Demo Tomorrow Kendal County Offices 8.45 to 10 am: Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole.jpg

Please join us tomorrow outside Cumbria County Council Offices in Kendal (Busher Walk).

We will gather at 8.45 to greet the Development Control and Regulation Committee who will be taking a decision on whether or not to allow the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years.  Bring Banners, Music, Bring Yourselves to show OPPOSITION to this beyond crazy plan.

Speakers in opposition to this plan include Dr Laurie Michaelis who has been a lead author for several reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and provided analysis and policy advice for the UK government, European Commission, OECD environment ministers and the UN climate negotiators.

He  will introduce his detailed presentation to the committee by saying  “Speaking to you feels like possibly the single most important thing I’ll do in my life. I know climate change mostly feels abstract and distant, but it is real and it is already wrecking the lives of real people. Your decision not to go ahead could save thousands of lives and help build effective action to prevent catastrophic climate change.”

Just this evening we have recieved a letter from Tim Farron MP saying “I am pleased to confirm that I have written to the Chief Executive of the Office for Nuclear Regulation to ask them to reconsider this decision not to provide detailed feedback, especially given recent concerns raised by bodies, such (published by) as the Yorkshire Geological Society which outlines the high risk of liquefaction at the Sellafield and Moorside sites.”

Tim Farron - Written to ONR.jpg

We only have five minutes each to speak – below is my presentation on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole.  You can still sign the petition here .


PRESENTATION FOR DC&R Committee 19:3.19

I am Marianne Birkby speaking on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole.  This is a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign set up following the proposal by WCM People have asked why would a nuclear safety group be campaigning against coal.

The answer to that can be seen in our petition which I present to you today.  

The petition headline says:  Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole – it is too close to Sellafield.  (1,154 signatures) 

West Cumbria Mining say our petition objections have been answered.  Not true.  Our objections stand and are escalating the more we find out about the plan. 

Others will speak forcibly today of the terrible climate impacts. I would like to concentrate on seismic  and water impacts.


At 8km from Sellafield the extent of the mine lies 600 metres from the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s legal remit to consult. The ONR say therefore that they do not need to be consulted by CCC.

For the ONR to completely wash its hands of any real scrutiny regarding this unprecedented deep mining so close to Sellafield’s 140 tons of plutonium is scandalous.  The Precautionary Principle is enshrined in UK laws that CCC are bound by and we would urge Councillors to ask the ONR for full consultation and scrutiny before making a decision.  That scrutiny should include a recent paper published last September by the Yorkshire Geological Society. The paper outlines the high risk of liquefaction at the Sellafield and Moorside sites. (1)

Barrow is the only place in the UK ever to have experienced liquefaction from a much smaller seismic event than that outlined in the recent paper.

A liquefaction event at Sellafield caused by coal mining induced earth movements would be disastrous not just for Cumbria but for Europe too.  The Precautionary Principle in this instance must be applied.


Coal, like nuclear is a water intensive industry, leaving long lasting carcinogenic products .  For every ton of coal, two and a half tons of water are required to wash that coal.  West Cumbria Mining propose to ‘recycle’ the water pumped from the voids and ‘surface’ water, this involves a series of lagoons to allow  toxic products to settle.  WCM’s proposal is to only use mains water the offices.  This is not credible. I have asked for scrutiny on fresh water usage but have not recieved any answers.  My calculations from WCM’s coal production figures is that the the mine would need to use 3 million litres of water a day to wash the coal before transportation.

West Cumbria’s fresh water situation is already stressed with many people in the Copeland area  suffering health impacts from having to drink a mix of 80/20 borehole

water.   Borehole water can be very good but not from a complex geologically faulted area which has been heavily mined in the past.  

To impose another water intensive, dirty and geologically damaging industry on West Cumbria is an attack on the most basic of human rights, the right to fresh water.


Tim Farron has written to the ONR asking that they reconsider the decision not to provide detailed feedback given the recent concerns raised over risk of liquefaction at Sellafield and Moorside. 

Reply to CCC from the ONR: 

“ONR ask to be consulted on developments within the off-site emergency planning area around the Sellafield site, which extends approximately 6.1 – 7.4 km from the site centrepoint.  We would not expect Cumbria County Council to consult us regarding developments outside this zone..”

The susceptibility of glacigenic deposits to liquefaction under seismic loading conditions: case study relating to nuclear site characterization in West Cumbria Authors: Martin Cross1*, Anass Attya2 & David J. A. Evans3   “The results of the assessments indicated a potential high risk for liquefaction for both horizontal ground acceleration events. Due to the variation of the ground and groundwater conditions across the sequence investigated, differences in excess pore-water pressure dissipation can be expected. In such circumstances large differential settlement and ground deformation are highly probable during a seismic event of magnitude (M)=6.0.”  Published by the Yorkshire Geological Society, September 2018

The Barrow-in-Furness Earthquake of 15 February 1865: Liquefaction from a Very Small Magnitude Event

  • R. M. W. Musson

“High intensity and liquefaction phenomena are usually associated only with relatively large magnitude earthquakes. An earthquake in 1865 in the northwest of England suggests that a sufficiently shallow small event can also produce liquefaction. The effects are well-documented in historical sources and include sand fountaining. Modern investigation is confined to documentary evidence owing to the tidal environment of the area where liquefaction occurred. Analysis shows that the felt area of the earthquake was probably only about 200 km2; however, heavy damage occurred in the village of Rampside and the maximum intensity is assessed at 8. Liquefaction is not uncommon at this intensity, but such a high intensity is not usually produced by such small erathquakes. The magnitude was probably in the range 2.5–3.5 M L .”

Assessing Water Issues in China’s Coal Industry by Hope Inman Advanced Science News:  April 30th 2014; “On average, for one tonne of prepared coal 2.5 tonnes  of water  is used”


Coal Mine Plan featured on BBC Sunday Politics

The plan gets a little bit of opposition on the BBC ……at the 11th hour!

Well done to Jill Perry who admits that the local Green Party did originally try and love this plan   (which has made our campaign against it doubly difficult)   but Jill made some excellent points about the climate impacts and exposed  some of  the nonsense from WCM that the plan is ‘environmentally sound’

Notable that the Mayor of Copeland and Trudy Harrison were given time to gush their appalling support.


While Other Colleges and Schools Strike for the Climate, Lakes College Backs the Beyond Crazy Coal Mine Plan…Why????

school strike.jpg

Today’s Guardian

Meanwhile in Cumbria the Lakes College pledges support for the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years


Chris Nattrass, principal of Lakes College, Sellafield employees Stuart Burke and Liam Wood, and Colin Reed, chairman of the Board for the national college

While other schools and colleges are striking to to stop fossil fuels being dug up out of the ground and burnt,  one of Cumbria’s leading colleges is in a parallel universe.

The following submission has been sent to Cumbria County Council in support of the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years.

As Principal of Lakes College, I write in support of the proposal for West Cumbria Mining in Copeland. I believe this will have a very positive impact upon the Cumbrian economy providing significant employment and skills opportunities for local residents.  

Chris Nattrass.   Principle of Lakes College – (which is also the National College for Nuclear)


Cumbria County Council would be responsible for “causing many thousands of climate deaths” should this Coal Mine plan be approved says Ecological Consultant


You can still write to oppose this plan until the Planning Meeting on 19th March – email

This is from South Lakes Action on Climate Change –     Bravo!


Dear Rachel Brophy,

Re: Application ref 4/17/9007 by West Cumbria Mining Ltd re proposed coal mine at Whitehaven

Last week’s High Court judgement: A pro-fossil fuel Paragraph in the 2018 NPPF is effectively illegal.

I am writing on behalf of South Lakes Action on Climate Change to make Planning Officers aware of a High Court Judgement which effectively makes illegal a paragraph in the ‘Oil, gas and coal exploration and extraction’ section of the 2018 NPPF, which has important implications as regards how climate change impacts should be considered as a planning consideration at local government level. We at SLACCtt most strongly advise that this ruling and their implications are given urgent and priority attention by the Planning Officers involved in producing their report to the Development Control Committee on WCM’s coal mine application.

The attached letter is an addition to our letter of objection dated 18/2/18 and covers the above key addition as well as important implications of IPCC’s Special Report for 1.5 degrees, WCM’s carbon emissions and the many thousands of consequential climate deaths, and also a critique of WCM’s claims as regards emissions from shipping coal.

The attached letter was written just before I heard that the Planning Officers have produced their report to the committee on WCM’s application. We regard the implications of the High Court Judgement of sufficient importance, together with the implications of the IPCC SR1.5 report, and the consequent many thousands of deaths that the WCM project will cause, that the report should be withdrawn and revised.

The Court judgement means that Project Officers can no longer work on the basis that the NPPF, the Planning System, and indeed Written Ministerial Statements, are necessarily legally correct in facilitating or providing loop-holes for, the extraction of more fossil fuels. Fossil fuel extraction is now being legally challenged.

This means that the Cumbria County Council, its Planning Officers and Councillor Committee members, can no longer use an excuse that they have to follow government statements or policies that are pro-fossil fuel extraction, when they recommend or decide on fossil applications such as from the WCM.

This also means that any officers who advise councillors to accept WCM’s application, and likewise any councillors who vote in favour, will share responsibility for causing the many thousands of climate deaths and air pollution deaths that will very likely result from their decision.

Yours sincerely Dr Henry Adams (Ecological Consultant)


Dear Ms Brophy,

12th March 2019


Re: Application ref 4/17/9007 by West Cumbria Mining Ltd for Development of an existing surface mine entrance for a new underground metallurgical coal mine and associated surface development including: […] at the former Marchon site (High Road) Whitehaven […] off Mirehouse Road, Pow Beck valley and area from, Marchon Site to St Bees Coast

This letter adds to SLACCtt’s 18/2/18 letter of objection to WCM’s proposal, which is appended here.

Both letters are also separately online, at and in date order.Key additions to 18/2/18 letter: High Court judgement on NPPF and its implications, IPCC SR1.5, WCM

emissions and consequential climate deaths, critique of WCM shipping emissions claims.

1. A High Court judgement last week has in effect made illegal a paragraph in the ‘Oil, gas and coal exploration and extraction’ section of the 2018 NPPF, which has important implications as regards how climate change impacts should be considered as a planning consideration at local government level. We at SLACCtt most strongly advise that this ruling and their implications are given urgent and priority attention by the Planning Officers involved in producing their report to the DevelopmentControl Committee on WCM’s coal mine application.

2. The High Court Judge ruled on 6th March that the Government was acting illegally to ignore recent scientific papers on climate science and fossil fuel extraction, when it copied across a 2015 Written Ministerial Statement into Paragraph 209a of the 2018 Revised NPPF, despite having received a report showing that the 2015 WMS was not scientifically valid. Although Paragraph 209a concerns onshore oiland gas extraction, nonetheless the High Court ruling has wider implications as regards all ‘Oil, gas and coal exploration and extraction’ in chapter 17 on minerals, including Paragraph 211 on coal, and also on government planning policies in general – where fossil fuels and climate change are involved.

3. Put simply, the ruling implies more widely that other paragraphs in the NPPF, and the wider planning structure put in place by central government where it concerns fossil fuels, need to be re-examined and updated with regards recent additions to climate science. The judge also appeared to accept that it is valid for campaigners and local government to treat climate impacts as a planning consideration at a local level (instead of leaving this consideration to central government policy under pressure from above). These 2 points are of vital relevance to WCM’s very high carbon application.

4. It is essential for CumbriaCC to look ahead at such implications regarding future inevitable changes in policy including to the NPPF, to avoid decisions that result in future stranded assets (If WCM’sproject is wrongly given the go-ahead, it will have to be closed down in a few years).


How does this apply to coal, WCM and CumbriaCC?5. 2018 Revised NPPF: Quotes from p.61:

Oil, gas and coal exploration and extraction

209. Minerals planning authorities should:
a) recognise the benefits of on-shore oil and gas development, including unconventional hydrocarbons, for the security of energy supplies and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy; and put in place policies to facilitate their exploration and extraction;

211. Planning permission should not be granted for the extraction of coal unless: a) the proposal is environmentally acceptable, or can be made so by planning conditions or obligations; or b) if it is not environmentally acceptable, then it provides national, local or community benefits which clearly outweigh its likely impacts (taking all relevant matters into account, including any residual environmental impacts).

6. So 209.a is now illegal (or at least – the process that put it there). We reckon this should apply in a wider sense also to 211 – which persists with loop-holes for the most climate-damaging (and health- damaging) big fossil fuel. 211 should have banned all coal mining. For advocates of metallurgical coal aka coking coal being an exception – there is no carbon budget scope now for any new coking coal mines in the UK.

7. We have known for years that the NPPF does not accord with climate science as regards the emissions reductions required, and the 2018 Revised NPPF failed to plug the loopholes ( Furthermore, legislation including even the 2008 Climate Change Act, failed to plug the other over-used loophole that allows fossil fuel advocates (including the UK government) to frequently claim “climate benefits”, or “climate savings”, for fossil fuel projects by confining attention to just UK territorial emissions (as shown by Paragraph 209a), and ignoring additions to global emissions. Claims of “displacing” possibly higher carbon imports actually mean adding to global emissions if the displaced fuel is burnt abroad. Such claims – if they are to comply with climate science, should be considered invalid if they fail also to apply to global emissions (to stop the hypocrisy of“gaming the [international carbon-accounting] system”). WCM provides an example:*


* 8. The “climate savings” from shipping coal that WCM wishes to divert us to, are only about 1% of the size of its combustion emissions, and are only realizable as regards global emissions reductions if another nation –WCM points to the US – is willing enough to leave in the ground at least 99% of the same quantity of coal that WCM wishes to extract. We doubt if the US would oblige by even 1%!

WCM would be adding its coal and all associated emissions to the global total without any mechanism to ensure any replacement of other coal sources. Increased supply would have an influence towards lowering the global price of coking coal, which would have a detrimental influence on the economics of lower carbon methods of producing steel such as using renewable-powered electric arc with steel from recycling, or new innovative methods under development for iron ore.

My spreadsheet calculations are or soon will be online here:

9. These loopholes have kept the door open to Banks Group to pursue new open-cast mining applications, and WCM the present project. All these coal projects are incompatible with the UK being on track for the 2015 Paris temperature goals, and even more so for keeping below +1.5 degrees, the latter now requiring the world to halve emissions by 2030, which for wealthy countries means the UK being carbon net zero by 2030.

10. Very obviously, the 8 million tonnes of CO2 per year that WCM coal would emit if combusted, canin no way fit with such a rapid and immediate emissions reduction requirement, and that’s beforeadding the significant within-UK upstream emissions from the project, and other GHGs such as methane. Such emissions would be very high in relation to Cumbria’s carbon budget. The emissions would undermine the possibility of Cumbria meeting a 1.5 degrees emissions reduction path, i.e. of reaching net zero carbon by 2030, and thus the aim for Cumbria County Council to declare a Climate Emergency to assist putting those targets in place. Also as Laurie Michaelis points out: “If Cumbria County Council knowingly allows this mine to be developed, it bears at least a share of moral responsibility for those deaths and may in the future bear legal responsibility.”

11. Climate-related deaths equivalent to WCM carbon emissions
I have calculated from WCM production figures that the combustion emissions from the 133 million tonnes of

coal they hope to extract over 50 years to be 400 million tonnes CO2e

Both Laurie Michaelis and SLACCtt (myself) have separately calculated climate deaths from a subset of climate health impacts (from a WHO report) and we produced figures of similar magnitude of thousands of deaths from the subset category alone. It would be significantly higher if other categories of coal-products-related deaths are added. I have calculated a minimum of 1 climate death per year in the subset category from 1 year of WCM emissions. x50x100 gives a minimum of around 5,000+ deaths over 100 years from 50 years mining, which relates to over ten deaths per job. A more-than linear relationship (which is more likely according to LM), could hugely amplify these figures (NB: see LM’s submissions for details as well as what they mean and imply).

This means that Officers writing the report, and Committee members making the final decision – will be deciding the fate of many thousands of lives – and would need to use their own ethical and moral judgements. The High Court ruling means that an equivalent of “just following orders” (which I have seen too much in hearings by other committees) would have even less ethical weight now than before the ruling.

We must no longer discount or externalize impacts outside of application localities in space and over time.My spreadsheet calculations for emissions and deaths are, or soon will be, online here:

12. SLACCtt thus recommends that CumbriaCC now has a legal precedent as well as an ethical and moral duty to regard Paragraph 211 as legally suspect, and in urgent need of updating to accord with up-to-date climate science. This would mean looking forward to how policy including the NPPF will have to change in the future, and assuming that there should be no more coal mining in the UK. Cumbria CC should take into account the following:

13. On 2 May the Committee on Climate Change (CCCuk) will publish it’s “Report: Advice on the UK’slong-term climate change targets: In light of the Paris Agreement, and the IPCC’s recent special reporton global warming of 1.5°C, the Committee on Climate Change will provide new advice to theGovernment and the devolved administrations on the UK’s long-term climate change targets.” If thisreport takes care to avoid loopholes or ambiguities, and has regard for UK impacts on global as well as UK territorial emissions, then it is likely to state or imply that the UK must stop mining for coal, and urge other changes to the NPPF and planning. Please anticipate this.

14. The CCCuk informed Government that its policies are not on track for meeting UK’s carbon budgets over this coming decade. These budgets are to meet the “at least 80% of 1990 levels by 2050”emissions reduction target of the 2008 Climate Change Act. It is important to realize that climatescientists now agree that the “80% by 2050” target is now inadequate to meet its original target of +2 degrees or “a little above 2 degrees”. This means that current government policies head not just


slightly above 2 degrees, but a lot above 2 degrees, which means that big changes in policies will have to urgently be implemented – and should include the NPPF.

15. The temperature goals of 2015 The Paris Agreement are to keep “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 20C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.50C above pre-industrial levels”. Government emission reduction policies are thus totally inadequate for the goals the UK signed up to. Furthermore – CCCuk’s remit enshrinedin the 2008CCA have yet to be both updated to comply with the Paris temperature goals. Ref:

16. The IPCC’s Special Report for 1.5 degrees has shown much more clearly, by assessing the climate impacts at 1.5 degrees and 2 degrees in comparison, that the impacts of 1.5 degrees are bad enough, that 2 degrees is much worse than 1.5, and that the 2 degrees target is now considered much worse than thought in the last decade (except by low-lying/island nations), and that the 1.5 degrees target should be the one to aim for rather than 2 degrees. Yet UK policies are still nearer +3 degrees than 1.5.

17. To stay below 1.5 degrees we need to do more than just greatly change UK policies, and I’vesummarized and collated relevant studies and their implications here: (on behalf of SLACCtt. Main target readers: local government officers and cllrs).

18. Furthermore, a significant number of climate scientists reckon IPCC’s SR1.5 is over-conservative, gives inadequate consideration of potential climate tipping points in its summary report, and that 1.5 degrees may be exceeded by 2030.

19. I hope by now you are fully convinced that Paragraph 211 should be regarded as incompatible withUK’s climate commitments, and that WCM’s application can be rejected on climate grounds alone (aswell as on other important issues summarized by FoE and other groups).

20. It is heartening to see that Councillors used climate impacts as a planning consideration against the high emissions application by IGas at Ellesmere Port, and climate scientist Professor Kevin Anderson gave evidence on the GHG impact: into-igas-test-plans-for-ellesmere-port-well/ Fossil fuel applications must be challenged. The case for doing so is strong, and is now helped by the High Court precedent for challenging the NPPF.

21. As to priorities: It is important to view “jobs and growth” as what is possible within a framework of climate and environment – without going beyond ‘planetary boundaries’ (Kate Raworth 2017‘Doughnut Economics’). Acting on climate will require many jobs (e.g. house insulation).


In light of the above, SLACCtt most strongly recommends that CumbriaCC does not shy from making climate impacts a key planning consideration, and to incorporate up-to-date climate science and itsimplications in both the Planning Officers report for the Committee and the Councillor members’reasons for the final decision. The pro-fossil parts of both NPPF and applications should be challenged.

Yours sincerely,


Chris Rowley / –

Dr Henry Adams on behalf of SLACCtt



The above includes the first author’s interpretation of how the Judge’s High Court ruling should be regarded – in a way that looks forward in the direction to future such legal steps and policy changes to hopefully follow climate science (and hopefully not too far behind). I have appended copies of write-ups by Leigh Day and others below – so that you can form your own interpretation, which I hope will view the direction of travel that law and planning will have to take to catch up with climate science – and how this will apply to long-term high carbon applications (like that by WCM) that could if not stopped, become stranded assets.


I can provide further references for above statements if requested have appended a copy of SLACCtt’s first submission to CumbriaCC objecting to WCM’s application.

I most strongly recommend everyone reads the objection letters by Laurie Michaelis – who has had much experience in climate science, and by by Maggie Mason – who has had years of very relevant experience in planning. I also recommend as regards climate impacts letters by FoE and Stuart Parkinson (Director of Scientists for Global Responsibility).

6mar19 Government’s fracking policy ruled unlawful – Leigh Day
The High Court has today ruled that key elements of the government’s national fracking policy are unlawful.


The 2018 revised NPPF and the planning system in relation to ‘economic growth’ and climate change- Dr Henry Adams – draft towards a several-document potential SLACCtt publication, now online

6mar19 Breaking: Campaigners win court challenge over government support for fracking – RUTH HAYHURST support-for-fracking/

6mar19 High court rules government’s fracking guidelines ‘unlawful’ – Court finds government failed to consider scientific evidence against fracking – Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent unlawful

6mar19 Government fracking policy declared unlawful by High Court

‘It is clear what the government must now do, namely hold a full review of its policy support for fracking’- Josh GabbatissScience Correspondent @josh_gabbatiss news/fracking-policy-high-court-ruling-government-unlawful-housing-energy-a8810101.html

6mar19 Fracking: Government guidance ‘unlawful’ rules High Court – By Dulcie LeeBBC News

BBC Northwest Tonight: High Court decision on planning rules for fracking

Kate Raworth (2017) ‘Doughnut Economics’ (book) – summary re climate in



West Cumbrian Papers …at last some Grrr over the Coal Mine Plan

Thanks to the West Cumbrian press who have at last published a bit of Grrrr over the proposed coal mine.   Readers of the West Cumbrian press have so far been treated to first rate (and no doubt expensive) greenwash from the developers, so it is timely that at last (better late than never) the message is getting out that actually the plan to mine coal again in West Cumbria is a really REALLY bad idea.

Here is the article as appeared in much of the West Cumbrian press, this from the Times and Star-   – you can go to the Times and Star to see more (and add your own) on the comments section.  The article is in this weeks  Whitehaven News

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, Extinction Rebellion and the Green Party protest over West Cumbria Mining plans

By Sarah Moore Chief Reporter
Campaigners stage a protest in Workington town centre on Saturday against plans to resurrect coal mining in West Cumbria

Campaigners stage a protest in Workington town centre on Saturday against plans to resurrect coal mining in West Cumbria

Members of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, Extinction Rebellion and the Green Party protested against West Cumbria Mining’s plans to redevelop Whitehaven’s former Marchon site and extract coking coal off the coast of St Bees, speaking to shoppers in Workington.

Protestor Marianne Birkby said: “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.

“Only one person thought the jobs were worth the damage (just 500 jobs proposed for the mine – similar to a supermarket depot and nowhere near the jobs in renewables and energy efficiency technologies).”

West Cumbria Mining is seeking permission from Cumbria County Council to open Woodhouse Colliery, which it says would have a planned operational lifespan of 50 years and extract up to 3.1 million tonnes of coal per year.

It would extract coking coal off the coast of St Bees, with a processing plant on the former Marchon site at Kells, before exporting to Redcar, on the east coast, and shipping it to the EU and beyond. The firm has said the scheme would create 500-plus jobs.

After a drop-in event last month, bosses said the scheme had had massive support, with 99 per cent positive feedback.

Helen Davies, head of communications for the firm, said: “West Cumbria Mining continues to progress the development of the Woodhouse Colliery project in an open and collaborative spirit. The company has held numerous engagement public events since 2014, where there has been consistently strong support for the scheme including from local members of parliament and cabinet ministers, together with hundreds of expressions of support submitted to Cumbria County Council in favour of the current planning application process for the project to move forwards.

“The WCM planning documentation sets out and responds to all of the questions raised by external parties over the last three years and provides clear scientific evidence based responses to each of those points, clearly demonstrating that there are no risks or significant impacts from the scheme”

Cumbria County Council is consulting on the plans until January 28. Its development control committee is due to discuss the plans next month.

lakelandlad 7th January 6:45 pm

2 There is a high demand for this grade of COAL also a high demand for jobs as there has been a vast number of jobs lost . WHY do people (small number) fight against new employment are they incomers wanting a rural (peaceful) life. WEST CUMBERLAND use to be a highly industrial area not now.

Last Updated: 8th January 10:28 am

Neil Messenger 7th January 9:03 pm

1 Where do these people come from? 99% of people want West Cumbria Mining to succeed with their application.
Much need jobs and skills will be brought to the area.
Where did they get their “facts” about the amount of Co2 and earth movement?
Come on Cumbria County Council, do the right thing.

Last Updated: 8th January 10:28 am

James O’Fee 8th January 8:42 am

0 At first I disagreed with them but they are right in the fact that their is at least 5 old mines in the area, most prior to haig had poor mapping of seams dug which Haig unknowingly broke into over the years not knowing they were their which is still the case (unmapped seams). Flooding will be the downfall of this, haig was pumping 20,000 ltrs per hour out of Haig the pumps were so large they had to leave them down their when it closed and this was part of the reason it was uneconomical,if they break through the sponge rock (above the coal seam),it will flood constantly, regarding collapse and affecting sellafield unless they are digging under it it should have no impact whatsoever. The coal is high grade though without a doubt and burns cleaner than the coal Europe digs, its an interesting project but their forecasts are way over estimated they haven’t factored flooding costs and unforeseen circumstances such as old mine works which would be flooded already if they break into these god help them.

Last Updated: 8th January 8:44 am

Howgill 8th January 10:26 am

0 I don’t know where you acquired your “facts” regarding Haig – perhaps from those protesters? – but they are way off. Haig pumped about eightfold the figure you gave, but well over 90% of that was drainage from the landward side, fluctuating within days of rainfall – it was classed as a very dry pit, hence the tons of stone dust used on a daily basis to neutralise the coal dust.

While some of the plans of adjacent pits are not totally reliable there was, to my knowledge, only one case of Haig accidentally holing into old workings, and they were bone dry.

“……and this was part of the reason it was uneconomical” – well yes. the pumping wasn’t cost free so there’s a part truth there, but the real cause was the faulting – coal sells, stone doesn’t!

James O’Fee 8th January 6:40 pm

0 I got it from relatives who worked in haig who happened to be pit deputies,what I stated was correct and they had lots of openings into unknow shafts and seams a lot of this was unrecorded as it would shut production down they would simply brick it up and move elsewhere.why on earth would they pump from the landside it could run off the cliffs into the sea if that was the case,their are many photos of Haig I have yet to see any of surface pumps around the pit surface or pipework and hoses.

Last Updated: 8th January 6:47 pm

Howgill 8th January 8:25 pm

0 I think your relatives were pulling your leg! The plans of the Whitehaven Colliery are quite complete, even from the days before they were a legal requirement, and certainly so for the workings adjacent to Haig (Croft, Wellington, Saltom). There may be some errors due to the surveying methods used (magnetic dials were the norm in the early days) but nothing was unrecorded. “Bricking up and moving elsewhere” wasn’t necessary as these holings, with one exception, just didn’t happen.

The pumping of landward drainage. Water enters the old workings by percolation where the seams are close to the surface right along the hill from Greenbank to the harbour. This flows down and is collected by a watercourse running from Ladysmith via Croft, Kells, Saltom and King to Wellington. Water from William Pit (Bransty, Harras Moor ingress) arrived in a similar way and all was pumped from the lodge 1,000 feet down the Haig shafts which was connected into it (purposely) in 1919. How do I know this? I worked in Haig, and Wellington, and as part of my work had regular access to all the plans which you say don’t exist.

WCM will not be entering any areas of unrecorded old workings and will be leaving substantial barriers against the known workings just as we did at Haig.

Last Updated: 8th January 8:27 pm

McAll W 8th January 2:15 pm

0 Oh look, the daytrippers have made it all the way to Workington this time (having held their last protest in Windermere because that’s probably as far into Cumbria as most of them can be bothered travelling).

Dagsannr 8 hrs ago

0 Digging up coal, regardless of the safety or environmental concerns of the mine itself, is a ridiculous idea. It’s polluting, unnecessary and the world is moving on.

Want jobs? Get the government to subsidise renewables to the same extent that it subsidises oil and gas and you’ll soon see job creation.

Workington says NO to New Coal Mine Under Irish Sea

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole Workington 5.1.19.jpg

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

People also outside Cumbria can both object and speak if they register with

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  or

There is also an online petition.

COAL!! BBC & Magical Thinking

ash background beautiful blaze
Ashes and Dust

The BBC’s latest Christmas Cracker is to promote the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years like there is no tomorrow.

Yesterday’s Radio 4 PM programme treated listeners to the most highly sweetened, sickening concoction of greenwash promoting a coal mine.  The plan for Woodhouse Colliery under the Irish Sea extending over 50 years towards Sellafield  seems to be enjoying the most magical of magical thinking.

It is an enigma wrapped up in coal dust.  Where is George Monbiot?  Where is David Attenborough?   Where is the Extreme Energy Network?  Where are Extinction Rebellion? Where is Everyone?  What is the BBC’s Game?


I was interested to hear the PM broadcast about the proposed first deep coal mine in over 30 years. We heard from the mining developers, the Mayor of Copeland and former miners, all of whom expressed delight with the proposal. There were no dissenting voices. The reporter’s questions were superficial and too easily satisfied by the developers cynical reassurances that the steel would be used for wind turbines. This is nonsense to hoodwink the public, they could just as well have pointed out that the biggest steel structure in the world is nuclear related -over Chernobyl. This bias from PM is shocking given that the West Cumbrian coal mine is the most methane rich in the country. Despite false assurances from the developers on the programme, it proposes to produce middlings, (thermal coal) as well as coking coal, the majority of which is for export. The DEFRA Emission Factors for Company Reporting, 2017 give upstream emissions from coking coal supply as 442kg CO2e per tonne of coal. The mine will extend closer to Sellafield than ever before with the attendant risk of earthquake from such huge abstraction of coal. I expected to hear from at least one of those opposing the mine to point out the cumulative dangers, but the programme ended in a congratulatory tone. This is shocking bias from the BBC given that this is a development which is due to go before Cumbria County Council maybe as soon as February.

Complaint to the BBC Woodhouse Colliery 27,12,18