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

5 thoughts on “Do Not Rubber Stamp New Coal Authority Licenses for Cumbria!

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