Alok Sharma Had It Within His Remit To Put a Block on Coal Authority Licences – Now He is Head of COP26

The press are full of the supposed feud between Alok Sharma former Secretary of State for Business and Industry (BEIS) and Robert Jenrick former Communities Secretary who refused to call in Cumbria County Council’s yes vote.

This seems like a faux ‘argument’ to big up Alok Sharma’s climate credentials as head of COP26. As BEIS Secretary of State Alok Sharma had it within his remit to put a block on the issuing of any new Coal Authority licences for this mine – the existing conditional licences were for eight years that was in 2013/4 they are due for renewal. Other unreported issues in the mainstream press include the appointment by BEIS of the CEO of the Cumbrian coal mine to the government committee (CORWM) which is pushing for the highly controversial, dangerous and unwanted deep nuclear dump. The so called Geological Disposal Facility would be adjacent to the deep coal mine. The coal mine would also be directly underneath decades of Sellafield radioactive wastes on the Irish Sea bed. It Stinks and its not just the fragrance of fossil fuel as the public are repeatedly being led to believe in press reports like the above.

The public is being kept in a fog of high level omissions with regards this coal mine.

Tim Farron MP Urges Govnt to Have “Courage” and See That the Mine Does Not Go Ahead. Rubber Stamping Coal Authority Licences Would be Politically Unacceptable.

Image from Radiation Free Lakeland: one of West Cumbria Mining’s exploratory drilling rigs off St Bees in 2017- conditional Coal Authority Licenses were issued 8 years ago over the heads of the public and the local council.  One of the rigs accidently hit a methane gas pocket the Irish Coast Guard were called out.

Thank you to everyone who has already written to the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng MP urging the Government NOT TO ISSUE COAL AUTHORITY LICENCES.

There is a letter below from Tim Farron MP and the more letters from members of the public that ask for a full public consultation on the issuing of Coal Authority licenses for West Cumbria Mining the better chance we have of showing how politically unacceptable it would be for BEIS (who are responsible for the Coal Authority) to rubber stamp this dangerous plan over the heads of the public (Govnt having said it is a “local decision” they want their cake and eat it)

Our press release is below for inspiration on writing your own letters to BEIS and Kwasi Kwarteng MP  

Contact Details for BEIS and Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng:

phone – 020 7219 5777

email – kwasi.kwarteng.mp@parliament.uk

Twitter- @KwasiKwarteng

Twitter – @beisgovuk

PRESS NOTICE 22.1.21

Government Urged to Have “Courage” and Allow “Full” Public Scrutiny of Any New Coal Mine Licences for the First Deep Coal Mine in 30 Years

Tim Farron MP has written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy saying “I am pleased to confirm that I have written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy to urge that the renewal of the coal licence for the West Cumbria Mine be put to a full consultation. I have also challenged him to have the courage, where his cabinet colleague has not, and see to it that the mine does not go ahead”

This follows revelations by nuclear safety group Radiation Free Lakeland on the imminent lapse of West Cumbria Mining’s licenses from the Coal Authority.  The group say that “It is our understanding that four of the five conditional licenses issued to West Cumbria Mining reach the end of their lives this weekend and that the issuing of new licenses by the Coal Authority would be a matter of great political significance at this time of change in appointments; not least the Secretary of State for BEIS and the President of the United States”.

The group who have run a Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole campaign since 2017, which has seen the plan repeatedly delayed, have urged their supporters to contact the newly appointed Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP. An open letter to the Secretary of State for BEIS says:

“The developers West Cumbria Mining hold a series of Coal Authority licences which were issued undemocratically over the heads of the public and local councillors and collectively cover an area of approximately 200 km2 off the coast at Whitehaven along with a far smaller area onshore. The UK Dept for Business Energy and Industry Strategy have argued this week that the coal mine is a local decision.  However in the awarding of the previous and any new Coal Authority licenses to the developers (West Cumbria Mining) the buck stops with BEIS. Accountability of the Coal Authority lies directly with the BEIS. The conditional licenses awarded 8 years ago are due to run out any day”.

Nuclear safety campaigners were the first to oppose this mine back in 2017. 

BEIS is directly responsible for the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management . CoRWM have appointed the CEO of the coal mine development, Mark Kirkbride to their committee. This committee was set up to advise BEIS (and Radioactive Waste Management) on “site selection” of a potential Geological Disposal Facility for Radioactive Wastes. The Coal Mine is adjacent to the area under the Irish Sea bed which is ‘in the frame’ for the subsea geological disposal of heat generating nuclear wastes.

Nuclear safety campaigners have asked the Secretary of State:  “Do the BEIS believe that mining out coal adjacent to the area in the frame as a Geological Disposal Facility will make the rocks more stable? Or that mining directly under the decades of Sellafield’s discharged wastes will make them safer?”

The nuclear safety campaign group are delighted that Tim Farron MP has called for a full consultation on the issuing of Coal Authority licenses for Cumbria.

ENDS 

contact

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, (a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign)

CrowdJustice campaign https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/help-stop-the-cumbrian-coal-mi/

Open Letter to Rt Hon Kwasi Kwateng MP

https://keepcumbriancoalinthehole.wordpress.com/2021/01/22/urgent-the-buck-stops-with-beis-no-license-to-mine-coal/

Mine Delayed Repeatedly https://www.leighday.co.uk/News/Press-releases-2020/May-2020/Vindication-for-campaigner-fighting-plan-for-deep


Email 22nd January 2020

LETTER FROM TIM FARRON MP 

Re: West Cumbria Mining’s Coal Licenses run out at end of January! (Case Ref: TF126325)

Dear Marianne

Thank you very much for your recent email with regard to the renewal of coal licences for the West Cumbria Mine.

As you are aware, I am extraordinarily critical of and disappointed by the Government’s decision to approve the mine.  A new mine is a mistake and a massive backwards step into the 19th century.  The Business Secretary himself has admitted that the new mine contradicts the Government’s environmental policies.  I would be more than happy to raise this matter on your behalf.

I am pleased to confirm that I have written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy to urge that the renewal of the coal licence for the West Cumbria Mine be put to a full consultation. I have also challenged him to have the courage, where his cabinet colleague has not, and see to it that the mine does not go ahead.  I will write again, when I have received the response.

With best wishes

Yours sincerely

TIM FARRON MP

URGENT! The Buck Stops With BEIS – NO LICENSE TO MINE COAL!

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng – the buck stops with
BEIS in the issuing of Coal Authority LIcences for
West Cumbria Mining

URGENT ACTION

The conditional Coal Authority Licenses for the diabolic plan to mine 3 million tonnes of coal a year under the Irish Sea and five miles from Sellafield are due to run out any day, the press have been told (repeatedly) but so far only a local online news site has reported on this (Many Thanks to the Cumberland Echo!) .

Please write urgently to the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Please use this template below as inspiration to write your own letter – it doesn’t have to be long the main message is to say that the buck stops with BEIS and they should not issue Coal Authority licenses – the nuclear and climate consequences of this coal mine would cause irreversible damage to life on planet earth.

Contact Details for BEIS and Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng:

phone – 020 7219 5777

email – kwasi.kwarteng.mp@parliament.uk

Twitter- @KwasiKwarteng

Twitter – @beisgovuk

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP. Minister of State for Business, Energy and Strategy

Dear Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

WEST CUMBRIA MINING: WOODHOUSE COLLIERY

Congratulations on your appointment as Minister of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

On your watch the “tension” has been acknowledged between the government washing its hands (Pontius Pilate like) of the Cumbria coal mine saying its a local decision and the UK government’s commitment to net zero carbon and chairing of the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow in November https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/cumbria-coal-mine-kwasi-kwarteng-b1789458.html

The developers West Cumbria Mining hold a series of Coal Authority licences which were issued undemocratically over the heads of the public and local councillors and collectively cover an area of approximately 200 km2 off the coast at Whitehaven along with a far smaller area onshore.

The UK Dept for Business Energy and Industry Strategy argue that the coal mine is a local decision but in the awarding of the previous and any new Coal Authority licenses to the developers (West Cumbria Mining) the buck stops with BEIS. Accountability of the Coal Authority lies directly with the BEIS. The conditional licenses awarded 8 years ago are due to run out any day.

There is another tension apart from that of the climate. Nuclear safety campaigners (Radiation Free Lakeland) were the first to oppose this mine back in 2017. BEIS is directly responsible for the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management . CoRWM have appointed the CEO of the coal mine development, Mark Kirkbride to their committee. This committee was set up to advise BEIS (and Radioactive Waste Management) on “site selection” of a potential Geological Disposal Facility for Radioactive Wastes. The Coal Mine is adjacent to the area under the Irish Sea bed which is ‘in the frame’ for the subsea geological disposal of heat generating nuclear wastes.

Do BEIS believe that mining out coal adjacent to the area in the frame as a Geological Disposal Facility will make the rocks more stable?

Or that mining directly under the decades of Sellafield’s discharged wastes will make them safer?

Nuclear wastes discharged from Sellafield for 70 years would be directly above the coal mine.

They are in the silts known as the Cumbrian Mud Patch, nuclear and chemical wastes of every type including plutonium.

The tension is palpable.

The UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities along with local nuclear safety campaigners Radiation Free Lakeland, have already urged Cumbria County Council to reconsider the impact of the expected subsidence of the Irish Sea bed. Resuspension of the decades worth of radioactive wastes from Sellafield which are currently embedded in the silts of the Cumbrian Mud Patch would be disastrous. Nuclear workers are compensated for Radiation Linked Diseases (http://www.csrld.org.uk/), the public which includes children more vulnerable to radiation impacts are not.

The facts are that WCM have designated and identified a sub-sea mining zone of the Irish Sea lying to the west of St Bees Head and extending at least 8kms offshore and southwards to within about 8km of the Sellafield site. The WCM extraction proposals, using continuous mining methods, predict the extraction of approximately 3 million tonnes of coal per year over decades. This extraction rate would eventually generate a huge subterranean void space of approximately 136 million cubic metres (a volume greater than that of Wastwater Lake). Subsidence say WCM is expected. Sellafield’s discharged nuclear wastes are currently (largely) immobilised in the silt. Subsidence would remobilise the nuclear wastes into the water column and back to the coasts of Cumbria and beyond.

The buck stops with the BEIS. If BEIS issue Coal Authority licenses for this Coal Mine the result would be irreversible (known and unknown) nuclear impacts, as well as climate impacts.

Do Not Rubber Stamp Coal Authority Licenses to West Cumbria Mining. At the very least the wider public should have a say on whether licenses should be issued or not.

Yours Sincerely

name

address

COPELAND WORKING GROUP: Burying Heat Generating Nuclear Wastes is “The Right Thing to Do” No it Isn’t!

Copeland “Working Group” along with Allerdale “Working Group” are ostensibly the “local support” for a Geological Disposal Facility in Cumbria. They are enthusiastically going along with the ‘new and improved’ process of steps towards Geological Disposal of Heat Generating Nuclear wastes. The last process was a bit of a “dogs dinner” (said pro nuclear George Monbiot who supports making ever more nuclear wastes by burning plutonium) in that it allowed Cumbria County Council to veto the plan and bring the whole process to a halt. This time the process dumps any semblance of democracy with the County Council now having no “right of veto,” now anyone, anywhere can “express an interest” in “site selection” with a “test of public support” and Geological Disposal has been made a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (ie it can overrule local opposition in the “national interest”).

The stand out statement in the “Virtual Exhibition” from Radioactive Waste Manangement is that Geological Disposal is The Right Thing to Do (RWM are advised by the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management answerable to BEIS and comprising of a dozen or so members including the CEO of West Cumbria Mining, Mark Kirkbride).

In the words of Victor Meldrew “I Don’t Believe It!” Geological Disposal is NOT The Right Thing To Do – Not Now and Maybe Not Ever.

Here is an extract of the Newsletter from Copeland “Working Group” which dropped into my inbox, it is scary in its denial of previous findings and the inconvenient fact that there is no GDF for heat generating nuclear wastes in existence, anywhere! The Right Thing to Do would be to STOP making ever more nuclear wastes but somehow that thought never crosses the minds of those supposed to be thinking clearly about ethics and safety with regards nuclear wastes.

Here it is – read it and get active in opposing the new push to bury nuclear wastes under land and sea.

“Newsletter – Issue 3

January 21, 2021

Happy New Year to you and welcome to the third edition of the Copeland GDF Working Group newsletter.

Today we’ve launched a ‘virtual exhibition’ to bring the subject of geological disposal to life and give you a better understanding of what it’s all about.

During these current uncertain times it’s more important than ever to offer alternative ways for people to access factual information about what a GDF is, in an easy to understand way.

Please find a link to the interactive virtual exhibition here where you will find videos, graphics and information – including a 360-degree tour – to demonstrate how a GDF works, why it’s needed and what it could mean for Copeland.

It provides the opportunity to find out more about the GDF programme, offers a good source of information and it’s very easy to access, even from a mobile phone.

Please come back to us with your views, comments and questions and feel free to share the virtual exhibition link with anyone who may be interested.

Our engagement with people on the potential for consideration of a GDF somewhere in the area of Copeland is important as part of the search to find a suitable site and a willing community to host a GDF for the UK’s higher activity radioactive waste.

Our Working Group has three main tasks – begin to understand community issues, opportunities and questions about GDF; identify a search area or areas within Copeland which could then befurther investigated for potential locations for a GDF, and identify initial members for a Community Partnership that could take that work forward. The Working Group will not identify specific sites or decide on locations, it will merely suggest areas for further consideration by a Community Partnership.

Mark Cullinan, Independent Chair, Copeland Working Group

Community consent is at the heart of the process and a GDF cannot be built unless there’s a suitable site and a willing community.

Under normal circumstances, we’d be going out to speak to people face to face and offering them the opportunity to see an exhibition. We can’t do that right now, so we want to provide an experience that’s as near to that as possible. Please also take a look at our website for information.

And don’t forget that the Working Group and communities have access to a whole series of experts who can provide further detailed information.

If you’re part of a community group, we would like you to get involved in these early conversations so please do get in touch. We can hold ‘virtual’ meetings and provide you with some content for a newsletter or website. Our email address is: gdfinfo-copeland@nda.gov.uk

Of course, those who don’t have access to online channels can access information through our contact centre, telephone 0300 0660 100.

This is undoubtedly the biggest environmental protection project of our lifetime, please let us know your views, ask questions and get involved.

Take a 360-degree virtual tour of a GDF

The virtual exhibition is designed to offer an interactive experience to help people understand geological disposal.

It’s been designed to replicate digitally the experience of visiting a more conventional exhibition with information stands, a 360-degree virtual tour and infographics to get people involved.

To access the exhibition click here and let us know what you think.

An Open Letter to the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng Who is About to Issue Coal Licenses for West Cumbria Mining

https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/4fcb3791-2cf3-4e43-b766-30cb007fb58c

An Open Letter to the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 

Dear Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng 

You said yesterday that there is “a slight tension” between the governmnent washing its hands (Pontius Pilate like) of the Cumbria coal mine saying its a ‘local decision’ and the UK government’s committment to net zero carbon and its chairing of the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow in November.

The UK Dept for Business Energy and Industry Strategy argue that the coal mine is “a local decision” but in the awarding of new Coal Authority licenses to the developers (West Cumbria Mining) the buck stops with BEIS.   Accountability of the Coal Authority lies directly with the BEIS.  The first set of licenses is due to run out on 24th January.

As nuclear safety campaigners who have been opposing this mine since 2019 we are very concerned that the climate aspect of this mine may not be the most disastrous to life on planet earth. BEIS is directly responsible for the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management who have appointed the CEO of the coal mine development, Mark Kirkbride to their Committee who advise BEIS and Radioactive Waste Management on “site selection” of a potential Geological Disposal Facility for Radioactive Wastes.  The Coal Mine is adjacent to the area under the Irish Sea bed which is ‘in the frame’  for the subsea geological disposal of heat generating nuclear wastes.   

Do BEIS believe that mining out coal adjacent to the area they are promoting as a Geological Disposal Facility will make the rocks more stable? Or that mining directly underneath the decades of Sellafield’s discharged wastes will make them safer?

The coal mine would be directly beneath the nuclear wastes discharged from Sellafield over the last 70 odd years.  They are in the silts known as the “Cumbrian Mud Patch.”  The UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities have along with local nuclear safety campaigners Radiation Free Lakeland, urged Cumbria County Council to reconsider the impact of the expected subsidence of the Irish Sea bed and resuspension of the decades worth of radioactive wastes from Sellafield which are currently embedded in the silts of the Cumbrian Mud Patch. WCM have designated and identified a sub-sea mining zone of the Irish Sea lying to the west of St Bees Head and extending at least 8kms offshore and southwards to within about 8km of the Sellafield site. The WCM extraction proposals, using continuous mining methods, predict the extraction of approximately 3 million tonnes of coal per year over a 50 year period. This extraction rate will eventually generate a huge subterranean void space of approximately 136 million cubic metres (a volume greater than that of Wastwater Lake).  Subsidence “is expected” beneath Sellafield’s discharged nuclear wastes currently (largely imobilised in the silt, remobilising the nuclear wastes into the water column and back to land.

Now we urge BEIS NOT TO ISSUE COAL AUTHORITY LICENSES for this Coal Mine which would be largely under the Irish Sea.

yours sincerely

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole (a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

Do Not Rubber Stamp New Coal Authority Licenses for Cumbria!

exploratory boreholes resulting from the Coal Authority''s granting of conditional licenses over the last few years have largely been in the Offshore No 2 area including the one that inadvertently hit a methane gas pocket off St Bees necessitating the call out of the Irish Coast Guard.

West Cumbria Mining’s licenses to exploit/extract coal onland and under the Irish Sea are due to run out any day.  They need new licenses in order to mine both under land and sea!

We have written to Tim Farron MP (see below) asking him to ensure that the Coal Authority Licenses for the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years are not renewed in a clandestine and undemocratic manner over the heads of the public without any scrutiny or consultation.  

We have also written a brief letter to the Coal Authority which you can see below.  Please do write to your own MPs asking them to ensure that the Coal Authority do not rubber stamp new licenses for West Cumbria Mining’s “Woodhouse Colliery”.  

With Many Thanks for all your continued opposition to this dangerously crazy plan.

LETTER TO TIM FARRON MP

Dear Tim,

Thank you for your continued stance against West Cumbria Mining’s plan to extract coal from beneath the Irish Sea.

We note that the original conditional licenses given to West Cumbria Mining by the Coal Authority are due to run out.  

They were issued in : (CA11/UND/0177/N (date of grant 24 Jan 2013), CA11/UND/0184/N (date of grant 24 Jan 13) and CA11/UND/0185/N (date of grant 15 Oct 2014)).

To run for five years and then they were extended for a further 3 years to the maximum the Authority allow for conditional license.

Which means WCM would need to start renewing licences by 24th January.

To issue West Cumbria Mining with new licenses would be a challenging political decision.  The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is accountable to Parliament for the activities and performance of the Coal Authority.  This means that the decision to issue new licenses to West Cumbria Mining could not be anything other than a BEIS, ie a government approved, decision. The Secretary of State’s ‘get out’ of devolving it to Cumbria County Council, Pontius Pilate like, won’t be available to BEIS.

The world has changed since the Coal Authority issued West Cumbria Mining with licenses 8 years ago.   Questions of climate and nuclear safety have been asked about this coal mine.   The mine itself would be adjacent to the area being promoted by BEIS as a possible Geological Disposal Facility under the Irish Sea.  BEIS is responsible for the provision of and management of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management who advise RWM.  The CEO of the coal mine has now been appointed to CoRWM (Nov 2019).  Its hard to imagine the proposed coal mine making the laterally neighbouring rocks for a BEIS/CoRWM/RWM promoted GDF become more stable!!   

These questions of conflicts of interest of governance have not been answered and deserve full public scrutiny.

We urge BEIS and the Coal Authority not to hand out licenses to West Cumbria Mining over the heads of the public.  There should be a well advertised, full public consultation by the Coal Authority over the issuing of new licences to West Cumbria Mining.

Many thanks

Marianne……

LETTER TO THE COAL AUTHORITY

Dear Coal Authority,

We note that the current licenses for West Cumbria Mining are due to run out very soon,

Please could we have confirmation of the dates the licenses are due to be renewed.

Has West Cumbria Mining applied for renewal of these licenses?

(we believe to be : (CA11/UND/0177/N (date of grant 24 Jan 2013), CA11/UND/0184/N (date of grant 24 Jan 13) and CA11/UND/0185/N (date of grant 15 Oct 2014).

All to run for five years and were extended for a further 3 years ?  

We note that exploratory boreholes resulting from the Coal Authority”s granting of conditional licenses over the last few years have largely been in the Offshore No 2 area including the one that inadvertently hit a methane gas pocket off St Bees necessitating the call out of the Irish Coast Guard.  This area is immediately adjacent to the “site selection” area that is under consideration by Radioactive Waste Management/CoRWM for a geological disposal facility.

We request sight of any new applications by West Cumbria Mining for new licenses and also the opportunity to respond to those applications.

Yours sincerely

Marianne …..

on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole (a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign)

Notes:

“As we enter 2021, we can look forward to two events that will help us to shape the global debate. We will host COP26 in Glasgow in November next year, where we will forge a plan and show our friends how we think net zero can be achieved. We will also enjoy the presidency of the G7. Given what has happened in the United States over the last few weeks with the election, there are huge opportunities in the G7 to drive forward this decarbonisation and net zero agenda.”  Kwasi Kwarteng was appointed Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 8 January 2021. This quote is from the parliamentary debate on the Future of Coal.  https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2020-12-03c.489.1

CEO of West Cumbria Mining Mark Kirkbride advises BEIS and RWM “on technical site evaluation criteria and plans for site investigation and characterisation” for a Geological Disposal Facility.  Mark Kirkbride’s “Responsibilities:

  • scrutinise the application of the Site Evaluation and how appropriate it is for specific communities
  • examine RWM’s long-term planning and programme management initiatives. Provide feedback and informal advice by means of a written report”

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

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/the-coal-authority/about

Ministerial responsibility 11. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is accountable to Parliament for the activities and performance of the Authority and it is proposed that any new Minister with responsibility for the Authority will carry out a visit to the Authority within six months of taking up appointment to learn about the role of the Authority and its functions. Typically, we would expect the chair and chief executive to meet with the minister at least annually. 12. Specific responsibilities include:  approving the Authority’s overall strategic objectives and the policy and performance framework within which the Authority operates (as set out in this framework document and associated documents  keeping Parliament informed about the Authority’s performance  approving the amount of grant-in-aid/grant/other funds to be paid to the Authority, and securing Parliamentary approval  carrying out responsibilities specified in the Act including appointments to the board, determining the terms and conditions of board members, consenting to the appointment of the, approval of terms and conditions of staff (Including pay) in accordance with the latest pay guidance  laying of the annual report and accounts before Parliament Framework document April 2019 3 Specific accountabilities and responsibiliti

Health First Priority for Teenagers Opposed to Coal Mine. Hunger Strike is Not the Way – Brave that it is

As we have said before, whilst admiring the passion and commitment of young campaigners we cannot endorse hunger strikes – its a very serious thing to do at any age but in teenagers is really disturbing regards health implications.

Once again we have tried to reach out to the young campaigners and climate groups to ask them not to encourage teenagers to damage their health or risk hospitalisation. Especially as this coal mine has to jump through so many more hurdles – there are lots of ways for young people to get involved in making sure those hurdles are sky high.

The Jogger – Morals and Democracy ?

Below is a Guest Blog from our intrepid Jogger……..

The Jogger!

Hello it’s been a while since my last write up but I have been putting in the kilometres around the streets and harbour side of Whitehaven, adorned with the simple message upon my t-shirt KEEP the COAL in the HOLE

Like yourselves, so disappointed that the government minister did not call in this coal mine.

Did you hear our own Marianne on BBC Wireless Cumbria, Mike Zellers Breakfast Show, Thursday 7th January 2021. Here is a YouTube link for you with photo compilation. 

Copeland Conservative MP Trudy Harrison has something to say about the coal mine but she has some facts quite wrong. Our morals and lack of democracy were criticised by the MP. Have a listen, the interview is featured on the video link above.

Mrs Harrison says Whitehaven coal will make £1.8 Billion for the UK GDP in 1st ten years of production. The UK, a world leader on climate with a 10 point plan Green Industrial Revolution is going to make a heap of money from exporting another fossil fuel. I don’t see how a coal mine is going to make our nation cleaner, greener and more beautiful, certainly not in my back yard anyway. Link below for the Government paper Mrs Harrison mentioned.

www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-ten-point-plan-for-a-green-industrial-revolution

The facts are, WCM coking coal (industrial coal) is not destined for the UK market; UK steel makers can’t use it, too much sulphur and they are phasing out their blast furnaces anyway. So Whitehaven coal will not slash (Trudy’s words) UK imports it will instead add to global coal stocks and further pollution when it is exported. Because Whitehaven coal is to be sold to an agent, WCM have no say where this coal will end up, steel makers or power stations, coal for sale. 

She adds that the planning process is a democratic one, implying that my objecting makes me undemocratic. I am 100% certain that if this coal mine was placed directly in Mrs Harrison’s back yard she would have a very different opinion. I am quite happy with my choice, thank you and will continue to object to this diabolical plan as is my democratic right.

She went on about the need to buy and produce British steel using British coal to make electric cars, nuclear power stations, wind turbines, factories etc because it is “morally” wrong and economically ludicrous to import coal. I can’t see how this coal mine fully accords with the Government’s 10 point Green Industrial Revolution, maybe I am just a Dumbrian?

More pearls of wisdom from our politicians on the Channel4 news report  at the beginning of last year, linked below for you.

Notably is, Mr Mike Starkie, Copeland Mayor talks about the mine being in the poorest area of the country and life opportunity jobs available; for the poorest in our community. Mrs Trudy Harrison ‘ has a common sense approach’ ??

https://www.channel4.com/news/council-approves-plans-to-build-first-deep-coal-mine-for-30-years

So why has WCM gone to all this effort and investment? Where other mining companies have gone before and given up, WCM persist.  WCM has almost halved the coal mines production life span, down to the next 28 years. 100s of planning conditions to plough through and they still want to build their coal mine. 

It seems we may have indication as to why? WCM’s vision of a coal mine extending into radioactive waste management and a Geological Disposal Facility? Coincidentally, the time frame given to debate and find a suitable site in Copeland and build the GDF is about 20 years.

Picture from Haig Pit Museum, Whitehaven

I remember looking at this model of Haig Pit on my visit to the museum years ago. If this model is anything to go by,  is it really a good idea to be digging out millions of tonnes of coal through geological faults; and (potentially) the storage of radioactive waste.

Three facts for you. 1) Coal was created through seismic activity 2) Mining causes earthquakes, a proven fact. 3) the Solway region is seismically active.

The modern mining technology rapidly strips out a seam of coal, creating large voids. Creating large voids and venting gases is asking for trouble, it is bound to unbalance the geological forces off our shores. Yet Cumbria Council have been told by experts that the risks are acceptable. Does that then make Cumbria Council responsible if my worst fears materialise. Such arrogance to think our technology can control Mother Nature. 

Come on Mr Jenrick – let’s have another Conservative U-turn. The planet has a carbon budget and it’s getting smaller. Change your Mind – Call in this coal mine and Keep the Coal in the Hole

South Lakeland Action on Climate Change Are Following Our Lead and Pushing Hard for a Judicial Review

Coal Mine Goes Here? Photo by Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

South Lakeland Action on Climate Change have launched a crowdfund supported by Coal Action Network and Friends of the Earth in order to raise funds to challenge Cumbria County Council’s planning approval. SLACC are focussing on climate legislation. This is brilliant news, not least because it frees up our own campaigning to focus on the more taboo nuclear impacts of this coal mine. We fully support SLACCs proposed challenge and hope it results in success for all of us.

Our own crowdfund can be found here – We continue to work hard to ensure that the nuclear aspects of this mine do not go unchallenged. With the advice of our Lawyers Leigh Day, we are exploring the best way to do this having already delayed the plan with previous legal challenge.

Please do keep sharing our crowdfund to ensure we can continue to oppose the plan – there are many more hurdles for this coal mine to jump and we want to make sure those hurdles are many and sky high. We are painfully aware that more mainstream NGOs are not focussed at all on the terrible nuclear impacts this coal mine would have. It is entirely down to your generous help and support of our Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole campaign that we have kept the coal mine at bay so far.

We are currently urging people to write to Cumbria County Council, an excellent letter has been sent to Cumbria County Council by David Hatton from Silloth – please do use this as inspiration for your own letters.

We have been told by the Council that the Decision Notice (a final approval of the planning permission) may be issued in the next couple of weeks – so the more letters the council get asking that the Decision Notice is not approved the better!

Email The Leader of Cumbria County Council Stewart.Young@cumbria.gov.uk

and Chair of the Development Control Committee Councillor Cook (thank him for voting against the plan!) Geoffrey.Cook@cumbria.gov.uk

To: <Stewart.Young@cumbria.gov.uk>

Dear Councillor Young,

I write to you as a resident, rate payer, and voter in Cumbria.     I ask the County Council not to issue a final decision notice on the above application until a much more thorough risk assesment has been carried out.

I have heard that the County Council considers the risk of disturbing sediment in the sea-bed off St Bees’ Head is acceptable.    I put it to you that any kind of risk of harm to Human Life from Nuclear Activity is totally unacceptable. 

  We have been living with these risks ever since the Nuclear Energy Commission came to Cumbria.    Always denied, of course,   It is time for you the County Council, as our elected representatives, to act for all Cumbrians and the rest of the UK.    You have been putting money before health for far too long.   Listening to the empty promises of help from big business and even the Government, which never materialise in the long run, and the people who live in Cumbria suffer for it.

In this particular case the Government have passed the buck back to you to decide.   So please look to a future which does not rely on money from foreign companies which in the long run will destroy our County as they walk away, leaving us with the mess to clear up.    If this mining project goes ahead and caused any sort of incident involving Sellafield it will not be possible to clear it up.    This County Council will go down in history as the one who allowed it to happen.   

Yours sincerely,

David Hatton

Silloth,

TAKE ACTION! We Have Already Delayed the Coal Mine … Now We Need to Stop It.

 

Dear Friends,THANKS TO ALL who are donating and sharing, writing and campaigning –

without you this mine would already be underway!!  We have delayed it repeatedly,  now we need to stop it.

The Bad News!Robert Jenrick MP the Communities Secretary has decided not to call in the County Council’s Yes vote for a public inquiry.  

The Good News!The UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities have put their weight behind our campaign by urging Cumbria County Council to reconsider the impact of the expected subsidence of the Irish Sea bed and resuspension of the decades worth of radioactive wastes from Sellafield which are currently embedded in the silts of the Cumbrian Mud Patch.

Our fight against the mine continues and there are a couple of ACTIONS  people can take right now.

1.  Write to Cumbria County Council urging them to take the advice of the UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities and to reconsider the impact of the expected subsidence of the Irish Sea bed and resuspension of the decades worth of radioactive wastes from Sellafield  which are currently embedded in the silts of the Cumbrian Mud Patch.  

On Radio Cumbria’s Mike Zeller show of the 7th January Cumbria County Council were quoted as saying that the radioactive risks of induced seismicity and subsidence are acceptable.   This is an outrageous abdication of the Council’s responsibility to the public’s health and safety.  

Ask Cumbria County Council not to issue a final Decision Notice but to take this opportunity to reconsider the expected subsidence and radioactive impacts of this coal mine.  

A Template Letter is below – please do write in your own words – there are many reasons why the Council should not issue a Decision Notice – as well as the radioactive impacts there are the climate impacts too.

2.  We are looking at a new legal challenge on radioactive impacts of this coal mine. As before, all monies go direct to top lawyers Leigh Day who have already successfully repeatedly delayed the plan.  The legal challenge would be in my name (Marianne B) on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole– Please do share ……..and if you can (I know times are so tough) …..please donate.  DONATE HERE – HELP STOP THE CUMBRIAN COAL MINE 



TEMPLATE LETTER (for inspiration) EMAIL Geoffrey.Cook@cumbria.gov.uk

Dear Councillor Geoff Cook Woodhouse Colliery Application Reference No. 4/17/9007

Thank you for voting against the amended coal mine plan.  
I have heard that the Secretary of State will not be calling this decision in for a public inquiry.  
I would be very grateful if Cumbria County Council would take the advice of the UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities and reconsider the impact of the expected subsidence of the Irish Sea bed and resuspension of the decades worth of radioactive wastes from Sellafield (currently embedded in the silts of the Cumbrian Mud Patch).  

On Radio Cumbria’s Mike Zeller show of the 7th January 2021 Cumbria County Council were quoted as saying that the radioactive risks of induced seismicity and subsidence are acceptable.   This would seem to be an abdication of the Council’s responsibility to the public’s health and safety.  Please ensure that Cumbria County Council do not issue a final Decision Notice until the expected subsidence and radioactive impacts of this coal mine have been fully considered,  including the ongoing internal review into Sellafield’s Freedom of Information response regarding the Responsibility for Radioactive Wastes on the Irish Sea Bed.

Thank you

Yours sincerely, 
name:
address:…..

Copy sent to Leader of Cumbria County Council Stuart Young Stewart.Young@cumbria.gov.uk