Many will have heard by now the awful news that the coal mine in Cumbria has been approved by Government. What the public have not been made aware of despite the banner headlines is the fact that the coal mine CEO Mark Kirkbride is advising Government on the UK Nuclear Dump plan. This nuclear dump advice includes “investigation techniques” which has started with the seismic blasting.
Radiation Free Lakeland’s Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole campaign has delayed the plan repeatedly with the amazing help of lawyers Leigh Day.
This is not the end of the story.
The mine still has to win approval from the Marine Management Organisation in order to mine under the Marine Conservation Zone, under the Irish Sea.
West Cumbria Mining have however told the Planning Inspector “We may not need a Marine Management Organisation Licence.”
We will be fighting to ensure that the coal mine does not bypass this regulatory process (as has happened with the seismic blasting to test the geology for the nuclear dump as advised by the coal boss and carried out under “exemption”)
We continue to be utterly appalled by the lack of attention on:
a) the earthquake potential of this coal mine which is so very close to the worlds largest stockpiles of plutonium at Sellafield, and
b) the appointment of the coal mine CEO Mark Kirkbride as Government advisor on investigation techniques, costings and construction of a very deep hole (Geological Disposal Facility) for heat generating nuclear wastes in the vicinity of the coal mine.
The Planning Inspector in his recommendation to Government stated : “the risk of a seismic event cannot be ruled out” ( Report to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities by Stephen Normington BSc DipTP MRICS MRTPI FIQ FIHE an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State Date 7 April 2022- 21.245.) Radiation Free Lakeland/Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole quoted extensively at the Planning Inquiry from expert reports showing that the coal mine would be “likely to induce seismicity”. The Inspector however concluded that due to the lack of technical expert witnesses from NGOs on earthquake risks to Sellafield “I consider the potential impacts in respect of future seismic events should be afforded limited weight.”
It is beyond belief that the CEO of a seismicity inducing coal mine near Sellafield should be employed by Government as an “invaluable” advisor on nuclear waste burial in a Geological Disposal Facility. The coal mine is in the middle of two target areas for a GDF. Radioactive Waste Management (now Nuclear Waste Services) who are advised by the coal mine CEO signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the British Geological Society in June 2020. The BGS are the very people who should be speaking out about the seismic impacts of the coal mine near Sellafield but they are collaborating with the CEO of the coal mine on nuclear waste dump plans. This is many headed cronyism at the highest level.
Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole (and Nuclear Waste Out) – a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign
“We urge all those speaking against the mine at the public inquiry to give at least a mention to the fact that this coal mine would mine out voids faster than any previous coal mine in UK history and would induce earthquakes and cause subsidence in the Irish Sea and Sellafield area.”
“Earlier this year, the first batch of waste was safely removed from one of the most hazardous sites at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site. “Perhaps they’re going to bury it down the pit,” says a resident with characteristic Cumbrian grit.”
Letter sent to the Planning Inspector Stephen Normington who is due to make a decision on the coal mine any day now….
Dear Mr Normington,
Hope this email finds you well. There is some new material evidence re the coal mine.
Even Facebook it seems could not believe the ‘story’ that 42 houses were to be approved (now approved!) for the Marchon site. Does this mean that Copeland Council believe the mine will not go ahead as who in their right mind would vote unanimously for new houses atop the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years?
with kind regards
Marianne Birkby Radiation Free Lakeland who run the Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole campaign
CLICK ON THE COMMENTS ICON ABOVE TO VOTE NO..If you are on social media there is an opportunity to Vote No to the coal mine – the Whitehaven News has a poll which is so far being populated by pro-mine votes – come on lets show resistance to this diabolic plan which is far more dangerous than the sum of the climate/steel/jobs arguments being promoted.
Q. When is a Coal Mine More Dangerous than the Sum of its Parts??
A. When the Coal Mine Boss is “invaluable” to the UK Government’s Nuclear Dump Plans
CALL OUT FOR ARTISTS who would like to join our Giant Postcard to the Planning Inspector . Poems, photographs and paintings include the beauty and wildlife of the West Coast of Cumbria. Guest artist is the internationally renowned Julian Cooper. As well as the beauty of West Cumbria, nuclear impacts of this coal mine which would be just five miles from Sellafield are also featured in the artworks. The public inquiry into the coal mine will commence on 7th September. It looks like it will be a virtual inquiry (and the details of how to attend are below).
We are going to put together a giant postcard of the artworks produced by our Postcards from Cumbria group to send to the Planning Inspector . The postcard will be a visual reminder of the beauty of Cumbria and what the coal mine could devastate. The coal mine could be a catalyst for a nuclear sacrifice zone. Induced seismicity in the area of the world’s riskiest nuclear waste site is inevitable should the Inspector recommend approval for a deep mine so close to Sellafield.
A Giant Postcard from Cumbria will be sent to the Inspector showing a diversity of amazing artworks, photographs and even poems produced by a group of artists of all ages, including professionals and schoolchildren . If you know of anyone who would like to join the Giant Postcard from Cumbria and have artworks included showing the beauty and character especially of the West Coast of Cumbria – please ask them to get in contact (Wastwater@protonmail.com) or to join the group .https://www.facebook.com/groups/268440254181433
THANK YOU to ALL THE ARTISTS !
Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole and Postcards from Cumbria
INFO on the forthcoming Planning Inquiry below from Cumbria County Council
Applicant’s name: West Cumbria Mining Ltd
Reference: APP/H0900/V/21/3271069I refer to the above planning application and the decision by the Secretary of State to call-in theproposal to be determined by Public Inquiry.The inquiry will commence on 7th September at 10am.
Anyone wishing to participate more fully in the inquiry and take an active part in proceedings mustmake that interest known to the Planning Inspectorate Case Officer as soon as possible prior tothe Inquiry, either by email or telephone after reading the Inquiry Attendance Information set out below.The Case Officer contact at the Planning Inspectorate: Elizabeth Humphrey – firstname.lastname@example.org; tel 0303 444 5384. Inquiry
Before deciding whether to take an active part in the Inquiry, you need to think carefully about the
points you wish to make. All written submissions from application/call in stages will be taken into account by the Inspector and re-stating the same points won’t add any additional weight to them.If you feel that taking part in the Inquiry is right for you in whatever capacity, you can participate in a number of ways: To take part using video, participants will need to have access to Microsoft Teams (via an app orweb browser). This link gives further information on how to use this. https://support.office.com/enus/teams. Alternatively you can take part by telephone. Please note that joining by telephone to the 020 number that will be used will incur charges. You should check actual rates with your provider. https://www.gov.uk/call-chargesIf you wish to just observe the event, you should make that clear in your response to the Case Officer. If you wish to take an active part in the proceedings, please make clear in your responseto the Case Officer whether you wish only to appear at the Inquiry and make a statement, or whether you would also wish to ask questions on particular topics.
If you want to take an active part but feel unable to for any reason, and/or the points you want to make are not covered in the evidence of others, consider whether someone else could raise them on your behalf.Registered participants in whatever capacity will receive individual joining instructions, providing details of any requirements, guidance and support whether joining by Teams or telephone. You should note that the event will be recorded by the Planning Inspectorate for training and quality assurance purposes.The decision will be published on https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/
Mr Paul Haggin Manager Development Control and Sustainable Development – Cumbria County Council
The following is a letter to MP Tim Farron, following a reply from Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP Minister of State for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change, to our unanswered questions.
Thank you for sight of the reply from Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Minister of State for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change.
It was good to hear the Minister say that “I would like to reassure your constituents that Radioactive Waste Management Ltd (RWM), the developer of the GDF, has absolutely no plans to consider coal mines for the geological disposal of radioactive waste, because they are simply not suitable. ” We agree that no one in their right mind – even those focussed on “Delivery” of a Geological Disposal Facility would consider putting a GDF in the vicinity of a coal mine, let alone putting heat generating nuclear waste into a coal mine. This said we have to ask: Why is the coal mine slap bang in the middle of the Cumbria Irish Sea “search area” for a GDF when this subsea methane rich and faulted area is clearly “not suitable” for a GDF ?
CRONYISM – THE MOST BLATANT EXAMPLE EVER IN UK HISTORY?
This question of the relationship between the GDF and the Coal Mine has added piquancy given that the said Coal Mine is the business interest of Mark Kirkbride who is advising the Minister on the GDF having been appointed to a number of key positions on the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management. The Minister does not address the thorny issue of coal/nuclear/private/public cronyism in her reply to you.
To reiterate: In 2011 the same year Charles Hendry MP was prematurely congratulating Cumbria Council on their ‘steps towards geological disposal of hot nuclear wastes’, he was also cutting the ribbon on one Mark Kirkbride’s venture as CEO at Itmsoil a Sussex based International company specialising in instrumentation measuring stress in large scale construction projects. Mark Kirkbride’s Itmsoil company went into Administration in 2014 in order to give ”protection from creditors.” Charles Hendry was the predecessor of Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, he was doing her job with the same responsibility for both the GDF and the Coal Authority.
FINANCIALLY VIABLE ?
The Minister states that the Coal Authority has to be satisfied that the coal mine must prove its financial viability before licences can be issued. We have previously made the point that the coking coal from this mine would not be the premium quality product first vaunted by WCM but would be of a high ash and high sulphur content and most likely unsaleable (as coking coal).
The latest accounts from West Cumbria Mining clearly state that the company is financially unviable. Staff have been laid off, the office in Haywards Heath has closed, the secretive financial backer is prepared to stand the cost until the end of the planning process and a third party funder says they are prepared to fund development, whatever that development is as we have not been given sight of it.
In fact No one has had sight of the latest licence applications from WCM as the Coal Authority is deferring to Mark Kirkbride’s wish not to make his development plans public. Given the relationship between WCM, CoRWM and with BEIS who have ultimate responsibility for both the Coal Authority and CoRWM this is an example of epic cronyism WCM have made much of employment of the local workforce but the Directors have a past record of using administration tactics to avoid paying creditors and then rise phoenix like into another incarnation. The amount of money spent by WCM on political lobbying (New Century Media/Tony Lodge – cosy visits by Mark Kirkbride with MP Trudy Harrison to BEIS) is in the £millions. It is clear that PR and political and financial chicanery is more important than keeping the WCM office staff on.
The paperwork has already been put into place by WCM to ensure that when it all goes pear shaped (or to plan?) WCM’s land and assets go to EMR Capital who are acting on behalf of other parties.
Further Questions include:
Why is Mark Kirkbride’s coal mine included slap bang in the middle of the Irish Sea “search area” for a GDF when as the Minister has confirmed this subsea methane rich and heavily faulted area is clearly “not suitable” ?
Why has the Coal Authority not stepped in already Blocked the Licences and prevented an expensive public inquiry for a development that local planners no longer support and is financially insecure? WCM’s latest accounts indicate financial insecurity with staff lay offs to “cut costs.” The coal mine with its high ash and high sulphur coal is no longer/never was financially viable.
Finally and perhaps most importantly but most ignored, Sellafield’s infrastructure just five miles away is at serious risk from this coal mine (notwithstanding the nonchalance of the Office for Nuclear Regulation). On the Sellafield site, the Magnox Swarf Silo for example has unknown leaks from unknown cracks in the concrete containment which is partly beneath ground. Sellafield have last month asked for help in finding and mitigating the leak of 550 gallons per day of radioactive liquor into groundwater beneath the site from unknown cracks. Fracking was halted because of earthquake risk and yet the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering have stated that coal mining induced earthquakes are of a magnitude greater than fracking : “Seismicity induced by hydraulic fracturing is likely to be of smaller magnitude than the UK’s largest natural seismic events and those induced by coal mining”. Sellafield is on the Lake District Boundary Fault and WCM plans to abstract profligate amounts of ground water from their newly voided mine via the Byerstead Fault – no one knows how these faults relate to each other. Why aren’t lessons being learnt in the Sellafield area from the fracking experience in the Blackpool area when coal mine induced seismicity is of a magnitude greater than that of fracking?
Many thanks for persisting with our questions to Ministers.
Thank you for your email dated 11 May, to the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, on behalf of your constituents, regarding the West Cumbria Mine. I am responding as this matter falls within my Ministerial portfolio.
The Coal Authority’s duties about licensing are set out in statute – in the 1994 Coal Industry Act – and to operate a coal mine an operator needs relevant rights and permissions including planning permission, a licence from the Coal Authority and to notify the Health and Safety Executive.
In general terms planning permission covers local social, economic and environmental aspects – i.e. is this the right place for this activity? whereas, a coal mining licence considers practicalities – can the mine operate in a way that is effective and financially underpinned to ensure that any land or property impacted can be compensated and the mine eventually closed in a safe and appropriate way. The Health and Safety Executive considers whether the operations can be undertaken safely.
When assessing an application for a coal mining licence, the Coal Authority are required to consider:
Whether the applicant can finance coal mining operations and related liabilities
The nature of the land or property that may be impacted by subsidence and that damage can be properly compensated by the operator.
That the operation will be carried out by properly experienced people In the case of West Cumbria Mining, this is what the Coal Authority will be assessing in consideration of the operator’s application to extend the term of their conditional licences. A conditional licence does not allow coal mining operations to commence (the purpose of a conditional licence is explained in the link above). As you are aware, planning permission for this mine is subject to an inquiry and it would not be appropriate to comment on the outcome of that but as outlined above, the Coal Authority assesses applications to it based on the duties set out in its enabling legislation.
To disclose the financial matters and commercial activity of the mine operator would be a breach of confidence to the clauses within their licence and their commercial interests. The Coal Authority also has a duty under S59 of the Coal Industry Act 1994 to ensure that it maintains confidentiality in respect of the business affairs of any individual or a business. Whilst the Coal Authority may be asked to input on aspects such as the history of the site or the quality of the coal, its processes are distinct and separate to that of planning and therefore any planning enquiry.
Given the Coal Authority’s duties under s59 of the Coal Industry Act, the Coal Authority have advised they would not disclose details of the application without the applicant’s consent.
Your constituents are also concerned that the coal mining licence applications are in some way linked to the process to find a site for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).
I would like to reassure your constituents that Radioactive Waste Management Ltd (RWM), the developer of the GDF, has absolutely no plans to consider coal mines for the geological disposal of radioactive waste, because they are simply not suitable.
The process to identify a site for a GDF is based on positive support from a willing community together with a suitable site. No sites have yet been selected. Two Working Groups (the first formal step in the process) have been formed in West Cumbria – in Allerdale and in Copeland – with more expected to be announced in England later this year. It is the Working Groups which will identify the initial search areas for a location for the GDF. The site selection process will stretch over several years and the decision to go ahead at a prospective location will ultimately be subject to a test of public support. It can only proceed if the community wishes it to proceed.
Thank you once again for taking the time to write. I hope you will find this reply helpful. Yours sincerely,
THE RT HON ANNE-MARIE TREVELYAN MP
Minister of State for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change
Bottom image is West Cumbria Mining licence application areas for under the Irish Sea – the black bits are known land and sea coal reserves. Details of the latest applications from the developers are being withheld from public view.
Thank you so much to everyone for donating to Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole – a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign. Further Donations mean that we will be able to continue to have the expert advice of lawyers Leigh Day to call upon.
The Coal Authority are refusing to give the public sight of the latest licence applications from West Cumbria Mining despite our repeated calls for them to do so
At Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole’s request Tim Farron MP has sent a letter to the Coal Authority urging them to at least ensure the Planning Inspector at the forthcoming Inquiry has sight of the licences.
The inquiry is, I believe, flawed in many other respects. Not least because the County Council have now withdrawn their planning approval for the mine. We wonder if there are any other cases of a public inquiry having been held into an approval decision that no longer stands? The Coal boss Mark Kirkbride has been appointed to advise the government on “Delivery” of a deep geological nuclear dump for the UK’s heat generating nuclear wastes. NO-one in their right mind would think of burying heat generating nuclear waste in or under a coal mine however, the proposed coal mine is slap bang in the middle of the subsea “search area” for a GDF.
The coal mine development will now be ultimately decided upon by government – the same government who have appointed the coal boss to advise them on nuclear dump plans. Crazy creepy or what?
It is remarkable to put it mildly that non of this blatant cronyism has been reported in the media or raised any NGO eyebrows given the huge public interest in this coal mine (the public interest is largely thanks to the help of all who have donated to Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole).
I have copied our latest press release, (ignored by the press) to the Society of Editors to ask if there is a reason for the silence – maybe it just isn’t newsworthy? (!!)
With all best wishes
Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole – a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign
We have been directed to you following a FOI to the Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee following the worrying lack of reporting on the appointment of the CEO of Cumbria Coal mine to the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management. There has been acres of press on the climate impacts of the Cumbria Coal Mine in contrast to nothing (apart from in the Isle of Man) on the cronyism surrounding the appointment of the coal boss Mark Kirkbride to CoRWM.
Our latest press release to national and local press is below. So far we have had no response. If this has not got a DA notice on it then we wonder why the silence on this serious issue.
If you can shed any light on why there appears to be a media black out we would be very grateful.
with kind regards
Marianne Birkby on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland
CUMBRIA COAL MINE’S LICENCE APPLICATIONS SHROUDED IN “ALICE IN WONDERLAND” SECRECY.
In a letter sent to the Coal Authority today, the nuclear safety campaigners who were the first to raise opposition to the Cumbrian Coal Mine back in 2017, say that the forthcoming Public Inquiry would be “invalid and an entirely profligate waste of public money”. This is, they say, because “Cumbria County Council has now withdrawn its planning approval for the mine and the latest Cumbrian coal mine licence applications are shrouded in secrecy”
The controversial coal mine developers, West Cumbria Mining (WCM), have applied for two new applications which Radiation Free Lakeland (RaFL) have repeatedly asked for sight of under Freedom of Information. The Coal Authority have replied to the campaign group saying that: “the Operator (WCM) does not give permission to have their applications disclosed…for the reasons (of operator confidentiality) set out in the public interest test.”
Another twist in the long held opposition to the mine by nuclear campaigners is that the CEO of the coal mine, Mark Kirkbride was appointed in 2019 (in the days following the County Council’s coal mine approval) to the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management. CoRWM are the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy appointed body who advise government on ‘Delivery of a Geological Disposal Facility” for high level nuclear wastes. RaFL have long argued that the coal mine is primarily a “Trojan Horse to embed the infrastructure in Cumbria for a deep nuclear dump.”
Marianne Birkby, the founder of Radiation Free Lakeland who set in motion a Judicial Review against the coal mine with environmental lawyers Leigh Day, has said: “For the Coal Authority to say that it is in the public interest to protect the wishes of the developer in non-disclosure is very Alice in Wonderland like. Disclosure of Information regarding developments which would produce emissions is a legal obligation. Emissions in the case of this uniquely dangerous coal mine would include not only CO2, and methane (the developer’s exploratory boreholes have already accidentally hit a methane pocket a few miles from Sellafield under the Irish Sea’) but also radioactive emissions from resuspension of 70 years worth of Sellafield’s wastes resulting from the “likely subsidence” of the Irish Sea bed. There is also the possibility of seismic damage to Sellafield’s infrastructure. A haiirline crack which would be of negligible damage anywhere else, could be catastrophic at Sellafield, the world’s riskiest nuclear waste site.”
The campaign group’s letter to the Coal Authority today concludes that ” disclosure of the licence applications would be the right thing to do, both from a legal aspect and from the Coal Authority’s stated ideals of public interest, openess, transparency and safeguarding”.
LETTER TO COAL AUTHORITY SEE BELOW
Radiation Free Lakeland are running two major campaigns:
On Monday, July 5th, 2021 at 8:44 AM, Wastwater wrote:
Thank you for your email explaining the Coal Authority’s reasoning as to why they will not disclose West Cumbria Mining’s new applications to extend/vary their original 2013/14 licences. It is of huge concern that the Coal Authority is deferring to the developer Mark Kirkbride of West Cumbria Mining in non-disclosure. How can the public inquiry due to start in September be valid when the public and the Inspector have not had sight of the developer’s plans? Our MP Tim Farron has written to BEIS, asking that the Planning Inquiry Inspector should have full sight of West Cumbria Mining’s latest licence applications.
There are serious concerns too about the blatant cronyism between the controversial Government policy for “Delivery” of a Geological Disposal Facility for nuclear wastes and Mark Kirkbride CEO of West Cumbria Mining. Kirkbride has been appointed by BEIS to the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management and has delivered initial costing estimates to government for mining a deep geological disposal facility for heat generating nuclear wastes within the same “search” area as his coal mine (Kirkbride Costing for opening coal mine = £160M / Kirkbride Cost estimate for opening a GDF = £1.7 Billion ‘just for the hole’ using same suppliers as the coal mine)
For the Coal Authority to say that it is in the public interest to protect the wishes of the developer in non-disclosure is very Alice in Wonderland like. Disclosure of Information regarding developments which would produce emissions is a legal obligation. We note the following in relation to release of information to the public about developments which would produce emissions:
“How is information relating to emissions treated differently? – regulation 12(9)
The Regulations stress transparency and openness in relation to information about emissions. They provide a greater right of access to information about emissions – regulation 12(9) removes the right to rely on certain exceptions if someone requests information is on emissions.
When requested information is on emissions, you cannot rely on the exceptions at:
regulation 12(5)(d) – confidentiality of the proceedings of a public authority
regulation 12(5)(e) – confidentiality of commercial or industrial information
regulation 12(5)(f) – interests of the person who provided the information
regulation 12(5)(g) – protection of the environment to which the information relates.
Emissions in the case of this uniquely dangerous coal mine would include not only CO2, and methane (the developer’s exploratory boreholes have already accidentally hit a methane pocket a few miles from Sellafield under the Irish Sea’) but also radioactive emissions from resuspension of 70 years worth of Sellafield’s radioactive waste discharge in the “likely subsidence” (say WCM) of the Irish Sea bed. There is also the possibility of seismic damage to Sellafield’s infrastructure – a hairline crack of negligible damage anywhere else could be catastrophic at Sellafield. A “negligible” risk of seismic damage is too much in this vicinity.
We believe that disclosure of the licence applications would be the right thing to do both from a legal aspect and from the Coal Authority’s ideals of public interest, openess, transparency and safeguarding.
We ask the Coal Authority again for full sight of West Cumbria Mining’s latest licence applications with reference to the following:
“There is a presumption in favour of disclosure. The public authority must weigh the public interest arguments for maintaining the exception in regulation 12(5)(b) against those for disclosure. General principles of regulation 12(5)(b) 5. Under EIR regulation 5(1), public authorities are under a duty to make available environmental information that has been requested. Regulations 12(4) and 12(5) provide exceptions to this duty. 6. The exceptions under regulation 12(5) allow a public authority to refuse to disclose environmental information where “its disclosure would adversely affect” the interests listed in each exception. 7. The public authority must apply a presumption in favour of disclosure, both in engaging the exception and in carrying out the public interest test. https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1625/course_of_justice_and_inquiries_exception_eir_guidance.pdf “
CONCLUSIONS AND ACTIONS
All the information within WCM’s latest licence applications should be made available in the public interest (financial information could be redacted).
MP Tim Farron has at our request written to the Secretary of State for BEIS to ask that the latest full licence applications are made available to the Inspector in the forthcoming Planning Inquiry into the coal mine .
Without full sight of the latest licence applications to the Coal Authority from the developer, – the public and the Planning Inquiry cannot make independent judgements on the severity of the likely emissions. Emissions include CO2, Methane and Radioactive Emissions from Sellafield’s nuclear wastes which are now largely sitting in the seabed but would be resuspended with “likely subsidence” of the Sellafield Mud Patch.
Sellafield’s infrastructure just five miles away is at serious risk from this coal mine notwithstanding the nonchalance of the Office for Nuclear Regulation. On the Sellafield site, the Magnox Swarf Silo for example has unknown leaks from unknown cracks in the concrete containment which is partly beneath ground. Sellafield have last month asked for help in finding and mitigating the leak of 550 gallons per day of radioactive liquor into groundwater beneath the site from unknown cracks. Fracking was halted because of earthquake risk and yet the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering have stated that coal mining induced earthquakes are of a magnitude greater than fracking : “Seismicity induced by hydraulic fracturing is likely to be of smaller magnitude than the UK’s largest natural seismic events and those induced by coal mining”.
Without full disclosure of the latest licence applications the forthcoming coal mine planning inquiry is, we believe, invalid and an entirely profligate use of public money, especially as Cumbria County Council has now withdrawn its planning approval for the mine.
Withdrawal of planning approval for the coal mine from the local planning authority, Cumbria County Council should be honoured by the Coal Authority and BEIS.
In all conscience the Coal Authority and BEIS should act to ensure that the coal mine plan is scrapped with immediate effect. This would avoid the profligate expense of a worse than useless Public Inquiry whose findings (in any event) would be null and void given the lack of social and legal licence from the Local Planning Authority and the non-disclosure of West Cumbria Mining’s latest licence applications.
We are asking the Coal Authority one more time for sight of West Cumbria Mining’s latest licence applications before escalating this as a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner.
Marianne Birkby on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland
Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole
Lakes Against Nuclear Dump
Copied to BEIS, Tim Farron MP, Planning Inspectorate
Negligible Risk of Induced Seismicity near Sellafield is too much. “An interactive workshop on Tuesday, May 25 2021…Sellafield are seeking ideas, innovations and technologies capable of game changing solutions to prevent or minimise leaks from Magnox Swarf Silo Storage. Current leak rates are around 1.5 – 2.5 m3/d and Sellafield want to reduce these as much as possible.The concrete silos, built in three stages between 1962-1982, contain magnesium cladding, or swarf, stripped from Magnox fuel prior to reprocessing. The swarf is stored underwater in the silos but, over time, the stored contents corrode, releasing heat and hydrogen…”
Request for Internal Review under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
I write in connection with your request for an Internal Review, which was received by The Coal Authority on 9 April 2021.
An independent review has now taken place with regard to your original Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) request and response, our reference FOI 71-2020. The review has considered the reasons stated in your appeal and the legislative compliance under the Act.
My findings are as follows:
Your Freedom of Information Act request was received on 4 March 2021 and following our extension of the deadline to consider a public interest test we responded to you on 7 April 2021, complying with the legislative response requirements.
I have considered your arguments in the application of exemptions Section 43(2) Commercial Interests and Section 44(1)(a) Prohibition on disclosure relying upon Section 59(1)(a)(b) of the Coal Industry Act 1994.
The Coal Authority is still determining the two applications and following a request to the Operator as to whether they would assist in any disclosure requirements the Operator does not give permission to have their applications disclosed.
I am in agreement with the application of exemption Section 43(2) for the reasons set out in the public interest test. The commercial interests of the operator must also be considered.
In conclusion, I uphold the decision of the response dated 7 April 2021 not to disclose the West Cumbria Mining Ltd applications for a variation to existing Conditional Licences UND/0177/N and UND/0184/N.
Request for disclosure under Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR)
On 13 April 2021, the Coal Authority received your request that the West Cumbria Mining Ltd applications’ for a variation to existing Conditional Licences UND/0177/N and UND/0184/N be considered for disclosure under Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).
The Coal Authority has considered whether the public interest favours disclosure or whether it favours maintenance of the relevant exception. When considering this exception the Coal Authority has considered the presumption in favour of disclosure in accordance with Regulation 12(2) of the EIR. The Coal Authority has taken into account the following public interests arguments when considering your request:
The interest in the Authority being transparent and accountable to the public, and the public being able to better participate in environmental decision-making. The information that is contained in the application forms constitutes technical or commercial information. That information requires consideration by the Authority as the expert regulator in the context of its duties within the Coal Industry Act 1994 and these are not matters upon which the public are required to be consulted. In this context the public interest is satisfied by the Coal Authority disclosing the fact that an application for coal mining operations exists and is available on the Coal Authority’s website.
The interest in the public understanding how coal resources are exploited by private entities in England and Wales. However, the same point applies as above with regard to how this interest is met.
The Coal Authority also considers the following arguments to apply in favour of maintaining this exception:
The exception protects confidentiality provided by law. By way of Section 59 of the Coal Industry Act 1994 this specifically provides for the confidentiality of information provided by commercial operators and the Authority also consider that the common law duty of confidence is engaged in these circumstances. There is a strong public interest in ensuring that such confidentiality is maintained.
If the information within these applications were to be made public then applicants may be less inclined to voluntarily provide information within the application forms, which could negatively impact the application process. In determining applications the Coal Authority is required to undertake important considerations in relation to potential subsidence, health
and safety, and ensuring that the operator applicant is able to finance the proper carrying on of the mining operations and discharge any liabilities related to those operations. All of these matters could impact upon the public and it is of primary importance that the Coal Authority is able to effectively undertake its role as expert regulator. The Coal Authority needs to be able to do this in an environment that is considered to be a “safe space” by the Applicant where they are prepared to be fully transparent with the Coal Authority as regulator and not inhibited in the information they provide.
The same public interest arguments in favour of disclosure apply as in relation to Regulation 12(5)(d) above. The Authority also considers the following to apply:
There are a number of primary issues that require consideration in determining a licence application including ensuring that the Coal Authority is satisfied that there are sufficient finances for the project, including sufficient finances to provide appropriate security to address potential issues such as subsidence. This requires the disclosure of sensitive financial information, as well as information gathered by the applicant in relation to the proposed site and which is not otherwise available to their competitors. If this information is made publicly available then the applicant may be less inclined to be transparent with the Coal Authority in relation to such matters, which could negatively impact upon the considerations to be undertaken by the Coal Authority. The Coal Authority therefore considers there to be a legitimate economic interest of operators that there is a public interest in maintaining.
In light of the above, the Coal Authority considers that the public interest weighs in favour of maintaining this exception.
The Coal Authority refuses your request under Regulation 14(3)(a) in relation to the application of the first exception Regulation 12(5)(d).
Memorandum attached to our Evidence to the Public Inquiry.
5/5/21 Memorandum from Radiation Free Lakeland
Applicant’s name: West Cumbria Mining Ltd
Call-in reference: APP/H0900/V/21/3271069
We would like to make it clear regarding the Byerstead Fault that County Councillors were, as far as we can see, not properly appraised of West Cumbria Mining’s profligate need for fresh water and what the likely impacts of such a huge, ongoing withdrawal of groundwater from the area would be.
We note that the developer’s “Project Description” predicts water usage at 261m3/h. Rather conveniently the water ‘available’( largely from the Byerstead Fault and newly mined voids) is stated as being 262 m3/h. This is an enormous amount of water and would inevitably impact groundwater and geology. This was not discussed at all by councillors who were satisfied with the developer’s assurances that 98 m3/h of the water would be “recycled.” We believe the councillors have been deliberately misled into believing that 98% of the total water would be recycled.
The water that West Cumbria Mining envisage obtaining due to ingress from the Byerstead Fault is 136m3/h. This is far higher than the threshold above which an abstraction licence from the Environment Agency is required, and the Officers’ Report for 19 March 2019 notes at para.6.329 that “the removal of water from the mine would require an abstraction licence”. The Environment Agency have told us there are no applications for abstraction. There is no indication in Environmental Statement Ch.5 of how water will be obtained if the mines experience lower levels of water ingress than predicted (Public Supply? Sharing Sellafield’s Supply?).
Historically “Mine pumping in the Cumbrian Coalfield has abstracted up to about 20% of the reliable yield, dominating the flow pattern, and drawing in sea water to pollute the aquifers. Chemical analyses of mine drainage water reflect the infiltrated sea water, but suggest that normal groundwater is probably a sodium sulphate type with subordinate amounts of chloride. Mine workings in the Northumberland and Durham Coalfield were extensively interconnected and pumping maintained a water table at about 150 m below the ground surface. With the end of mining activity, groundwater levels are rising.” http://earthwise.bgs.ac.uk/index.php/Hydrogeology_and_water_supply,_geology_and_man,_Northern_England
We note that the County Council’s Minerals and Waste Local Plan states:
16.38 With respect to mineral applications, there is a requirement to establish the relationship that the development has with the water table. If the base of the excavation is near or below the anticipated water table, then there will be a requirement to establish an appropriate monitoring scheme. In some circumstances, the development may be considered unacceptable if it is carried out below the level of the water table.
16.39 The current licensing exemption on dewatering is likely to be removed in 2017, subject to Ministerial approval, after which, dewatering activities will be brought into regulation by the Environment Agency.
ENHANCED SEISMICITY DUE TO MINE DEWATERING “human activity – like water extraction – can cause the stress to be released quickly, rather than dissipating slowly over time. “It’s not just that you’re advancing an earthquake that would have happened anyway. It’s that you’re creating more or larger earthquakes,” https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22403-thirst-for-groundwater-caused-fatal-earthquake/#ixzz6tzBoSKIO Given the common knowledge that the activities of mining and dewatering can induce seismicity it is puzzling as to why Cumbria County Council have not demanded bullet proof evidence from the regulators that this mine would be safe. This mine is not just anywhere it is 8km from Selalfield. A recent paper explains that the Sellafield site area is at high risk of liquefaction. https://pygs.lyellcollection.org/content/62/2/116/tab-figures-data The lack of scrutiny on impacts is especially troubling as the County Council has a key role to play in the new regulatory requirements demanded by the Outlying Planning Zone of 50km from Sellafield “Cumbria County Council has accepted the report at a meeting of the cabinet, which was chaired by Cllr Stewart Young. “It demonstrates the role of the county council in the nuclear industry,” he said. “This new concept of an Outlying Planning Zone is new. The zone is determined by kilometres from the centre of the Sellafield site. It takes you way beyond the boundaries of Copeland, showing that other areas of Cumbria would also be affected by a serious incident. “It includes BAE and the docks at Barrow. So, the implications of an accident are so significant for the whole county. It is a responsibility that sits then with Cumbria County Council as well as Barrow, Copeland and Allerdale. This is an important piece of work.” https://www.in-cumbria.com/news/18753183.sellafield-nuclear-disaster-spread-across-cumbria—new-map-shows/https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/elibrary/Content/Internet/533/561/44148123654.pdf We reiterate our request to the Planning Inquiry that Water and Nuclear Impacts are not only included but that they are central to the considerations of the Inquiry. These issues are important (not just to Cumbria) and we feel strongly that they must not be smothered under the blanket of climate concern. yours sincerely Marianne Bennett (aka Birkby) on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland
Royal Biographer, Robert Hardman’s gushing, pro-coal, pro-nuclear zealotry in the Daily Mail has been received with excited shouts of triumph from coal and nuclear fanatics Trudy Harrison MP and others. Triumphalism is the stock in trade for Royal Biographers and the article in the Daily Mail is so utterly awful it is difficult to know how to begin to counter the propaganda. A cynic might say the Royal Biographer is just doing his job of protecting the Royal Assets. West Cumbria Mining have already paid mega-bucks to the Crown Estate for “Exploration Rights” under the Irish Sea, the Crown own the mineral rights of the sea-bed. Imagine how many millions the coal mine’s Exploitation Rights would be worth to the Crown Estate over the decades of creating a void the size of Scafell under the Irish Sea – and a full 25% goes to the Royal Purse.
This below is a letter I wrote to the Daily Mail following the Royal Biographers Brazen PR stunt for the coal mine.
Like so much of our work in opposing the coal mine and exposing the nuclear agenda, the letter is unpublished.
Coal Dream or Nuclear Nightmare?
Robert Hardman is wrong on every count in his Cumbria Coal “Story” (31.3.21 The eco-zealots who want to send a colliery town’s dream up in smoke: Metropolitan bien pensants’ demolition of the Cumbrian community’s hugely popular plan will be worse for the environment)
West Cumbria is far from “living contentedly” with Sellafield’s decades of bullying and discharges of radioactive wastes, including into the Irish Sea under which the coal mine is planned. In 2017 long Before Extinction Rebellion was even a thing It was local nuclear safety campaigners, many living in Whitehaven, who first blew the whistle on the coal mine, were ignored by national press, blocked from the mine’s “feel good” face book page and told to go “get a conscience” by the coal mine boss. The reason Mr Hardman didn’t see “a bat squeak of protest” is because unlike the recently banner strewn Preston New Road frack site the mine bosses (“currently focussed on coal” !) immediately remove every single trace of opposition. No dissent is allowed! Mr Hardman should’ve asked if people are “content” that the mine boss has been outrageously hired by Government to offer advice on plans for a massive nuclear waste dump under the Irish Sea. Or if West Cumbria is happy to have handed over the socially important £2.5M Heritage Lottery Funded Haig Colliery Mining Museum to the coal mine bosses for just £1. Or if people are “content” that the coal mine would impact their supplies of domestic water which are largely drawn from boreholes near Sellafield in order to “save” Ennerdale. There is only one thing worse than opening up a new coal mine and thats opening up a coal mine whose boss is hired by government to “deliver a Geological Disposal Facility.” for hot nuclear waste under the Irish Sea. The ‘heroic’ coal mine story is just that – a story to hide a nuclear nightmare.
Radiation Free Lakeland (who run the Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole campaign)
St Bees, where the coal mine would extend to. Sellafield is five miles away, clearly visible.
A public inquiry into the Coal Mine has been scheduled for September. The enormous expense of a public inquiry could be spared if the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng MP put his ‘coal mine should be blocked’ words into action and put the kaibosh on renewal of the developer’s licence to drill. The letter asking for an immediate block on the licence to drill has been signed by organisations as diverse as the Ethical Consumer Research Association, CND and the Sea Horse Trust. Leading academics have also signed along with Whitehaven locals. Asking the public to pay for an expensive inquiry into a coal mine that is guaranteed to flout climate and nuclear safety and would end up being a stranded asset at a time of austerity is bonkers – the mine could be stopped today.
Here is the letter sent on Friday…
To the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng Secretary of State for BEIS
BLOCK THE CUMBRIA COAL MINE’S LICENCE TO DRILL
I am writing to you again on behalf of nuclear safety group Radiation Free Lakeland. We were the first to call out the proposed coal mine development in Cumbria and remain unequivocally opposed to the plan on both climate and nuclear safety grounds so we were delighted to hear your statement that there are “very compelling reasons” to block the mine.
BEIS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COAL AUTHORITY
The position of Secretary of State grants the wherewithal to put these words into action and to actually block the coal mine by ordering the Coal Authority (who report to BEIS) not to renew or extend existing conditional licenses or grant new unconditional licences to the developers West Cumbria Mining whose licence to drill has now lapsed.
BLOCK THE COAL MINE, SAVE THE PUBLIC PURSE EXPENSIVE PUBLIC INQUIRY
This would save the public purse the huge expense of a public inquiry and send a strong message to the UK and our international neighbours that BEIS is committed to both climate and nuclear safety.
THIS IS NOT “ANYWHERE” IT WOULD BE FIVE MILES FROM SELLAFIELD
While the significant climate impacts of this coal mine would be exactly the same anywhere else in the UK, this coal mine is not just anywhere in the UK. The mine would be largely subsea off the West Coast of Cumbria, would extend to within five miles of the world’s riskiest nuclear waste site and be directly under a massive nuclear waste dump known as the Sellafield Mud Patch. Sellafield has been pumping eight million litres of “low level” radioactive discharges into the Irish Sea every day. It been doing that for decades and nuclear wastes still continue to arrive in West Cumbria. The nuclear waste discharge pipeline out to the Irish Sea is in constant use. The coal mine developers say there would be “expected subsidence” of the Irish Sea bed. Recent reports (attached) have indicated this would most likely result in the resuspension of decades worth of Sellafield’s radioactive wastes now largely immobilised in the Irish Sea bed. Radioactive wastes including plutonium would be resuspended back into the water column, to ours and to neighbouring shores. The one thing not to do with a radioactive waste dump is disturb it.
EIGHT YEARS SINCE THE COAL AUTHORITY/BEIS RUBBERSTAMPED ORIGINAL CONDITIONAL LICENCE TO DRILL EXPLORATORY BOREHOLES. NEW EVIDENCE
The world has changed since the Coal Authority issued West Cumbria Mining with conditional licences 8 years ago. Eight years ago there was no public scrutiny as the Coal Authority was permitted to issue licences above the heads of the public and Cumbrian councillors. Eight years on and many miles of subsea ‘exploratory’ mining boreholes and core samples later, questions of climate and nuclear safety are being asked about this coal mine. Despite the controversy the Coal Authority have replied directly to us saying that there would be no public consultation into issuing West Cumbria Mining with new licences to drill, this is outrageous.
APPOINTMENT OF COAL BOSS TO GOVERNMENT ADVISOR ON NUCLEAR DUMP
As well as being under decades of Sellafield’s discharged nuclear wastes the mine itself would be adjacent to the area being promoted as a possible Geological Disposal Facility for heat generating nuclear wastes under the Irish Sea. BEIS’s wide ranging responsibilities include the provision of and management of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM). The CEO of the coal mine Mark Kirkbride has been appointed by BEIS to CoRWM (Nov 2019) to advise government on ‘Delivery” of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). The proposed coal mine would make a void of 136 Million square metres. What destabilising impact would this have on the laterally neighbouring rocks Radioactive Waste Management (advised by CoRWM) tell us are “Possible” for a GDF
PUBLIC INQUIRY WOULD LIKELY BE LIMITED IN SCOPE – THERE ARE QUESTIONS SUCH AS COAL AUTHORITY/BEIS INVOLVEMENT IN HANDING OVER OF HAIG COLLIERY FOR £1 TO COAL MINE DEVELOPERS
These questions (and more) should, but are not likely to be within the remit of a forthcoming public inquiry focussing on planning rather than issues of governance and nuclear safety. The public have already paid out £millions for this coal mine, to be precise, £2.5 Million in Heritage Lottery Funds for the Haig Colliery Museum which was then handed over to the developers for £1 (courtesy of the Coal Authority handing the developers a pre-emption right).
As Secretary of State responsible for the Coal Authority you could ensure that the public do not have to foot the bill yet again, this time for a public inquiry into a coal mine that should have been scrapped yesterday. Tomorrow would be a good day to order the Coal Authority not to issue West Cumbria Mining with licence to drill. By taking this action the coal mine would be blocked and the expense of a public inquiry prevented.
LEADING CUMBRIAN COUNCILLORS HAD ALREADY CHANGED THEIR MINDS AND VOTED NO. A NEW APPRAISAL BY COUNCIL IS NOW SUPERCEDED BY PUBLIC INQUIRY
Leading Cumbrian Councillors had already reassessed their former support for the mine and voted “no.” Through this No vote they have voiced their opposition alongside leading academics, scientists, politicians, the public and many organisations. We urge you to honour the wishes of leading Cumbrian councillors and the millions of people represented by this letter and block this coal mine. The reasons for doing so are not just “compelling” they are overwhelming.
The mine could be stopped tomorrow and the buck stops with BEIS.
Marianne Birkby, founder of Radiation Free Lakeland Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole – a RaFL campaign Brian Jones, Vice Chair, CND Cymru Jo Smoldon on Behalf of Stop Hinkley Jonathon Porritt, Rebecca Heaton Cooper, The Heaton cooper studio, Grasmere Terry Bennett, Emeritus Professor, Nottingham University Kate Hudson, General Secretary, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Anita Stirzaker, Bowness business owner Alison Denwood, George and Dragon Public House, Harrington, West Cumbria Harry Doloughan, Whitehaven Simon Burdis, Northern England, family carer Philip Gilligan, South Lakeland and Lancaster District CND Dave Webb, Chair, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament David Smythe, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Glasgow Dr Paul Dorfman, UCL Energy Institute Dr Rachel Western Postcards from Cumbria – artists collectiveDavid and Una Hatton, Wigton, Cumbria, Sarah J Darby BSc DPhil Associate Professor, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford Samagita Moisha, Lancaster. Concerns for nuclear safety presented to Cumbria CC at both committee hearings Tim Deere-Jones, Marine Research & Consultancy Joan West, Cumbria and Lancashire Area CND Martin Kendall, Resident High Walton, Near Whitehaven Oliver Tickell, journalist and campaigner Irene Sanderson, North Cumbria Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Walter Bennett, I am 90 years of age, born in Frizington, Cumberland, son of a coal miner, (former Director responsible for Technology in an International Company) Dr Carl Iwan Clowes OBE, Fellow Royal College of Physicians Faculty of Public Health, Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners Mag Richards, WANA, the Welsh Anti-Nuclear Alliance Ian Ralls, Anti-Nuclear Campaigner Neil Wilson, Life Long Conservationist, Hodbarrow Mine Action to the Royal Courts of Justice London Greenpeace, Core Participant within Undercover Policing Public Inquiry (Spycops) Richard Bramhall, Low Level Radiation Campaign David Penney, Coordinator, Cumbria and Lancashire Area CND Martyn Lowe, Close Capenhurst Campaign Andrew Warren, former special advisor to the House of Commons environment select committee. Neil Garrick-Maidment FBNA, Executive Director and Founder, The Seahorse Trust Christine Gibson, Keep it Green, Northern Ireland
Mark Jennings, West Cumbria Water (Save our water services} David Dane, Veteran Campaigner
Rob Harrison, Ethical Consumer Research Association.
BEIS Ministerial Responsibility for the Coal Authority
“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 frameworkwithin 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”
Letter from the Coal Authority (who are a BEIS authority) to Radiation Free Lakeland
.”This site currently has 3 conditional licences which have been in place since 2013/14. A conditional licence allows coal exploration and would need to be replaced by a full licence in order for coaling to begin. On 18th January 2021 date West Cumbria Mining Ltd applied to extend the end dates of 2 of these conditional licences (UND/0184 & UND/0177). They were due to expire on 24th January 2021 but they will remain in place until the application to extend them has been determined. No exploratory works will be undertaken during this time. The application will take approximately 3 months to determine. If the conditional licences were extended the operator would still need to apply for one or more full coaling licences before coaling can begin. When the conditional licence extension application has been determined the outcome will be posted on our website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coal-mining-licenceapplications.
note: the Coal Authority later confirmed there would be no public consultation or scrutiny over the issuing of new licences to drill for West Cumbria Mining.
Poor beleaguered Cumbria County Council – first we (Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole) issue legal proceedings against them for giving the green light to the faux “environmentally friendly” “carbon neutral” coal mine and now West Cumbria Mining plan to start legal action against the council because the council quite rightly once again wants to review the decision it made to approve the coal mine plan. This new review of the plan follows the latest threat of legal action, (this time by South Lakes Action on Climate Change who are looking to challenge Secretary of State Robert Jenrick’s decision not to call the Council’s approval in for a public inquiry). West Cumbria Mining have issued a rather huffy statement which repeats all the old myths including that 90% of Cumbrians want this coal mine and that it would be a financial boon to Cumbria. Don’t make me laugh! West Cumbria Mining have already stole the Haig Mining Museum and lands from the Cumbrian public for less than the price of a bottle of pop.
From West Cumbria Mining’s statement “As a result of the actions taken by Cumbria CC, WCM concluded that the only course of action was to explore legal actions to secure the future of the project. Subsequently, WCM has instructed Hogan Lovells, a highly recognised and reputable international law firm, to take legal action on concerns that CCCs decision making process is robust and in accordance with the established framework. As the next step in this process, we have today (5th March 2021) lodged formal proceedings in respect of Cumbria CC’s decision to refer the matter back once again to the Committee.”
West Cumbria Mining are ruthless operators. If this mine does goes ahead below the decades of Sellafield’s nuclear waste discharges and just five miles from the most dangerous nuclear site in the world the radiation damage would be way beyond any remediation. It is sickening that this mine has the backing of government with key appointments of personnel including WCM’s CEO being made to the government’s ‘Delivery of a Deep Geological Disposal Facility” . The area in the frame is the Irish Sea adjacent to the mine. This should send shivers down the spine of every County Councillor – Councillors need to find their spines now more than ever and refuse permission for this mine to open. If the climate arguments are overwhelming (which they are) the nuclear impacts are even more so. It would take just 2-4 years for the plutonium wastes now in the silts of the Irish Sea, having been remobilised by the coal mine’s “expected subsidence” to reach the Arctic. Rather less time to reach our shores and that of our neighbours in the Isle of Man, Ireland and Scotland.