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.

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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 http://councilportal.cumbria.gov.uk/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=124

People also outside Cumbria can both object and speak if they register with nicola.harrison@cumbria.gov.uk

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 developmentcontrol@cumbria.gov.uk.  or jackie.currie@cumbria.gov.uk

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?

COMPLAINT TO THE BBC

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

Update On First Deep Coal Mine in the UK for 30 years

New Coal and New Nuclear Next to Sellafield..jpg

Dear Friends,

I have just been sent the following from Cumbria County Council.  Those of you who have already written letters of objection will also have recieved this.  We will have a look at this and draft our formal response to it as soon as we can (before the deadline of 28th January).  It is another opportunity to send in more objections to the diabolic plan for the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years.

The Development Control Committee may take a decision on this plan early in the new year and we need more groups and individuals to:

OBJECT,  BE VISIBLE, DO A DAVID ATTENBOROUGH and say a BIG FAT NO TO NEW COAL (THIS NOT JUST ANY OLD COAL BUT BIG NEW DEEP UNDERSEA MINE NEAR TO SELLAFIELD! )

Please excuse the capitals but this is IMPORTANT and has so far gone way under the radar, which is surprising given the Extinction Rebellion coverage and activism.   The (rather abstract) XR demands have been very forcefully articulated by many including by the pronuclear guru George Monbiot .

Here are a few thoughts on the big picture.

The demands are that the Govnt enact “radical action” to halt climate change.

But surely those demands apply to Cumbria or are we in some kind of parallel universe?

Here in Cumbria  the developers of the first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years have already plonked newly well heeled (Chinese money?) feet well and truly under the table in West Cumbria.  The plan is for the mining to extend to within 8km of Sellafield over a 50 year period.

What is going on?  Why havn’t George Monbiot and other prominent climate activists with privileged platforms even raised an eyebrow about this massive coal mine plan?

What is so special about this  first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years that it enjoys such protection from any public scrutiny ?

 

Here below is the Letter from Cumbria County Council

“Please find attached a formal letter from Cumbria County Council notifying you of further submissions relating to the West Cumbria Mining planning application. Kind Regards

Development Control”

Cumbria County Council

Environment & Regulatory Services
County Offices  Busher Walk  Kendal  LA9 4RQ
T: 01539 713 066E: Developmentcontrol@cumbria.gov.uk

Date: 13 December 2018 References: 4/17/9007

Dear Sir/Madam

NOTIFICATION OF AMENDED PROPOSALS AND OTHER INFORMATION SUBMITTED IN RELATION TO A PLANNING APPLICATION ACCOMPANIED BY AN ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT

Regulation 22 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011 (as amended); & Article 15 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015

Ref No: Location:

Proposal:

4/17/9007
Former Marchon Site, High Road, Whitehaven and Land off Mirehouse Road, Pow Beck Valley, south of Whitehaven
Development of:
– a new underground metallurgical coal mine and associated development including: the refurbishment of two existing drifts leading to two new underground drifts; coal storage and processing buildings; office and change building; access road; ventilation, power and water infrastructure; security fencing; lighting; outfall to sea; surface water management system and landscaping at the former Marchon site (High Road) Whitehaven;
– a new coal loading facility and railway sidings linked to the Cumbrian Coast Railway Line with adjoining office / welfare facilities; extension of railway underpass; security fencing; lighting; landscaping; construction of a temporary development compound, and associated permanent access on land off Mirehouse Road, Pow Beck Valley, south of Whitehaven; and
– a new underground coal conveyor to connect the coal processing buildings with the coal loading facility.

I give notice that West Cumbria Mining Ltd has submitted Amended Proposals and Other Information (submitted in December 2018) to Cumbria County Council in respect of the above planning application. The planning application (received on 31 May 2017) was accompanied by an Environmental Statement, and further information relating to the planning application and Environmental Statement was submitted by the applicant in September 2017 and January/February 2018.

Serving the people of Cumbria

cumbria.gov.uk

The purpose of this letter is to notify you that amendments to the proposals and other information have been submitted by the applicant and this are available to view on our website via: planning.cumbria.gov.uk (alongside the rest of the documentation relating to this application). The other information consists of a revised Environmental Statement consolidating and updating the previously submitted environmental information, and has been submitted under Regulation 22 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011.

I also give notice that this proposal would affect Public Rights of Way and the proposed development to which the application relates is situated within 10 metres of relevant railway land. The proposal also includes minor changes to the extent of the planning application boundary.

The main amendments to the proposal include the following:

  •   Avoid the use of the former anhydrite mine and flooded sections of the tunnels to this mineand instead use the upper unflooded sections of these existing tunnels and create two new

    tunnels to enable access to the coal measures;

  •   Introduction of new paste plant associated with the disposal of reject material underground;
  •   Updated assessment of the impacts of subsidence;
  •   Updated surface water drainage proposals;
  •   Introduction of temporary structures/covers associated with the initial land remediationworks on the Marchon site;
  •   Increase in HGV traffic during the construction and operational phases.If you wish to view the amendments to the proposals, including the revised planning application, the plans, the revised Environmental Statement and other documents submitted, alongside the original planning application documents and the further information previously submitted by West Cumbria Mining Ltd, you can do so in the following ways:
  •   At the offices of Copeland Borough Council, Market Hall, Market Place, Whitehaven, CA28 7JG, during their normal opening hours;
  •   At Whitehaven Library, Lowther Street, Whitehaven, CA28 7QZ, during normal opening hours;
  •   At West Cumbria Mining Ltd, Haig Mining Museum, Solway Road, Kells, Whitehaven, CA289BG, during their normal office hours, and
  •   Online via our website at: planning.cumbria.gov.ukMembers of the public may obtain copies of the Amended Proposals and revised Environmental Statement by contacting:
    The Applicant, West Cumbria Mining Ltd, Haig Mining Museum, Solway Road, Kells, Whitehaven, CA28 9BG (tel. 01946 848333 email: info@westcumbriamining.com) so long as stocks last, at a charge of £700.00 for a paper copy and £5.00 for a data disc or data stick copy. The Non- Technical Summary of the Environmental Statement is free of charge.

    All representations that have been previously received by the County Council will be taken into account when determining this application. If you wish to make any comments about the amendments to the scheme or the revised Environmental Statement or any part of the planning application or submitted documents you can do so in writing in the following ways:

    •   On our website via: planning.cumbria.gov.uk
    •   By email to: developmentcontrol@cumbria.gov.uk;
    •   By letter to: Development Control, Cumbria County Council, County Offices, KENDAL, LA94RQ

      If responding via email or letter you must quote the above Planning Application Ref No: 4/17/9007.

If you wish to comment, please do so by 28 January 2019.

This planning application will be reported to the County Council’s Development Control and Regulation Committee in due course. I advise that you look at the County Council’s website to find out when the application is likely to be reported to the Committee for determination.

Your attention is drawn to the fact that any comments you may make on the application will be open to inspection by the applicant and any other person. They may also be included in a report on the planning application to the Development Control and Regulation Committee which will also be available for inspection by the public and press.

Yours faithfully

Mrs Rachel Brophy BA(Hons) MA MRTPI Planning Officer – Development Control

 

 

 

Rebel Against Double Whammy Extinction Event in Cumbria: Coal & Nuclear

Extinction Rebellion seems to be very much in the news just at present.   Here in Cumbria we have our own terrifyingly real threat of extinction.     Not only is there Sellafield with its deadly collection of nuclear waste – we also have an ongoing planning application for a new coal mine reaching under the sea to within 5 miles of the nightmare nuclear site.

West Cumbria Mining have an active planning application with Cumbria County Council to open the first deep coal mine in 30 years.       Given the urgent need to cut carbon emissions this is total madness.   Given the proximity to Sellafield of mining operations, known to cause earth tremors, the proposal does threaten very real extinction here and now.

As far as we can ascertain from the documents available on the Cumbria County Council’s website there has been no consultation with Sellafield concerning the risks of a major nuclear emergency. Seismic disturbance affecting Sellafield would be a very rapid extinction of all life forms within a very wide radius.   And wherever the wind blows. EXTINCTION IN CAPITAL LETTERS ON A HUGE SCALE.

And then there is the carbon.     West Cumbria Mining [WCM] have a way of describing their proposal as the extraction of metallurgical coking coal for the steel industry – implying that somehow the burning of this fossil fuel is somehow different to burning fossil fuels for energy generation.

Burning coal is burning coal – and WCM plan to extract 2.8 million tonnes of it every year during the lifespan of the proposed mine.  Assuming a 40 year life (following construction), and an average of 2 million tonnes a year, that is a total production of 80 million tonnes!

In terms of the Paris agreement and the current Katowice discussions this application must be stopped.

The WCM application and the many letters of concern and objection can be found at https://planning.cumbria.gov.uk/     The Application reference is 4/17/9007

Anyone wishing to comment can write to Rachel Brophy, Senior Planning Officer rachel.brophy@cumbria.gov.uk

The WCM planning application was made in mid 2017. It has been postponed and postponed and postponed by Cumbria’s Planning Committee during all of 2018.   It may, or may not, come to Council early in 2019.

We need to be as vocal and as visible as we can possibly be in opposing this hideous proposal.   It is a very real threat to life on an unimaginable scale far larger than the threat to Guillemots that the RSPB has limited its comments to.

We have with the help of top lawyers Leigh Day ensured that we may still have a chance to stop the plan should Cumbria County Council say yes to this diabolic fossil fuel development.  But lets MAKE SURE CUMBRIA COUNTY COUNCIL SAY A BIG FAT NO!!!

 

MORE INFO

This application may be decided on these dates (tbc)  in the new year by Cumbria County Council’s Development Control and Regulation Committee at County Offices, Kendal

18 Jan 2019 10.00 am

22 Feb 2019 10.00 am

The WCM application and the many letters of concern and objection can be found at https://planning.cumbria.gov.uk/     The Application reference is 4/17/9007

Anyone wishing to comment can write to Rachel Brophy, Senior Planning Officer rachel.brophy@cumbria.gov.uk and ask that your letter is sent to all members of the Development Control and Regulation Committee.

Or write to all members of the Development Control and Regulation Committee – their contact details can be found here

WRITE, PHONE, EMAIL, MAKE A BIG NOISE

 

RSPB - St Bees Black guillemot