use any Russian coking coal. British Steel have said they can’t use the coal from Cumbria because the sulphur levels are too high. So there’s no possibility that a new mine can meaningfully displace any Russian imports”.

Members of the public in Cumbria have been writing to you recently to oppose not only the coal mine but also the seismic testing for the UK’s vision of a Geological Disposal Facility for heat generating nuclear wastes.  

The two developments would appear unconnected but they are linked by proximity and by crony capitalism.  The CEO of the coal mine, Mark Kirkbride was appointed to the governmental role of key advisor on the deep nuclear dump in 2019.  The area in the frame is adjacent to the coal mine licence area No 2 (the area with least known coal resource and nearest to Sellafield).

It is clear that the British steel industry neither wants nor needs the Cumbrian coking coal mine, however the nuclear industry  very much does!   The nuclear industry and government nuclear interests need the “invaluable” advice of the CEO of West Cumbria Mining and his former Head of Operations Steve Reece who is now Site Selection Manager for the Geological Disposal Facility for heat generating nuclear wastes.

Mark Kirkbride’s role at the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management includes:

  • “scrutiny and provision of advice to BEIS (Dept of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy) and RWM (Radioactive Waste Management) on activities relating to the continued development of a GDF safety case
  • scrutiny and provision of advice to BEIS and RWM on GDF siting activities, including selection criteria, methods of investigation, and the timescale for carrying out site selection in the three rock types
  • advise on new technologies that could be applicable to the development of a GDF including those in the mining and construction sectors and their potential impacts on a GDF programme”

Along with the above advice, costings to Government have been produced for the Delivery of a GDF (Nuclear Dump) including advice on enormous Tunnel Boring Machines from the same company (Herrenknecht) which would supply the coal mine.  This is a direct conflict of interest.

Mark Kirkbride’s role at CoRWM to advise on “methods of investigation” means that he has clearly advised on the seismic blasting due to take place in August in the Irish Sea to “investigate” the complex geology for a deep nuclear dump.  

Nearly 50,000 people have signed a petition opposing hugely damaging seismic blasting (as advised by Mark Kirkbride/CoRWM).

A recent Freedom of Information question by a Drigg resident reveals that the information garnered  from the seismic survey, the search area of which overlaps the coal mine,  would be used by commercial interests such as West Cumbria Mining. This is blatant cronyism!

Former Business secretary Greg Clark MP now steps into your shoes as Communities Secretary and will now make the decision on Mark Kirkbride’s coal mine.   We are appalled at this appointment which continues the crony capitalism regarding this coal mine.  

When Greg Clark was Secretary of State for Business (BEIS) he allowed Mark KIrkbride privileged access to BEIS with several meetings from at least  2017 when, it is now clear, that Mark Kirkbride and his West Cumbria Mining team were being lined up to assist Government in the policy to Deliver a Geological Disposal Facility.  What other “small business” (as WCM call themselves for avoidance of full tax returns)  in Cumbria is afforded high level access to BEIS ? 

To reiterate:

Steve Reece former Head of Operations at West Cumbria Mining is now Government Appointed Site Selection Manager for the UK’s delivery of a deep nuclear dump (GDF).

CEO of WCM, Mark Kirkbride is “invaluable advisor” to the Governmental  Committee on Radioactive Waste Management providing advice on: safety, construction, methods of investigation and costings.  

We have no confidence that Greg Clark the Secretary of State for BEIS who had meetings with West Cumbria Mining  during his time in office will make an unbiased decision on the coal mine given BEIS’ long standing support for the coal mine, and the BEIS appointments of WCM executives to leading roles in Delivery of a GDF.  

 We would be very interested indeed to have sight of your own decision – now null and void – with what must rank amongst the most cynically timed sackings in the history of UK government.

Thanks again for creating the Marine Conservation Zones.

We truly believe that you tried to ensure the MCZ of the Irish Sea did what it said on the tin and protected the Irish Sea from a sub-sea coal mine linked in proximity and cronyism to the delivery of a Geological Disposal Facility for heat generating nuclear wastes.  

Yours sincerely

Marianne Birkby

Radiation Free Lakeland

“The UK is already leading the rest of the world by protecting over 30% of our ocean – but we know there is more to do.

Establishing this latest round of Marine Conservation Zones in this Year of Green Action is another big step in the right direction, extending our blue belt to safeguard precious and diverse sea life for future generations to come.” Michael Gove MP

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
In office
11 June 2017 – 24 July 2019

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/englands-marine-life-protected-with-blue-belt-expansion

This Tues 12th July – Demo Outside Copeland Centre from 9am – Council Exec will discuss Petition to Stop Seismic Blasting..

RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

On Tues 12th July the Executive of Copeland Borough Council will discuss the Petition of over 48,000 signatures to Save the Whale and the Snail and stop Nuclear Waste Services Seismic Blasting of the Irish Sea. Join us in a Demo outside the Copeland Centre, Catherine St, Whitehaven CA28 7SJ from 9am

We have the opportunity to speak to the Council executive for 5 minutes about the petition. There will be a demonstration ahead of the meeting from 9am – the more visible opposition to this terrible plan the better.

The seismic blasting would take place 24/7 they previously said 3-4 weeks – Nuclear Waste Services are now telling concerned Parish councils it would “just” be one week (!?) This would be the start of the onslaught on the Irish Sea in order to deliver a deep hot nuclear dump.

Bring Banners – Bring Music – Bring Yourselves and lets…

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Michael Gove, Communities Secretary sacked day before announcment due on his decision on the coal mine. Just a coincidence…

What does this mean? Is it solely because of rumblings against Boris’ leadership? Maybe – BUT – Maybe there are other drivers that we, the public are not privvy to, Certainly Michael Gove will have been recieving emails urging him to oppose the coal mine – not only on climate grounds but because the mine would impact on the Marine Conservation Zone which he was instrumental in legislating for, Also there are increasingly voices raising the issue of the dark heart of cronyism regarding the coal mine and the nuclear dump.

Letter sent July 2nd to Tim Farron MP

Dear Tim,

Two controversial developments about to disastrously impact the Irish Sea are due to be decided upon any day by Government.

One is the seismic blasting of the Irish Sea by Nuclear Waste Services to ‘test the rocks’ for a deep dump for heat generating nuclear wastes and the other is the Cumbrian Coal mine adjacent to and overlapping the seismic blasting plan.   

Mainstream press and information coming from mainstream NGOs have been silent as to why these two issues are connected via crony capitalism.  

Crony capitalism, an economic system in which commercial enterprises thrive not as a result of free enterprise, but rather as a return on money amassed through collusion between a business class and the political class.   

There is no better example of this than the appointment of the CEO of West Cumbria Mining, Mark Kirkbride to the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management.

It is outrageous that CoRWM appointed an advisor in 2019 with commercial interests in the same area of the Irish Sea as is being actively considered as a Geological Disposal Facility for heat generating nuclear wastes.  

This area of the Irish Sea includes Marine Conservation Zones and other protections.  

Kirkbride’s “invaluable” role in that Committee involves: 

  • “scrutiny and provision of advice to BEIS (Dept of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy) and RWM (Radioactive Waste Management) on activities relating to the continued development of a GDF safety case
  • scrutiny and provision of advice to BEIS and RWM on GDF siting activities, including selection criteria, methods of investigation, and the timescale for carrying out site selection in the three rock types
  • advise on new technologies that could be applicable to the development of a GDF including those in the mining and construction sectors and their potential impacts on a GDF programme”

Mark Kirkbride has recently provided costings to Government for the Delivery of a GDF (Nuclear Dump) including advice on enormous Tunnel Boring Machines from the same company (Herrenknecht) which would supply his coal mine.  This is a direct conflict of interest.

Mark Kirkbride’s role at CoRWM to advise on “methods of investigation” means that he has clearly advised on the seismic blasting due to take place in July/August in the Irish Sea to “investigate” the complex geology for a deep nuclear dump.  

The enormous area of the Irish Sea in which the hugely damaging seismic testing would take place is adjacent to and overlapping Kirkbride’s proposed coal mine.  A recent Freedom of Information question by a Drigg resident reveals that the information garnered  from the seismic survey would be used by commercial interests such as West Cumbria Mining.

We ask that you and your colleagues in Parliament who cherish due democratic process make representation asking that Mark KIrkbride’s appointment to CoRWM is terminated before any decision is made on the Coal Mine by the Secretary of State.  

It is clear that the Government cannot take an objective decision on the Cumbrian coal mine while the CEO of said coal mine is employed by Government as an “invaluable” advisor to Delivery of a Geological Disposal Facility (Nuclear Dump).  

That advice has included seismic testing of the Irish Sea due to start any day.  Over 45,000 people have signed a petition urging a halt to the seismic survey which has circumvented the normal regulatory process by calling itself “scientific research” when it is a commercial venture by a limited company, Radioactive Waste Management for which the CEO of the Cumbria Coal Mine, Mark Kirbride is “invaluable” advisor.  The seismic survey would irreparably damage our “protected” marine life in the Irish Sea.

https://www.change.org/p/save-the-whale-and-the-snail-stop-nuclear-waste-services-blasting-the-irish-sea

The Cumbrian Coal Mine and the Nuclear Dump Plan of which the seismic survey would be the first damaging salvo are hand in crony hand while Mark Kirkbride remains as Advisor to Government.  

This is the dark heart of Capitalist Cronyism and it must stop.

Any approval of the coal mine and the seismic survey to facilitate a subsea nuclear dump would be morally and most probably legally indefensible while the CEO of West Cumbria Mining is “invaluable” advisor to the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management. 

with best wishes

Marianne Birkby

Radiation Free Lakeland

PETITION OPPOSING SEISMIC BLASTING


Mark Kirkbride – CoRWM  https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/committee-on-radioactive-waste-management/about/our-governance

Seismic Testing for a Nuclear Dump beneath the Irish Sea – Marine Life At Risk

https://www.euronews.com/green/2022/06/22/the-uk-is-searching-the-sea-for-a-nuclear-dump-site-and-the-risks-to-marine-life-are-huge

19th May 2021 Reply from Sir Nigel Thrift Chair of CoRWM to Public Concern about Conflict of Interest – Mark Kirkbride’s appointment as ‘Invaluable” Government advisor 

“Agenda Item 6. Questions from the public 

40.Terry Bennett asked why CoRWM has not announced a declaration of interest for Mark Kirkbride, Chair of CoRWM Subgroup 2 and CEO of West Cumbria Mining (Holdings) Ltd. Marianne Birkby also asked why a declaration of interest for Mark Kirkbride was not announced, and whether boreholes drilled by West Cumbria Mining Ltd would be used to facilitate a GDF. NT replied: “There would only be a conflict of interest if there was a link between the Cumbria mine and a possible GDF. There is none – CoRWM’s remit is radioactive waste not coal – which is why there is no declaration of any conflict. Mark was appointed in 2019 because of his extensive knowledge of underground construction, knowledge which has already proved invaluable. The fact is that there is genuine disagreement on this issue. We cannot take it any farther, therefore.” 

Click to access 3740_19th_May_2021_Open_Plenary_Minutes_final.pdf

Both Prof Terry Bennett and Marianne Birkby have since been excluded from subsequent CoRWM “Open” meeetings.   See correspondence below and my complaint to BEIS has been copied to you today.”