Send a Tweet to the Wildlife Trusts tell them to “Do Your Bit” to Save our Living Seas from the First Deep Coal Mine in Decades!!

Cumbria Wildlife Trust Tweet

I have just sent a tweet to the Wildlife Trusts …..Wowee- with this public reach @WildlifeTrusts are uniquely placed to #KeepCumbrianCoalintheHole #StBees is the last breeding place in England of the #BlackGuillemot the #IrishSea is under threat Save our #LivingSeas and PLEASE @CraigBennett3 tell @CumbriaCC 2stop @WCumbriaMining….

The Wildlife Trusts feature the Black Guillemot – the same Black Guillemot that is under threat from the plan to mine for coal deep under the Irish Sea.  The damage done by this development would be many layered from climate change to physical damage to the nesting site at St Bees – the only nesting site in England left for the Black Guillemot.

This is what the Wildlife Trusts say:

“Did you know?

The black guillemot is also known as the ‘Tystie’ in the Scottish Isles, which was probably derived from the Norse name for the bird.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a Living Seas vision, where coastal and marine wildlife thrives alongside the sustainable use of the ocean’s resources. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.”

Send a Tweet to the Wildlife Trusts – Now it is the Wildlife Trusts turn to “Do Your Bit”  – and oppose the coal mine plan.  So far there has been silence.

 

Black Guillemot

“Vindication for campaigner fighting plan for deep coal mine in West Cumbria”

On Leigh Days Website

A campaigner, who issued a legal case against a proposed deep coal mine in West Cumbria on grounds that the climate change impact had not been properly taken into account, says she has been vindicated by the latest development in plans for the scheme.

20 May 2020

Earlier this year, campaigner Marianne Bennett, with support from the Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole (KCCH) group was granted permission for a judicial review of Cumbria County Council’s decision to allow the first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years to be built by West Cumbria Mining (WCM) in Whitehaven.

However, since the ruling in February, WCM has submitted a revised planning application to only process premium metallurgical coal in a simplified, cheaper-to-construct mine proposed for the site of the former Marchon Chemical Works. The previous application would have resulted in 15 per cent of the mined produce being a type of non-metallurgical coal, known as “middlings” coal.

As a result, Cumbria County Council has now confirmed that it will no longer rely on the resolution decision being challenged in the judicial review proceedings.

However, Ms Bennett’s legal team at Leigh Day solicitors believes that WCM has submitted the revised planning application to defeat the legal challenge.

They have agreed with Cumbria County Council and WCM that the claim will be withdrawn. They will now seek costs on behalf of Ms Bennett from Cumbria County Council and WCM.

Ms Bennett said:

“We have in effect achieved what we first set out to do, which was to overturn the council’s unanimous decision to approve the coal mine.

“We will be seeking legal costs so that we can keep our fighting fund for another day. We will now be encouraging our supporters to lobby the council so they do not say yes to this revised planning application for the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades.”

Rowan Smith, of Leigh Day solicitors, said:

“We believe that this revised application by WCM is an attempt to defeat the legal challenge which would have been brought at the High Court in Manchester later this year.

“Our client will be studying the new plan carefully and considering further action because she firmly believes that the changes proposed do not resolve the climate change issue with the project and this was the principal reason she took her brave legal action at the start of this process.”

Ms Bennett is also represented by David Wolfe QC (Matrix) and Merrow Golden (Francis Taylor Buildings).

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

Great News! Green Light for Coal Mine is Now Amber, Thanks to You!

Whitehaven to St Bees

Image: Wild honeysuckle and Irish Sea 

There is great news!

The unanimous green light that Cumbria County Council had given the developers, West Cumbria Mining,  has now effectively turned back to amber.   Cumbria County Council has confirmed that it will no longer rely on the resolution decision that we were challenging.

This turn around would not have happened without youramazing support for the Judicial Review (which had been granted full approval to go ahead and challenge the County Council’s decision). 

West Cumbria Mining has now submitted a revised planning application to Cumbria County Council.  This revised plan seeks to answer the legal challenges which were to be brought by us in the Judicial Review.

We believe the true reason why West Cumbria Mining has submitted a revised planning application is to try to defeat our legal challenge.

For example the middlings coal will now, say West Cumbria Mining, with this new plan be magically transformed into coking coal!

Our brilliant lawyers at Leigh Day will now seek costs from Cumbria County Council and WCM, because we have in effect achieved what we set out to do, which was to overturn the council’s unanimous decision to approve the coal mine.

We are seeking legal costs in order to keep our fighting fund for another day.  This is should we need the fighting fund after the council’s planning meeting to decide whether or not to approve WCM’s new and improved cunning plan!
So, there is now an opportunity to firstly lobby the council so they do not, yet again, say yes to this revised planning application for the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades.

Should Cumbria County Council say yes again, Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole will challenge that, again!

But first things first – the revised plan can be seen Online via the County Council’s website at: planning.cumbria.gov.uk.   Application Ref No: 4/17/9007

Even if you have written in opposition to the plan before please do write again…this is in effect a new plan.

I will send out info soon to help people challenge this revised planning application with your own letters of opposition to Cumbria County Council.   We have not got long – the (first) official deadline is June 15th. 

We can Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole !! 

“Get a Conscience” – Jobs, 5G and Mining

Unsaved Preview Document
Mining Technology.Com

Following the planning meeting in Kendal, the CEO of West Cumbria Mining told me to “Get a Conscience”.  Presumably he meant that I and others fighting the coal mine were jeopardising ‘promised’ jobs by opposing the development.

I wonder if the same vehemence of “Get a Conscience” is being directed by the CEO of West Cumbria Mining to the increasing automation of mines – the “smart mines” of the future promised by 5G.

” Henan Energy and Chemical Industry Group signed an agreement with China Mobile’s Henan branch to build the first 5G-based unmanned mining project in the province. Shandong-based mining conglomerate Yankuang Group has set up a joint lab with China Unicom and ZTE to develop 5G and intelligent mining in areas including 5G-based smart mining, intelligent transportation and drone patrol.”

I wonder if the luddites were right – it certainly looks like the fourth industrial revolution ……promised by the World Economic Forum and others promoting the necessary Blockchain technology to facilitate it …..will be the most destructive.

I doubt the 500 jobs promised would ever materialise but we can be sure the pollution and destruction would be more than evident should the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades go ahead.

 

 

“Last Coal Mine” ? But it would last 50 years!

A colleague has just alerted us to this interview with CEO of West Cumbria Mining.

Full interview on New Civil Engineer 

Cumbria coal mine could be ‘the last one’ in the UK

The proposed £165M Woodhouse colliery in Cumbria could be “the last [coal mine] ever [built] in the UK”, according to West Cumbria Mining chief executive Mark Kirkbride.

Plans for the coal mine have been called into question amid fears that the facility could hinder the UK’s goal to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

And Kirkbride believes that the changes to planning regulations means that the Cumbrian facility could be the last coal mine ever constructed in the UK.

“If you asked me to get planning for another one, I would say it would be impossible right now unless something significantly changed,” Kirkbride said at a British Tunnelling Society lecture.

“When we applied for planning it was a different set of planning rules. Now if you were to submit planning you’d have to try and do whole life greenhouse gas assessments.”

However, Kirkbride believes it is unfair for the mine to be accountable for carbon emissions from coal once it leaves the mine.

He added: “The analogy I use is if you build a car factory you look at what the greenhouse impact is of the factory, what you don’t have to do is the life cycle emissions from the cars that you make. That doesn’t apply to the natural resources.

“People think we can determine how much CO2 for the life of the coal we’re producing. The challenge is that populist noise would make it impossible to get it past a planning committee.”

Kirkbride’s comments come amid a government push towards renewables.

This month Boris Johnson announced that the deadline for the phase out of coal from Britain’s energy system would be brought forward a year to 1 October 2024. The last five coal-fired power stations stations – Ratcliffe on Soar, West Burton, Fiddlers Ferry, Kilroot and Drax – are all expected to close.

Meanwhile, domestic coal and certain types of wood are also to be banned from sale from next year in a bid to cut air pollution.

However, the Woodhouse colliery would be excavating coal for use mainly in steel production – a key distinction, according to Kirkbride, who “fully supports” the phase out of coal for electricity.

The proposed development is for a large underground metallurgical, or ‘coking coal’, coal mine.

Coking coal is used exclusively in the manufacture of over 70% of the world’s steel, with more than 1.2bn.t used in global steel production around the world every year.

The coal is ‘baked’ in a coke oven which forces out impurities to produce coke. Modern steel plants include gas treatment and capture to reduce emissions. The steel produced is used in the likes of cars, kettles and trains, as well as in the manufacture of wind turbines and nuclear power stations.

Around 250t of coking coal is required to build an offshore wind turbine, which uses around 325t of steel.

West Cumbria Mining’s website describes these as “key alternatives to historical coal-powered energy generation”.

It adds that coking coal is “very different to thermal coal which is used to create steam to power turbines for creating electricity”.

However a report, published in January by independent thinktank Green Alliance, claims the coal mine is “incompatible” with the UK’s net zero goals.

It concludes that when burnt, the coal extracted from the mine would produce more than 8M.t of carbon dioxide per year – and identifies ways that the amount of coal used in steel production could actually be reduced.

These include using less steel, using recycled steel, improving the efficiency of steel production with conventional blast furnaces, and producing steel with new processes using renewable energy.

The report says opening a new coal mine will hinder this strategy by ensuring the continued availability of cheap coal.

As such, it contests Cumbria County Council’s claim that the mine will be carbon neutral.

Earlier this month environmental campaigners appealed for a judicial review against Cumbria County Council for giving the go ahead to the mine.

Campaign group Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole – run by the group Radiation Free Lakeland – filed the paperwork to launch the judicial review through the solicitors Leigh Day. They are now awaiting the court’s approval for a full hearing.

The mine was granted cross-party backing in March 2019.

 

 

Todays BBC Podcast about the “Carbon Neutral” Coal Mine

This BBC podcast today makes some good points but leaves much out. It is a far cry from 2018 when  we made a complaint to the BBC about their promotion of the mine as a ‘good thing’ on the 27th Dec 2018 Radio 4 PM program….Following that program in 2018 green minded folk told us they felt “reassured” that the mine was environmentally sound.     The program today was much more critical of the plan. However, no mention of the legal challenge or the close proximity to Sellafield.

Untitled
Listen here from 16.00

 

 

 

Spring Watch at St Bees & July Date for Coal Mine Challenge

 

 

Dear Friends,

As you know we had planned a Spring Watch Wildlife Walk and Draw along the cliff top walk from Whitehaven to St Bees.  As we cannot do that here is a virtual walk with sketches of some of the birds that it is possible to see. Some are very vulnerable indeed such as the Black Guillemot,  just one of the reasons why we want to stop this coal mine.

The date of the week beginning the 20th July has now been set for the Legal Challenge which you have so generously donated funds towards.  A Press Release has been sent out to media and can be read below.  With many thanks for your continued support in the battle to stop this coal mine.  We will let you know more details about the 20th July date as soon as we know more.

With All Very Best Wishes

Marianne

on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole.

****************************************************

PRESS NOTICE.                                                                     8th April 2020

POSSIBLE JULY DATE FOR CUMBRIAN COAL MINE LEGAL CHALLENGE

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole are challenging the decision by Cumbria County Council to allow the first phase of a major new coking coal mine deep under the Irish Sea.  The date for the Judicial Review is planned for the week commencing the 20th July (dependent on the situation with Covid19 restrictions) and will be heard at the High Court in Manchester.

The case is being brought on behalf of KCCH by Mrs Marianne Bennett (which is the legal name of the Cumbrian based artist Marianne Birkby). KCCH was founded by the campaign group Radiation Free Lakeland which was set up in 2008 to fight the plan for the geological disposal of nuclear wastes under Cumbria.  A crowdfunder set up by Mrs Bennett following Cumbria County Council’s decision in March 2019 to grant the coal mine planning permission has generated £10,435 to cover court costs and legal expenses.  KCCH have engaged the services of top environmental lawyers at Leigh Day, Matrix Chambers and Francis Taylor Buildings.

On 20 June 2019, Leigh Day wrote to Cumbria County Council addressing a number of legal issues. Despite being alerted to those concerns, Cumbria County Council ratified its decision on 31 October 2019.

JUDICIAL REVIEW

Consequently, KCCH launched its Judicial Review on 12 December 2019, arguing that Cumbria County Council had failed to properly assess the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the mining operations, by wrongly claiming that the development would be “carbon neutral” without any evidence whatsoever to support such a claim. KCCH also submitted that Cumbria County Council had a legal requirement to consider whether the extraction and use of the coal would be in line with the Government’s target of Net Zero CO2 emissions by 2050, given the Whitehaven development will last for at least the next 50 years.

The developers West Cumbria Mining as ‘interested party,’ have throughout, strongly resisted the legal challenge. Arguing that KKCH’s case against Cumbria County Council is “without merit” in respect of both carbon emissions and the need for coking coal.  WCM also argued that the KCCH should be exposed to much higher costs, which could have jeopardised the Judicial Review going ahead. However, Mrs Justice Beverley Lang agreed in February 2019 that the legal issues are arguable, that they justify a public hearing and that KCCH could have a cap of £5,000 on court costs under Aarhus rules.

WEST CUMBRIAN MINING ‘U-TURN’ ON MIDDLINGS COAL ?

Since then, and in an apparent U-turn, WCM has sent a letter to Cumbria County Council (disclosed as part of the legal case) that says all of the extracted Coal can now go into the Steel Industry. In light of that change, WCM indicates in the letter that it will submit a revised planning application to Cumbria County Council. However, much is unknown as to whether the total amount of Coal will remain the same or whether there is still going to be a by-product of Middlings Coal, and if so how the environmental impact of disposing of that waste product will be assessed by Cumbria County Council before any revised planning application is approved.

CLIMATE IMPACTS

Neither WCM nor Cumbria County Council have yet addressed criticisms of the climate change impact of the Coal Mine raised in a report published by the Green Alliance. We understand from the same letter that WCM intends to do so as part of any revised planning application.

Meanwhile, KCCH intends to proceed with the legal challenge, because there are still questions concerning GHG emissions and the Net Zero target which campaigners believe are unaffected by these revisions.

Marianne Birkby from KKCH, said:

“We are pleased that a date has now been set for the legal challenge which has had to overcome so many hurdles already to get us to this point. We feel that this coal mine has gone way under the radar for so long – the climate impacts alone should have stopped this plan in its tracks from the outset  but there is also the issue, much on our minds,  that this coal mine would extend to within 5 miles of the Sellafield site.  Cumbria would be the only place in the UK with deep mining infrastructure in place.    We are delighted that full legal scrutiny of the climate change impacts will be addressed despite the manoeuvrings of West Cumbria Mining to try and circumvent any such legal challenge.  We will continue to work tirelessly along with others to stop this, outrageously dangerous coal mine plan under the Irish Sea.”

ENDS

Notes:

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole – blog

https://keepcumbriancoalinthehole.wordpress.com

CrowdJustice page

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/cumbriancoal2/

Radiation Free Lakeland – website

https://wildar4.wixsite.com/radiation-free-land

West Cumbria Mining – website

https://www.westcumbriamining.com

Leigh Day

https://www.leighday.co.uk

Aarhus Convention

https://ec.europa.eu/environment/aarhus/legislation.htm

The Case Against New Coal Mines in the UK – report by Green Alliance

https://www.green-alliance.org.uk/resources/The_case_against_new_coal_mines_in_the_UK.pdf