The Coal Mine and The Crown

 

Letter published in the Westmorland Gazette,   also sent to Sir David Attenborough

LETTER: Sir David Attenborough could stop the Cumbrian coal mine

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WHAT fantastic news that Sir David Attenborough is lending his voice to those opposing the coal mine under the Irish Sea off St Bees.

As a nuclear safety group concerned about the safety of Sellafield, we have been opposing this nearby coal mine from the outset.

Sellafield is recognised as the most hazardous place in Europe with stockpiles of the most dangerous radioactive wastes on the planet. This coal mine would extend to just 8km from these nuclear wastes, so there are big concerns.

The Sellafield area has been identified in a recent geological report as being at high risk of liquefaction (where the earth turns to mush). Liquefaction can result from earthquakes, and the only place in the UK to have had such an event is at Rampside near Barrow – it was a very small-magnitude earthquake.

This March, when I stood shaking at the planning meeting in Kendal and spoke opposing the coal mine, the councillors laughed. They laughed about Sellafield being at high risk of liquefaction (as described in a recent geological report); they laughed as the last liquefaction event near Barrow was in 1865, pre Trident: the blink of an eye in geological terms.

There are other considerations. The area at St Bees is the last breeding place in England of the black guillemot and the RSPB has voiced its opposition to the mine.

Former director of Friends of the Earth, Jonathon Porritt, pointed out very early on that: “As I understand it, the sole justification from a sustainability point of view is that the extracted coal will be coking coal, not thermal coal (for use in power stations), with some preposterous notion that this will apparently produce a lower carbon footprint than coking coal imported from other countries. Yet so far as I can tell, no detailed lifecycle analysis, both direct and indirect, has been done by West Cumbria Mining…”

The coal mine would also have to mine “middlings” coal, cynically described as a by-product in order to get to the coking coal.

It seems to us there are two very powerful things Sir David Attenborough is uniquely placed to do to stop this coal mine entirely in its tracks:

1. He could ask the Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP, to call Cumbria County Council’s flawed decision in for a public inquiry.

2. From our correspondence with Prince Charles’ office, we believe he is sympathetic to campaigners opposing the coal mine. A quiet word from Sir David to his friend Prince Charles may be all it takes to rip up the Crown’s existing and future planned agreements with West Cumbria Mining for the mineral exploitation of the coal under the seabed. Without these agreements between the developers and the Crown, the coal mine cannot proceed.

Those actions would make Sir David our true knight in shining armour and the black guillemots would not be the only ones celebrating!

Marianne Birkby

On behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign

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Good News that Sir David is On the Case!

This is an open letter to Sir David Attenborough who has recently voiced concern, and to all who have influence to stop the Cumbrian Coal mine in its tracks.

Dear Sir David Attenborough,
Thank you so much for recently voicing your concerns about the planned coal mine in West Cumbria.  
As a nuclear safety group concerned about the safety of Sellafield we have been opposing this nearby coal mine from the outset.  As you will know Sellafield is the most hazardous place in Europe with stockpiles of the most dangerous radioactive wastes on the planet. Given that this coal mine would extend to just 8km from Sellafield the possibility of liquefaction at Sellafield resulting from earthquakes in the West Cumbria area would be catastrophic on a planetary scale.  When I stood at the planning meeting and spoke to councillors about Sellafield being at high risk of liquefaction (as described in a recent geological report) they laughed.  
There are other considerations.  
The area is the last breeding place in England of the black guillemot and the RSPB have voiced opposition to the mine.  
Former Director of Friends of the Earth, Jonathon Porritt pointed out very early on that :”As I understand it, the sole justification from a sustainability point of view is that the extracted coal will be coking coal, not thermal coal (for use in power stations), with some preposterous notion that this will apparently produce a lower carbon footprint than coking coal imported from other countries. Yet so far as I can tell, no detailed lifecycle analysis, both direct and indirect, has been done by West Cumbria Mining, so why would anyone swallow that particular pile of coking crap?”    The coal mine would also have to mine ‘middlings” coal, cynically described as a ‘byproduct’ in order to get to the coking coal.
It seems to us that there are two very powerful things that you are uniquely placed to do to stop this coal mine entirely in its tracks.  

1. Ask the new Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick MP to call Cumbria County Council’s flawed decision in for a public inquiry.
2.   Ask Prince Charles to rip up the Crown’s existing and future planned agreements with West Cumbria Mining for the mineral exploitation of the coal under the seabed.  Without these agreements with the Crown, the coal mine cannot proceed.
This would make you our true knight in shining armour.  The black guillemots would not be the only ones celebrating!
Thank You.

Yours Sincerely,

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign

______

YOU can help – please sign the petition and also write to the Secretary of State asking him to call Cumbria County Council’s crazy  decision in for a public inquiry 

“Mayor Hits Back at Mine Protestors”

Whitehaven NEWS

Mayor hits back at mine protesters

How the mine will look

How the mine will look

THE elected Mayor of Copeland has insisted the council is “fully signed up to the climate change agenda” despite opposition to his pro-mine stance.

Mike Starkie made the comments after campaigners opposed to a £165m mine planned for West Cumbria descended on Whitehaven over the weekend.

The plans have been ‘called in’ by Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron amid environmental concerns, but Mr Starkie is among those calling for the challenge to be thrown out by the Government.

Protestors from Extinction Rebellion marched from Haig Pit museum to Copeland council’s Market Hall to express their concerns, though the plans were agreed at county level.

West Cumbria Mining wants to extract coking coal off the coast of St Bees, with a processing plant on the former Marchon site at Kells were given the go-ahead in March.

Speaking at a meeting of the executive, major Mike Starkie insisted that the council was working hard – alongside other local authorities in the county – to make Cumbria carbon neutral.

But he also took aim at some of the protestors who he said were “not local” and had “probably travelled here in their diesel cars, putting all the carbon emissions into the air en route.”

Mr Starkie said the only disturbance caused by the campaigners was to members of the Whitehaven public who were “absolutely disinterested” with anything they had to say.

The mayor reiterated his “100 per cent unequivocal support for the mine” in the face of opposition.

He also described the planning process as “rigorous” and stressed that “everything was considered” in the run-up the county council planning panel’s decision.

He added: “And I am going to once again call on the Government to throw out the call in as soon as possible.

“At the end of the day there is a climate change agenda that we’re 100 per cent bought into and we are absolutely understand, but there is an economic agenda as well – and we need a balance.

“We need renewable energy and the last time I checked you still need steel for the windmills and that’s what the coking coal is being mined to produce.”

Mr Farron and Workington MP Sue Hayman, who is the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, are the only two of the county’s six MPS who have not written to the Government to get this ‘call in’ thrown out.

Copeland’s green credentials.

Copeland has hosted the first commercially operative nuclear power station (Sellafield) that powered the nation through low-carbon energy supply for almost 50 years;

In 2018/19, the council invested £1 million into our doorstop recycling service and collected 3,354 tonnes of recycling – doubling the previous years’ collection;

The council is signatories of the Cumbria Joint Public Health Strategy Commitment which commits local authorities in Cumbria to become a net-zero carbon county.

The authority has pledged to reduce its climate footprint by 1.6 per cent every year – in line with statutory commitments in the Climate Change Act of 2008.”

Read In the Whitehaven News here

In the News – Protestors March to Oppose Mine Plans

Whitehaven NEWS

Protestors march to oppose mine plans

Protest: Activists gather to march against plans for West Cumbria's new mine

Protest: Activists gather to march against plans for West Cumbria’s new mine

Protestors marched across Whitehaven to campaign against a £165m mine planned for West Cumbria.

Members of the Extinction Rebellion marched from the Haig Pit museum to Copeland Council’s Market Hall to show their opposition to the scheme.

Plans to extract coking coal off the coast of St Bees, with a processing plant on the former Marchon site at Kells were given the go-ahead in March.

Melanie Greggain, who organised the protest, said: “We are in a climate emergency right now. Governments around the world have declared a climate emergency and I think global warming needs to be at the forefront of our minds and everything we do.

“If we are going to move forward in life and in the world we need to actually find better ways to make materials like steel. It needs to move forward at a quicker pace. We can’t keep taking fossil fuels out of the ground. We can’t just keep drilling huge holes into the side of the earth.

“If the climate rises we are going to see more floods in Cumbria. We have already seen devastating floods. Wildlife is dying out.

“We completely understand that people need jobs. We are not attacking people who need jobs. What we are saying is we need to be bale to create jobs that are not going to make the planet worse off.”

Marianne Birkby, of the Keep Cumbria Coal in the Hole group said: “It’s just such close proximity to Sellafield and it’s going closer than any other coal mine in this area has done before. That’s what first alerted us then when you see the massive green house gas emissions, methane emissions, possible subsidence of the Irish Sea bed. There’s stuff that we really don’t want to move.”

Martin Kendall, who lives at High Walton, near St Bees, said: “I have got their coal loading facility in my back yard. I’m going to overlook it, I’m going to hear it, there’s going to be loads of light, loads of noise. It’s going to be a huge complex.”

The Momentum Grows to Stop the Coal Mine!

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The momentum grows to stop the coal mine and the more that folk find out about this plan the more determined they are to oppose as evidenced by the protest yesterday organised by a Whitehaven lass and quite a few Whitehaven folk taking part including those whose lives would be directly blighted by this plan.

Good coverage from ITV Border but still the same old mantra repeated that this is coking coal..so what!  The enormous amount of ‘middlings coal’ also to be mined is cynically dismissed by West Cumbria Mining as a “by product.”  But middlings and coking coal will emit both methane and co2 in their mining and in their use.  There is no need for this mine either here or overseas there is no shortage of coking coal and certainly no need to open a new mine.

The risks of earthquake and subsidence of the sea bed in this vulnerable location near Sellafield is pretty much a taboo subject we have found.

Many thanks to organiser of the protest – a Whitehaven lass, Melanie – more power to all our collective elbows.  This is not a done deal and people can take action by writing to James Brokenshire and asking him to call in Cumbria County Council’s decision  

Here are some photos of the protest

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ITVs Border’s Lunchtime Coverage below.

(if anyone has a copy of the evening coverage we can share and post that here too.

Would You Take A Job thats Bad for the Planet?

No mention that this mine would go so close to Sellafield but otherwise some good points made…although it is presented as a done deal – it isn’t not by a long chalk!!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/stories-48675283/cumbria-coal-mine-a-well-paid-job-that-s-bad-for-the-planet?fbclid=IwAR07-Dcm_HUMR7vGUz54DeW_Vch94LkI00Dv6SUngBfd7Gqbvgh7IiMtOdw#

JOIN THE PROTEST – Stop the Cumbrian Coal Mine – Friday 19th July

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Dear Friends,

I will be supporting the protest to Stop the Cumbrian Coal Mine on Friday the 19th July. People are very angry that this coal mine has been approved by Cumbria County Council and  want to show continued and escalating opposition.

We also want to let the Secretary of State, James Brokenshire MP know that we are counting on him to Call In the outrageous decision by Cumbria County Council so that all the issues that were not looked at at all by the planners (who have been put on notice of possible legal action) can be brought out into the open in a public inquiry.

The walk will start at West Cumbria Coal Mine at Haig Museum at 11am (trains get into Whitehaven at 10.50 check out the Event page for lifts etc) We will be there for a while to assemble and there will be opportunities for people to sign a giant postcard before the protest walk down through Whitehaven to the Copeland Borough Council office, Market Place (Copeland Borough Council forms part of Cumbria County Council).

We will finish up around 1pm.

Please Bring Music, Bring Banners, Bring Yourselves,  and Lets Show RESISTANCE and OPPOSITION to this diabolic coal mine plan.

There is a Facebook Event page here

If you cannot get to the event and want to send a direct message to James Brokenshire MP asking him  to Call In the decision there is an easy to do action here

MANY THANKS