On Saturday 5th January Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole were joined by Cumbrian folk from Extinction Rebellion and the Green Party. We spoke to dozens of shoppers in Workington at the market place and the verdict was a big NO to the first deep coal mine in the UK for over 30 years.
The word on the street is in direct contrast to the slick PR put out by the developers West Cumbria Mining and repeated verbatim by most media including the BBC (our complaint to the BBC is awaiting a reply)
We spoke to ordinary folk including miners who were adamant that there should not be a return to coal mining on the West Coast of Cumbria. The reasons are many – the water situation in West Cumbria is already stressed, the mine would impact hydrology, would produce 175 million tonnes of CO2, the possibility of seabed collapse and earth movement is unthinkable so near to Sellafield….
Thank you to all the folk we spoke to. Only one person thought the jobs were worth the damage (just 500 jobs proposed for the mine – similar to a supermarket depot and no where near the jobs in renewables and energy efficiency technologies)
So Workington says No.
What are folk saying who live near the proposed mine?
This is an extract from a letter sent by local folk to Cumbria County Council (it may be available on the CCC website – although our letters of objection from Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole are not on!!)
“Pow Beck has the railway and a couple of wind turbines but in the main it is a tranquil, fairly secluded and pretty place. In our opinion the Railway Loading Facility will affect our environment with emission, dust, noise and light, and detrimental to the ecology here. The facility will impact the peaceful enjoyment of our home, St. Bees village and Pow Beck wildlife.
The building is large and railway sidings extensive. The facility will be visually overbearing and no amount of tree planting or timber clad buildings will soften its appearance on the landscape. They have planned technically advanced building to keep the dust, noise and emissions to regulation levels, but the Loading Facility will still be a noisy, dusty and bright facility in our quiet, dark valley.
By its very nature mining is a messy business and we are not convinced by the marketing and bright coloured CGI animations used to demonstrate how this MODERN mine will operate. The animation makes it looks so clean but we have the opinion that is far from the facts. It does not show the shunting of wagons to the sidings, the plumes of dust as each wagon is loaded; We read somewhere 4 trains’ daily transporting coal to Redcar. These quieter modern trains can pull at least 21 large covered coal wagons, not the 7/8 shown on the CGI.
In our estimate that must be a train over 200m long. The CGI does not show those large trains trundling past homes through Mirehouse, Parton or Harrington to name a few. Pow Beck is going to be a very different place at all times of the day and night. We thought the United Nations and EU have in place regulations to reduce carbon emissions to meet climate targets, yet here we are in Cumbria giving consideration to digging out millions of tonnes of coal. We would have thought political policy would have put the kibosh on mining in this country, indeed in March of this year our government rejected an open cast mine in Northumberland saying the environmental impact outweighs economic benefits.
In Wales, only last month, they have reached the decisions no new mining unless under exceptional circumstances. WCM say 80% will be exported. We produce the coal and let someone else burn it. What a legacy, will we ever learn? Mining coal is a retrograde step, Apologies to all those miners past and present, We don’t wish to be ungrateful for their legacy, but we should not be thinking of building a new mine, burning coal is never going to be clean enough and that’s the facts.
Since 2014 WCM Ltd have marketed the mines with the creation of jobs for a lot of people over a very long time, benefits for the economy; an investment for West Cumbria. It is our belief that the environmental costs and environmental risk are too high a price for all that. The coal is not an asset anymore, the burning of fossil fuel is a liability that our children will be paying for. Therefore, we ask that Cumbria County Council refuse this planning application and keep Copeland coal, and other pollutants locked beneath the sandstone out of harm’s way.”
That last line from folk living near this proposal is worth repeating
..”we ask that Cumbria County Council refuse this planning application and keep Copeland coal, and other pollutants locked beneath the sandstone out of harm’s way.”
Please write your own letter to CCC quoting Planning reference 4/17/9007 Woodhouse Colliery
This plan is scheduled to be decided upon in Kendal by the Development Control Committee at the County Offices on FEB 22nd. Not much time! Please write to Cumbria County Council,s Development Control Committee and let them know you OBJECT. You can also ask to speak at the Meeting in Kendal – the more speakers the better chance we have of stopping the plan.
Members of the Committee http://councilportal.cumbria.gov.uk/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=124
People also outside Cumbria can both object and speak if they register with email@example.com
To Find the Planning Documents
You can insert insert application reference 4/17/9007 in Cumbria County Council’s search box – and then click on the “Documents” link on the right hand side.
NOTE The application reference is 4/17/9007, West Cumbria Mining, Woodhouse Colliery. Written submissions can be sent to Jackie Currie, Cumbria County Council Development Control Team, County Offices, Busher Walk, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 4RQ or via mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. or email@example.com
There is also an online petition.