NEW CALL IN REQUEST FROM KEEP CUMBRIAN COAL IN THE HOLE TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE.

Cumbrian Mud Patch
Campaign group, Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole has sent in a Call In request to the Secretary of State Robert Jenrick MP.
The World Wide Fund for Nature have already sent in a call in request to the Secretary of State.  KCCH say they agree with the points WWF make but have advised the Secretary of State of ” further overwhelming reasons for this development to be called in”
These reasons include:
1. West Cumbria Mining are asking for conditions to be relaxed in order to facilitate the addition of lower quality middlings coal to the development
( previously middlings coal was to be a “by product” of this “premium” coal mine ).
2. West Cumbria Mining propose mitigating against subsidence by backfilling 25% of the mined area  with cement paste ( the below land area and also close to the Marine Conservation Zone).  However 75% of the proposed void which includes the area beneath the Cumbrian Mud Patch would not be backfilled.  There is potential for marine radiological pollution as a result of the subsidence induced re-suspension of the heavily radioactively contaminated sea bed sediments of the Cumbrian Mud Patch and surrounding sea bed areas.
3.  The Sellafield and Moorside site are at “high risk” of liquefaction (as outlined in a 2018  report by Geologists https://pygs.lyellcollection.org/content/62/2/116/tab-figures-data )  -this would be exacerbated by coal mine induced seismic impacts.
From KCCH’s Call In letter..

The original selling point of this mine was that it would produce “premium quality” coking coal for steel manufacture.   West Cumbria Mining in attempting to address the challenge from Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole regarding “middlings coal” as a “by-product” have made this proposed development even more absurd by adding a new onsite process to render the extracted thermal/middlings coal into coking coal.

The relaxing of conditions necessary to facilitate this inclusion of lower grade coal are applied for in this new amended application and detailed in West Cumbria Mining’s Planning Statement R20 – page 51.

STEEL MANUFACTURE?

Condition 3 – This condition relates to the coal being for use in steel manufacture only.  As this stands it appears that the developers are asking that this condition be removed to refer to authorisation of the “extraction of Metallurgical Coal” – rather than specifying the end use.

QUALITY – ASH AND SULPHUR CONTENT

Condition 76 – This condition relates to the quality of the end product. The quality of the product is to be further reduced from the already generous allowance of 8% Ash content and 1.2% Sulphur content to 9% Ash content and 2% Sulphur content.

AND

A new paper has been written on the radiological impacts of the coal mine.   Tim Deere-Jones is an Independent & non-aligned Marine Pollution Researcher & Consultant whose clients include: WWF, The UK Wildlife Trusts, European Climate Foundation, Greenpeace International, European Coastal Local Authorities and many others.

This comprehensive report concludes that the plan by West Cumbria Mining should be abandoned.

It is concluded that there is a real potential for subsidence to occur as a result of the “mass removal” and the creation of extensive sub-sea void spaces, and it is noted that such subsidence could generate earthquake and liquefaction effects which may extend onshore as far as the Sellafield/Moorside sites.
Full Letter can be read below

Rt Hon. Robert Jenrick MP

Secretary of State

Department for Communities and Local Government 2 Marsham Street

London

SW1P 4DF

 

1st July, 2020

Dear Secretary of State,

 

APPLICATION REFERENCE NUMBER 4/17/9007 – WEST CUMBRIA MINING

Dear Secretary of State,

You may remember that on 29th October 2019 Tim Farron MP delivered a petition to you in Parliament on behalf of 1,852 people asking that the Secretary of State call in the application by West Cumbria Mining for the first new deep coal mine in decades which was approved by Cumbria County Council in March 2019 and ratified on 19th October 2019.

Now, the Developers have applied for amendments to that original planning application.The Council (whose decision was to be challenged through Judicial Review) are not relying on their original twice approved planning decision but will look at

the amendments as a new application.

We are writing to support the World Wildlife Fund for Nature’s call in of the amended planning application. We agree with the points they make but would like to add further overwhelming reasons for this development to be called in for your consideration.

Previous letters and the petition to you are included for your consideration alongside the new evidence below.

WCM ASK CUMBRIA COUNTY COUNCIL FOR RELAXATION OF CONDITIONS

The original selling point of this mine was that it would produce “premium quality” coking coal for steel manufacture. West Cumbria Mining in attempting to address the challenge from Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole regarding “middlings coal” as a “by-product” have made this proposed development even more absurd by adding a new onsite process to render the extracted thermal/middlings coal into coking coal.

The relaxing of conditions necessary to facilitate this inclusion of lower grade coal are applied for in this new amended application and detailed in West Cumbria Mining’s Planning Statement R20 – page 51.

STEEL MANUFACTURE?

Condition 3 – This condition relates to the coal being for use in steel manufacture only.As this stands it appears that the developers are asking that this condition be removed to refer to authorisation of the “extraction of Metallurgical Coal” – rather than specifying the end use.

QUALITY – ASH AND SULPHUR CONTENT

Condition 76 – This condition relates to the quality of the end product. The quality of the product is to be further reduced from the already generous allowance of 8% Ash content and 1.2% Sulphur content to 9% Ash content and 2% Sulphur content.

This is NOT by industry standard a premium metallurgical coal product. By contrast the Global Platts Metallurgical Specifications 2020 guide for Australian Premium Coking Coal is Sulphur no more than 0.05% while Hard Coking Coal is no more than 0.06% Sulphur content. Which makes the Woodhouse product look positively shoddy. No wonder the developers appear to want the condition erased that the end use should be for steel manufacture only.

3 – The permission hereby granted authorises the Winning and Working of Metallurgical Coal for use in steel manufacture only.
Reason: This permission authorises the development for the extraction of Metallurgical Coal. For the avoidance of doubt, Middlings Coal is also produced as a by-product during the processing of Metallurgical Coal.
Reason: This permission authorises the development for the extraction of Metallurgical Coal. The reason needs to be amended because middlings coal will no longer be produced.
76 – Metallurgical Coal (definition)
Coal with particular physical and chemical characteristics that makes it suitable for use in the production of steel and separated from industrial/ Middlings Coal and reject material during processing at the Coal Handling and Processing Plant. For the avoidance of doubt ‘Metallurgical Coal’ shall be defined as having a maximum ash content of 8% and a maximum sulphur content of 1.25%.
Metallurgical Coal (definition)
Coal with particular physical and chemical characteristics that makes it suitable for use
in the production of steel and separated
from reject material during processing at the Coal Handling and Processing Plant. For the avoidance of doubt ‘Metallurgical Coal’ shall be defined as having a maximum ash content of 9% a maximum sulphur content of 2%.
The original maxima as stated do not reflect the product which will be produced by Woodhouse Colliery

Page 51 – WCM Planning Statement R20

CLOSE PROXIMITY TO SELLAFIELD AND THE CUMBRIAN MUD PATCH

Cumbrian Mud Patch

Image and Text from : RADIOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS of POTENTIAL SEABED SUBSIDENCE SEISMICITY & “FAULT RE-ACTIVATION” beneath The CUMBRIAN MUD PATCH: INDUCED BY “MASS REMOVAL”, RAPID EXTRACTION & VOID SPACE CREATION – Briefing Paper by Tim Deere Jones for Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

A new paper has been written on the radiological impacts of the coal mine. Tim Deere-Jones is an Independent & non-aligned Marine Pollution Researcher & Consultant whose clients include: WWF, The UK Wildlife Trusts, European Climate Foundation, Greenpeace International, European Coastal Local Authorities and many others.

This comprehensive report concludes that the plan by West Cumbria Mining should be abandoned.  The introduction and Major Conclusions are reproduced below…..

Introduction:This Briefing offers a review of the possible seabed morphological changes and marine pollution implications of the sub-sea coal mining venture proposed by West Cumbria Mining (WCM) at their Woodhouse Colliery site near St Bees Head.

WCM have designated and identified a sub-sea mining zone of the Irish Sea lying to the west of St Bees Head and extending at least 8kms offshore and southwards to within about 8km of the Sellafield site.

The WCM extraction proposals, using continuous mining methods, predict the extraction of approximately 3 million tonnes of coal per year over a 50 year period. This extraction rate will eventually generate a huge subterranean void space of approximately 136 million cubic metres (a volume greater than that of Wastwater Lake).

This briefing considers the impact of the creation of such a sub-sea void space on the possibility of sea bed subsidence in the area of the WCM designated sub-sea mining zone, and the subsequent potential for marine radiological pollution as a result of the subsidence induced re-suspension of the heavily radioactively contaminated sea bed sediments of the Cumbrian Mud Patch and surrounding sea bed areas.

Major Conclusions

It is noted that there is a lack of data about the status of the existing historical galleries and workings of the West Cumbrian Coalfield. It is noted that there is a lack of accurate data about the history and status of any subsidence seismicity in the coalfield.It is noted that the BGS have concluded that the coalfield is heavily faulted and has a long history of subsidence and that it appears that there are no plans to monitor for any subsidence prior to, during the operational phase or in the post operational phase of the Woodhouse Colliery.It is noted that sub-sea monitoring equipment is available and could be deployed in the region in order to monitor for any subsidence effects arising as a result of the proposed Woodhouse Colliery “mass removal” extraction.

It is concluded that there is a real potential for subsidence to occur as a result of the “mass removal” and the creation of extensive sub-sea void spaces, and it is noted that such subsidence could generate earthquake and liquefaction effects which may extend onshore as far as the Sellafield/Moorside sites.

It is concluded that any seabed subsidence in the WCM designated sub-sea mining zone would generate re-suspension of Cumbrian Mud Patch heavily radioactive seabed sediments. It is noted that such an event would generate elevated doses of man-made radioactivity to coastal zone populations and sea users along both the Cumbrian coast and at “downstream” regions further afield.

Given the potential for such a radiological effect and the delivery of increased doses of radioactivity to relevant coastal zone communities, some of which have already been identified by the authorities as Coastal Critical Groups, the Woodhouse Colliery proposal (especially in the absence of any precautionary mandatory subsidence monitoring) is strongly contra-indicated and should be abandoned.”

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole have been raising awareness about the climate and radiological impacts of this proposed development since 2017. If not now – when will this plan be deemed too dangerous to continue with? Please call in this amended planning application for this deep coal mine development which if allowed to continue on its disastrous trajectory will impact locally, nationally and internationally.

Tomorrow is too late.

Yours sincerely,

Marianne Birkby

on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole.(a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign)

Tim Farron MP presents Cumbria Coal Mine Petition in the House of Commons

Keep-400x301-1

Many thanks to our MP Tim Farron for presenting our petition yesterday in the House of Commons to the Secretary of State. Since presenting the petition the signatures have gone up..and continue to go up calling on the Secretary of State to call in the dodgy decision made by Cumbria County Council.

Tomorrow – Don’t Forget the Demo outside County Offices Kendal from 8.30am to 10am to Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole 

Photo of Tim FarronTim FarronLiberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (North of England) (Northern Powerhouse) 8:38 pm, 29th October 2019

I present a petition on behalf of 1,852 residents of Cumbria who oppose the proposed West Cumbrian coal mine, believing, as I do, that in the fight to prevent climate catastrophe, it is vital that we keep fossil fuels in the ground. The petitioners request that the Secretary of State call in the application for his own determination at the earliest opportunity and that he rule against the opening of the mine.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The petition of people of the United Kingdom,

Declares that a local petition has been collected against the proposed west Cumbria coal mine which should not be opened on account of the impact on the climate.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to call this application in for its own determination at the earliest opportunity and that it rules against the opening of the mine.

And the petitioners remain, etc.]

 

 

Ratification of Coal Mine? NO!! NO!! NO!!

sent to press

COUNCIL PLAN TO RATIFY OUTRAGEOUS ‘YES’ TO COAL MINE 

Back in spring of this year the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades was given unanimous approval by Cumbria County Council. 

COKING COAL AND JOBS.

Following the threat of legal action by campaigners Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, the Council have nervously decided that they need to ratify their approval.  Their unanimous approval was based on the need for coking coal and jobs in the West Cumbrian town of Whitehaven.  Coal mining ceased in Whitehaven in 1986 when the Haig Pit closed.  Since then this harbour town has increasingly become a satellite of Sellafield with new offices being built by demolishing heritage architecture and decanting workers from the nuclear waste site.  One of the trendy new offices housing Sellafield staff is adjacent to a foul chimney which has been left as a feature.  The foul chimney originally vented methane out of the old mines. 

Foul Chimney and Sellafield Office

OUTRAGE

Following the council’s decision based on the ‘need for jobs and coking coal’ there was outrage expressed in a previously rather muted national press despite letters to The Guardian and others.  Perhaps because of this outrage and surprise that plans for a coal mine under the Irish Sea bed should be approved, the then Secretary of State, James Brokenshire MP issued a ‘holding direction’ under article 31 of the Town and Country Planning Order 2015. This prevents the release of the Council’s decision until the Secretary of States decides whether to call in the application for public inquiry.  

54434448_2082177532042857_6882504501350105088_n

Demo outside County Offices, Kendal prior to the 19th March unanimous approval vote by Cumbria County Council .

LAWYERS LEIGH DAY

The letter sent to Cumbria County Council on 20th June from lawyers Leigh Day opens the way for legal action in the form of a  Judicial Review should the Secretary of State not call in the decision.  Leigh Day’s letter which was made possibe through crowdfunding by Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole informs the County Council of a number of flaws and omissions in their planning assessment.  The letter invites the Committee to formally re-consider its approval.

These flaws include Cumbria County Council’s failures to consider:

  1. Green house gas emissions of the mining operations
  2. The need for, and GHG impacts of, Middlings Coal
  3. GHG impacts of an increase in coal production.

Demo in Whitehaven following the Council's Decision

Demo in Whitehaven attended by various groups, following the County Council’s ‘Yes’ vote

The letter from Leigh Day states in conclusion: 

“For the reasons given above, KCCH formally requests that the Committee reconsiders its resolution to grant planning permission for the Whitehaven Coalmine development and asks that the Committee has full regard to each of the considerations listed above when it does so.” 

No Coal - cumbria

Demonstrators in Whitehaven after the Council’s ‘Yes’vote

WHAT HAS CHANGED SINCE THE COUNCIL’S DECISION?

Since Leigh Day wrote their letter putting the council ‘on notice’ of legal action in June for their flawed decision in March there have been further developments.

This makes Javelin Global Commodities a venture capital company that sees coal and nuclear hand in hand.  Murray Energy is on the verge of bankruptcy having left a trail of devastation in the US and is looking to squeeze the pips out of other stressed communities such as that of West Cumbria which is already suffering from the skewed socio-economics of nuclear.  Uniper, the subsidiary of the Finnish state operated nuclear corporation Fortum, has recently produced a briefing paper of “analysis and recommendations to assist investors, insurers and banks in achieving a coal phase-out from Fortum and Uniper in line with the climate targets of the UN Paris Climate Agreement and protecting citizen’s health”.   OK so why are they investing in a coal mine?

The civil society nuclear safety group Radiation Free Lakeland was founded over 10 years ago out of sheer frustration over the lack of unequivocal opposition to the government’s ‘Managing Radioactive Wastes Safely’ plan for geological ‘disposal’ of intermediate and high level nuclear wastes.  Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole is another Radiation Free Lakeland campaign that was borne out of similar frustrations with seeing West Cumbria Mining get away with outragous PR spin for its mine proposal just five miles from Sellafield.   Marianne Birkby the founder of Radiation Free Lakeland says “the plan for the mined out Irish Sea bed is to hyraulically backfill the mine with goodness knows what into the voids.  Adding nuclear partners into the mix inspires apprehension that there is more to this coal mine than meets the eye and what meets the eye really is bad enough!”

Campaigners are urging people to contact Cumbria County Council with their opposition to ratification of the coal mine plan.  People can email the Development Control Committee developmentcontrol@cumbria.gov.uk asking that this outrageous coal mine plan is not ratified

The meeting will be in Kendal County Offices  on 31st Oct with a demonstration outside the offices from 8.30am.  Campaigners hope  that as many people as can get to Kendal  County Offices on 31st October will come along and demand that the Council do not ratify the decision to open the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades.

A petition of almost 2000 signatures has also been handed to Tim Farron MP by Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole to give to the Secretary of State asking him to call the decision in for a public inquiry.

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-cumbrian-coal-in-the-hole-its-too-near-sellafield#_=_

Uniper/Fortum briefing paper

 https://beyond-coal.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/EBC_Fortum_Uniper_briefing_paper.pdf

URGENT! Tell the Council – NO! Do Not Ratify Coal Mine Plan on 31st Oct in Kendal

54435025_2082179568709320_8220628813986398208_n
Protest by Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole following Cumbria County Council’s unanimous approval of the coal mine on 19th March
Dear Friends,
Cumbria County Council Plan to Ratify the Coal Mine Decision in Kendal on 31st October

*******Please ask to speak at the meeting (deadline to ask is tomorrow 25th Oct at 4.30) or write before the meeting on 31st October and ask them not to ratify this outrageous plan. Contact Democratic Services Officer – Nicola Harrison on 01228 226906 or email:Nicola.Harrison@cumbria.gov.uk

Following Cumbria County Council’s approval of the coal mine on 19th March,  top lawyers Leigh Day wrote to them on Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole’s instruction with a set of key questions. The letter to Cumbria County Council put them *on notice* that their approval of the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years is putting the Council at serious risk of legal challenge.   These questions were not answered during the planning meeting.  The questions included  the need for coal and the full carbon footprint of the mine.   This letter from Leigh Day was made possible by crowdfunding.  Cumbria County Council have acknowledged but not ‘replied’  directly to the letter from lawyers Leigh Day .  However they are having a meeting about it on 31st October as they say that because of the threat of legal challenge from KCCH they now need to ratify their  original decision (and try to pre-empt a judicial review based on the questions in Leigh Day’s letter)

One of the ‘replies’ to Leigh Days question about the carbon footprint of the mine is that it would be ‘carbon neutral’.  This is magical thinking by Cumbria County Council of the highest order.   Cumbria County Council assert that the Whitehaven coal mine would displace coal from elsewhere – but say campaigners a mine elsewhere is not going to suddenly stop mining because a new  coal mine in Cumbria opens (five miles from Sellafield).

 Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole have asked if they can speak at the meeting or make a statement on others behalf – for example their lawyers, Leigh Day.  

*******Campaigners are urging others to contact Cumbria County Council with their opposition to ratification of the coal mine plan.  People can email the Development Control Committee developmentcontrol@cumbria.gov.uk asking that this outrageous coal mine plan is not ratified.  You can ask to speak at the meeting in Kendal on the 31st October (see above)  demanding that the original vote by Cumbria County Council is not ratified.  

Quote:   Ref No. 4/17/9007  West Cumbria Mining
The meeting will be in Kendal County Offices  on 31st Oct. at 10am  We hope  that as many people as can get to Kendal  County Offices on 31st October will come along and demand that the Council do not ratify the decision to open the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades.********

Note: We only know about this meeting  because of the diligence of Maggie Mason -a former senior planning officer.    The Council have not replied to Leigh Day apart from an early acknowledgement to the letter

Meanwhile a petition has been handed to Tim Farron MP to give to the Secretary of State asking him to call the decision in for a public inquiry.
This is the full text of the Addendum Report from Cumbria County Council which will form the basis of ratification on 31st Oct.

DEVELOPMENT CONTROL AND REGULATION COMMITTEE 31st October 2019 A report by the Acting Executive Director for Economy and Infrastructure
_____________________________________________________________________
Application Reference No. 4/17/9007 Application Type: Full Planning Permission
Proposal:

Location:
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.
Former Marchon Site, Pow Beck Valley and area from Marchon Site to St Bees Coast, Whitehaven, Cumbria
This is an Addendum to the Report considered and approved by Members of DC & R Committee on 19th March 2019, together with the Update Report dated 19 March 2019 (referred to together in this report as the “Original Committee Report”). It considers the implications of a potential challenge to that decision.
_____________________________________________________________________
1.0 RECOMMENDATION
Having considered carefully the details of the letter from Leigh Day Solicitors, Committee resolve to ratify their original decision that:
Planning permission be GRANTED subject to:
i. The Committee determining the application on the basis of the reasons set out in the Original Committee Report as updated by this Addendum Report;
Applicant:
Date Valid:
Reason for Committee Level Decision:
West Cumbria Mining Ltd 31 May 2017
ii. the conditions set out in the Original Committee Report;
iii. the applicant (West Cumbria Mining) and other relevant interest holders first entering into a Section 106 legal agreement with the County Council covering the heads of terms set out in the Original Committee Report and an additional financial contribution of £68,327 index linked for improvements to the Mirehouse Road / St Bees Road junction and the Mirehouse Road / rail load facility access road junction; and
iv. The Secretary of State withdrawing the direction preventing the Council from granting planning permission.
2.0 BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT
2.1 In March 2019 the Committee resolved to grant planning permission for the Mine, subject to conditions and a s106 agreement to secure various obligations including highway and heritage improvements and also a restoration bond. The latest redline boundary plan for the planning application as submitted on 10th December 2018 is shown on the drawing in Appendix 1. The s106 agreement is nearing completion. However the Secretary of State has issued a direction under article 31 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015. This prevents the release of the Council’s decision until the Secretary of States decides whether to call in the application to determine it himself.
2.2 On the 21st June 2019 the Council received a letter from Leigh Day Solicitors acting on behalf of “Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole” (KCCH) who were one of a number of objectors to the planning application. The letter contended that there had been material changes in circumstances since the Committee`s resolution that required the application to be reconsidered by Committee. The letter also contended that there were a number of alleged flaws in our Original Committee Report that could form the basis of a legal challenge to the Council’s decision.
2.3 We have reviewed the contents of the letter carefully and decided to address those matters in an Addendum to our Original Committee Report, given the time available due to the Secretary of State’s direction. This report itemises each of those issues and provides our response to them. We have also taken the opportunity to propose adding an obligation to the S106 Agreement for a financial contribution to the Council to ensure that works to the access with the junction with the public highway and necessary improvements to the Mirehouse Road / St Bees Road junction are carried out. The works are necessary to ensure the safe access and egress to the site and at the Mirehouse Road / St Bees Road junction and this has been agreed with West Cumbria Mining.
2.4 Normally the only recourse to challenge a decision to grant planning permission is a Judicial Review after the planning permission has been issued. However because we have yet to release the formal decision notice, Leigh Day has raised the issues in advance and the additional agreed S106 obligation, it is considered appropriate in this particular instance for the Committee to ratify its original decision having considered the issues raised and the additional S106 obligation.

The key considerations are whether any of the issues raised would have been capable of affecting the outcome of the Council’s original decision.
3.0 ALLEGED CHANGES IN CIRCUMSTANCES
3.1 The Council needs to consider whether any alleged new factor would have been capable of affecting the outcome of the Committee’s decision. What is required is a change that might have had a material effect on the Committee’s deliberations had it occurred before the decision was made. The crucial question is whether the new factor might have led the Committee to reach a different decision.
3.2 It is considered that neither the liquidation of British Steel, nor the change to a zero net carbon target might have led to a different decision. However, given that the Committee is being updated in this report on other matters, for completeness and, as a matter of prudence, these matters are addressed below.
3.3 a) Leigh Day consider that with the liquidation of British Steel in May, this reduced the need for coking coal in the UK and as a result undermined the rationale for approving the planning application.
3.4 The position regarding the liquidation of British Steel naturally has the potential to be a fluid situation, which might potentially evolve or change again, but it is not considered a factor that might have led to a different Committee decision in any event.
3.5 However, an update is provided on what is understood to be the current position from publicly available information. British Steel now has a preferred buyer. A subsidiary of the Turkish Military Pension Fund has agreed Heads of Terms to buy the Company subject to a two month period of due diligence (Reported in BBC news 16th August 2019).The expectation is that the Company will continue to produce steel and with that, there will be a need for coking coal at British Steel.
3.6 In any event our recommendation was not premised on the need for coking coal being solely dependent upon the fortunes of British Steel. In paragraph 6.514 of our Original Committee Report we said that “the UK`s steel manufacturing industry requires a supply of suitable grade metallurgical coal and that this proposal will be able to provide the industry with this essential raw material for the foreseeable future”. Furthermore, “the supply of indigenous metallurgical coal to support the UK steel industry in place of imported coal is positive and should be afforded considerable weight”. It was clear that we were talking about the British steel industry as a whole in paragraph 6.514 and not one particular company. In paragraph 6.404 of the Original Committee Report we clearly identified not just British Steel as a major UK steel producer but also Tata Steel and Celsa. However, it was also noted in the Original Committee Report that the target markets were wider than the UK in that “A mine located at Whitehaven would therefore provide a more local source of this essential raw ingredient for the European steel industry (including the UK)” (paragraph 6.406) and that in this context “The proposed scheme envisages that around 180,000 tonnes of coking coal would be supplied annually to the UK steel plants at Scunthorpe and Port Talbot (360,000 tonnes total), with the remaining tonnage (just over 2 million tonnes) being transported to Redcar for onward distribution and / or export” (paragraph 6.412). Whilst there may be some current uncertainty around the future of British Steel, we do not accept that there has been a change in circumstance of such magnitude that it undermines or materially changes the overall “need” case for coking coal as set out in the Original Committee Report.
3.7 b) Leigh Day assert that the amendment to the Climate Change Act 2008 (on 27th June) to change the carbon reduction target for the UK from 80% lower than the 1990 baseline to 100% represents another material change in circumstance that impacts upon our original decision.
3.8 Our view here is that whilst the amendment makes the target more challenging, the assessment made in the Original Committee Report in respect of the impact on climate change and efforts to reduce CO2 emissions would not change materially as a result of the change in the carbon reduction target for the UK. In the event both were treated as a key considerations in our Original Committee Report. (See paragraphs 6.39 to 6.56 of the Original Committee Report).
4.0 ALLEGED FLAWS IN DECISION MAKING
4.1 a) Leigh Day argue that there has been a failure to consider greenhouse gases (GHG) resulting from the mining operations.
4.2 The greenhouse gas emissions of the mining operations were not estimated, because our assessment in the Original Committee Report proceeded on the basis that coal production at Whitehaven would substitute for coal production elsewhere. Therefore, we consider that the greenhouse gas emissions of the mining operations would be broadly carbon neutral.
4.3 In paragraph 6.47 we said that “the opening of the mine would be unlikely to create additional demand for coking coal as the demand for coking coal is led by the demand for steel. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that coking coal produced from a mine in the proposed location is very likely to end up as a substitute for coking coal produced further away”. Furthermore in paragraph 6.406 we said “since the opening of the new mine is unlikely to have any impact on the overall demand for steel, it is reasonable to assume that the coal extracted would be used primarily as a substitute for (as opposed to in addition to) coal currently extracted in other parts of the world and imported by ship”. What we meant by this is that the emissions from mining operations at Whitehaven would most likely be a substitute for those of similar operations elsewhere rather than being a source of additional emissions. Perhaps put more simply, if the coking coal from Whitehaven proved more competitive because it is located closer to steel manufacturing plants of the UK and Europe than the rest of the world, then mining operations elsewhere would be very likely to reduce their output by a similar level of production, leaving CO2 emissions from extraction and processing in balance globally. Furthermore, if the coal from

Whitehaven became less financially competitive than alternative sources, then there would be no market for its product, which would mean it would then remain in the ground, leading once again to a carbon neutral situation.
4.4 In paragraph 6.503 of the Original Committee Report we attributed moderate weight against the proposal from the release of CO2 emissions resulting from the extraction and processing of coal. It would have been clearer if this statement in 6.503 had simply said that greenhouse gas emissions globally as a result of the extraction and processing of coal would be broadly in balance. However, this point was made in other paragraphs of the Original Committee Report (paragraphs 6.47 and 6.406), and additional explanation has been provided above in respect of the thought processes behind the views set out in the Original Committee Report.
4.5 The applicant has made provision for the capture and reuse of methane when the mining system is sufficiently developed to freely liberate methane and allow it to be effectively captured. This is encouraged by Policy DC13 and a proposed planning condition is included as part of the Original Committee Report that requires a Mine Gas Capture Management scheme including for methane to be submitted and approved before mineral working takes place and requires the gases to be managed and used beneficially in accordance with the approved scheme.
4.6 In summary, whilst the greenhouse gas emissions of the mining operations are very likely to be carbon neutral, it is still considered that some carbon savings must exist from reduced transportation distances associated with the more locally sourced coking coal at Whitehaven, as noted in paragraphs 6.43 and 6.46 of the Original Committee Report. This supports the original recommendation in the Original Committee Report.
4.7 b) Leigh Day believe that there has been a failure to consider the need for, and GHG impacts of, middlings coal.
4.8 In the Original Committee Report at paragraph 6.68 we assessed middlings coal as a by-product of coking coal alongside waste (predominantly rock). In other words it would be extracted from underground at the same time. By implication therefore it would produce no more CO2 emissions than that necessary to extract coking coal.
4.9 Although the Original Committee Report did not calculate what CO2 emissions might arise from the eventual use of middlings coal, we identified cement manufacture as a possible use (paragraph 6.70) and in paragraph 6.71 we said “I do not consider its use a substitute for other products for non-energy generation uses in processes such as cement manufacture would result in unnecessary environmental or social impacts. There are valid arguments made in respect of climate change, but I consider these issues could be better managed by applying regulatory controls at the point of use. The planning system has no direct control over the eventual uses to which this product is put, but it would be expected they are used in accordance with government policies and regulations which are requiring a shift away from the use of coal as an energy source. If there was no demand for middlings

coal, it would be disposed of within the mine in the same way as the rock”.
4.10 The premise of the Original Committee Report was that middlings coal could have a beneficial use that would not result in unacceptable environmental or social impact and that it was not unreasonable to allow material extracted as a by-product of the coking coal operation (up to a maximum of 15% of coking coal production) to be used as a substitute for other sources of fuel in industrial processes (instead of requiring this product to be disposed of as mine waste).
4.11 The exact markets would be likely to change over time, although the applicant suggested the cement industry was one possible customer. The burning of middlings coal would undoubtedly result in the generation of some CO2, and it is for this reason that the Original Committee Report drew attention to the fact that “there are valid arguments made in respect of climate change” on that issue (paragraph 6.71). However, the Original Committee Report went on say that we considered that the control of climate change impacts from the middlings coal by- product would “be better managed by applying regulatory controls at the point of use” (paragraph 6.71).
4.12 The reason we considered regulatory controls at the point of use would be the best method of managing CO2 emissions is because of the difficultly in attempting to control the use of the middlings coal product through the planning system, since the uses to which a product is put is not a land use issue, and could not be controlled through the use of planning conditions or legal agreements. Furthermore, we do not consider that it would be possible to predict all the future markets for the product at a variety of unknown sites during the lifetime of the mine and be able to assess the environmental effects of using middlings coal or weigh the emissions in a carbon balance on the basis of what it might substitute for in any meaningful way. An assessment of this basis would not be a reasonable requirement to expect.
4.13 Industrial uses for the middlings coal would have impacts proportionate to the alternative fuel source it was substituting for, and in some cases this might be carbon neutral, but in others cases potentially not. However, an important issue that was made clear in the Original Committee Report at paragraph 6.70, is that middlings coal was not suitable for burning in thermal power stations due to its inherent characteristics and the nature of the boilers. Government policy in any case, is to stop coal being used to generate energy in the near future.
4.14 In acknowledging the valid arguments made in respect of climate change and the middlings coal, we were clear that this issue was weighed in the planning balance, but was not considered of sufficient weight as to justify the refusal of the planning permission for the extraction of coking coal, or to require a condition requiring disposal of the middlings coal product within the mine in order to make the development acceptable, as there were other determinative factors as set out above and in paragraphs 6.70, 6.71 and 6.74 of the Original Committee Report, including that there would be a condition restricting the output of middlings coal from the mine to a maximum of 15% as considered necessary as a matter of planning judgement.
4.15 c) Leigh Day allege a failure to consider the GHG impacts of an increase in

coal production.
4.16 This ground of alleged error is based on the assumption that the Whitehaven mine would add substantially to the global stock of fossil fuels and thereby increase the likelihood of GHG emissions. However, we did not consider that this was likely to be the case and this point has already been covered by my paragraph 4.1 a); there would be no increase in CO2 as the opening of the mine would be offset by the very likely reduction in production elsewhere due to competition.
4.17 The middlings coal by-product of the coking coal is addressed in 4.6 b) above.
4.18 It was also claimed that it would be possible for metallurgical coal to be exported further afield from Europe. In the Original Committee Report at paragraphs 6.408 and 6.410 however we confirmed that there was “undoubtedly a current demand within the UK and EU for coking coal” (para 6.413) and concluded that it was “reasonable to assume that demand for steel and coking coal will continue to exist both within the UK and EU for the foreseeable future” (para 6.414). In addition the Committee was told by Mr Kirkbride of WCM (see Committee minutes) “that two large steelworks (at Scunthorpe and Port Talbot) have expressed a desire to buy their product and that major steelmakers in Europe have expressed a wish to source coking coal locally instead of imports coming from afar, including the USA”. Whilst it is always possible for coal to be exported outside Europe and this cannot be controlled by the planning permission, there appeared sufficient demand for coking coal within it to justify the “need” case. Furthermore, if demand in Europe is lower than expected, then production would very likely reduce so it remains in balance with the available local markets. The more remote the potential market from the proposed Whitehaven mine site, the more likely a closer source to that potential market would be more economically competitive.
4.19 Leigh Day contend that the Whitehaven mine could depress the worldwide price of coal, which in turn could lead to an increase in demand. We acknowledged this as a duly made objection in paragraph 6.45 of the Original Committee Report. The issue was addressed in paragraphs 6.46 and 6.47 and we went onto say “however the opening of a mine would be unlikely to create additional demand for coking coal as the demand for coking coal is led by the demand for steel. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that coking coal produced from a mine in the proposed location is very likely to end up as a substitute for coking coal produced further away” (paragraph 6.47). The whole basis of our view now and then was that there is only a finite demand for steel and if you add capacity to the supply of coking coal, it is very likely that coking coal producers further afield would reduce their production whilst they sell off their surplus stocks and that coking coal produced from a mine in the proposed location would end up as a substitute for coking coal produced further away. As such, we consider that worldwide prices would generally be unaffected.
4.20 d) Leigh Day consider that we have acted unlawfully by failing to apply Policy ENV2 of the adopted Copeland Local Plan.(2013-2028)
4.21 Policy EV2 was not listed as a relevant Policy at paragraph 6.5 of the Original

Committee Report. What that Policy says is that:
“To reinforce the Coastal Zone`s assets and opportunities the Council will:
e) Protect the intrinsic qualities of the St Bees Head Heritage Coast in terms of development proposals within or affecting views from the designation. At the same time encourage schemes which assist appropriate access to and interpretation of the Heritage Coast area”
4.22 Although not listed, we took full account of the policy in the Original Committee Report and considered it to be relevant to the application. A Policy does not have to be specifically referred to by name as long as it is clear it was otherwise fully considered. That is how the policy was addressed in the Original Committee Report, which did deal with the implications for the Heritage Coast. At paragraph 6.375, the Original Committee Report states that “the development would have also have a moderate adverse impact relating to the heritage sensitivity of the St Bees Heritage Coast” This is repeated in paragraphs 6.383 and 6.507. I am satisfied that the matter was adequately addressed in the Original Committee Report and the Committee should take account of it.
5.0 S106 OBLIGATION
5.1 The Original Committee Report states that “Works would also be carried out to the Mirehouse Road / St Bees Road junction where the turning radius will be adjusted to improve the operational safety of the junction” (paragraph 6.267). Improvements are also needed to the Mirehouse Road / rail load facility access road junction. These works are necessary in relation to the development and the applicant has agreed to fund the Council to do the works as part of the S106 Agreement. It is proposed that the additional financial contribution will be added to the Agreement.
6.0 CONCLUSION
6.1 It is unusual to have such a long gap in time between Committee making a resolution and the release of a decision, but this has been unavoidable, given the Secretary of State direction to the Council not to grant planning permission until further notice from him. However, this has given Officers the opportunity to update and advise the Committee on the matters raised by Leigh Day, along with seeking Committee approval of the additional S106 contribution. In this case I am content on the basis of this report that there is nothing that would warrant a different recommendation or that would put the Council’s original decision at significant “risk” and members should take into account all of the previous material considerations as updated by this report, including the previous representations and objections.
6.2 Officers continue to consider that the proposed development accords with the Development Plan as a whole, it is recommended that planning permission is granted and there are no other material considerations that indicate otherwise.
Appendix 1

Ref No. 4/17/9007 Development Control and Regulation Committee –
APPENDIX 1 – PLAN OF SITE LOCATION/EXTENT 31 October
2019






“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.

Nightmare Coal Mine Near Sellafield – Ooops don’t mention Sellafield.

Many thanks to Real Media for posting a guest blog – the background story and info about the coal mine fiasco that you won’t see in the main stream media.  There is an updated version below…

 

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NIGHTMARE COAL MINE NEAR SELLAFIELD?
WHAT CAN WE DO ?

NIGHTMARE
Like one of those nasty nightmares that pulls the dreamer to an inevitable conclusion it is shocking that on March 19th in Kendal, Cumbria County Council approved the plan for the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades. Nevertheless it is rather suspicious that the Committee voted unanimously to give the green light to the diabolic plan. But then, there were no background noises of dissent in the years ahead of the planning decision that might have made the Committee think twice. Quite the opposite. There was almost universal silence from the national media.

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Protest staged by Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole after the Unanimous vote by the Development Control and Regulation Committee of Cumbria County Council on 19th March.  Photo credit: Philip Gilligan South Lakeland  CND

Silence, apart that is, from the occasional coverage which seemed to
come direct from the developer’s press releases. There were no outraged editorials or national campaigns by big NGOs. No mention from climate guru George Monbiot. This is despite the fact that the obscene coal mine plan was rumbling nightmarishly along for so many years. Only the blogosphere was raising the alarm. Including a very strong and early shout out from Jonathon Porritt.
SO DAMN NEAR SELLAFIELD
Radiation Free Lakeland are a civil society group concerned with nuclear safety. We started a dedicated campaign in 2017 to Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole because we could see that this plan was going massively under the radar and because it is so damn near Sellafield’s growing stockpiles of highly active and uniquely dangerous radioactive wastes. Our frustrations grew about the coal mine and the big silence from big hitters. As a voluntary group our public reach is small. We witnessed the aggressive PR and lobbying campaign by the developers. This lobbying by the developers included winning the hearts and minds of Green minded folk  MPs and Government Departments with the hugely deceitful mantra of we ‘need a massive new coking coal mine to make the steel for wind turbines’ and presenting to the public a homey image of West Cumbria Mining despite the major shareholder being a Cayman Island fund controlled via Singapore by managers based in Australia and HongKong. For ourselves we had a premonition about the way this was going and crowdfunded to enable us to continue to fight the plan with a Judicial Review should Cumbria County Council be led down the enticing garden path to the coal mine.
At the 11th hour it was such a relief to see some big hitters publicly putting their shoulders to the wheel to stop the mine. This included Scientists for Global Responsibility whose Director Dr Stuart Parkinson spoke at the Planning Meeting saying : “I have calculated that during the main production phase the mine would lead to emissions of over 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent for every year it is in operation. This amount is similar to the annual emissions of over 1 million British citizens. ”

And Dr Laurie Michaelis who has “worked on climate-related issues for thirty five years, been a lead author for reports of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the IPCC – and provided technology policy advice for the UK government, European Commission and UN climate negotiators.” Dr Michaelis went on to say that: “Speaking to you feels like possibly the single most important thing I’ll do in my life….Your officers have not obtained suitable expert advice to correct the misinformation…When coal is used to make steel, 99% of the carbon content ends up as CO2 in the atmosphere….Thousands could die early because of heatwaves, disease and other causes. You will share responsibility with WCM, steel manufacturers and final users. If you refuse, coal might be sourced elsewhere; that’s the kind of argument people often use to justify wrongdoing. You can prevent this coal from being used.”

While we have as a group been lobbying climate activists for years now to actively oppose the coal mine, we have also been campaigning on the uniquely dangerous environmental impacts of this coal mine. The close proximity to Sellafield’s stockpiles of highly active radioactive wastes could have catastrophic impacts not just for Cumbria but for the whole of Europe. The deaths resulting from a seismically induced catastrophe at Sellafield could be in the millions, not the thousands described by climate scientists as a result of climate impacts from the coal mine.

Sellafield from St Bees

Sellafield viewed from St Bees

Despite this the Office for Nuclear Regulation has washed its hands of any responsibility and has provided the County Council with an excuse to be nonchalant about the close proximity of the mine to Sellafield . The ONR’s official remit to consult on planning applications is 7.4 km from Sellafield. The coal mine extends to 8km from Sellafield ie 600 metres difference.

 

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It has not gone unnoticed by Radiation Free Lakeland that the coal mine plan extends to right up to the area under the Irish Sea that is has been earmarked as ‘suitable’ as a possible site

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Image based on West Cumbria Mining’s own map

for the geological disposal of the decades of nuclear wastes resulting from the nuclear civil military industrial complex.

Nor has it gone unnoticed that there is a revolving door between the government body tasked with “facilitating geological disposal” and West Cumbria Mining. Mark Kirkbride West Cumbria Mining’s CEO has a portfolio which includes “deep geological disposal investigations” while Steve Reece formerly Operations Director of West Cumbria Mining is now Head of Site Evaluation at the government body Radioactive Waste Management who are tasked with ‘delivery’ of a Geological Disposal Facility for high level nuclear wastes.  There may be nothing suspicious in this revolving door but we have to say that the silence over this diabolic new coal mine has been almost deliberate, almost like a Defence Advisory notice or something along similar lines has been issued on this coal mine plan. A coal mine which has, ironically the full support of the nearby nuclear industry!  The Guardian’s Adam Vaughan told us in all seriousness that the paper’s editors have said they would ‘report on the plan when a decision has been made.’ That kind of Orwellian journalistic policy was guaranteed to keep the public in the dark. When the coal mine was approved what they and other media outlets did not report in their crocodile tears of mock shock and horror was that the folk who have been actively campaigning against the plan from the beginning are nuclear safety campaigners.  This not been mentioned anywhere in the National press neither has the close proximity to Sellafield, with one exception – the German Newspaper, Taz.

This coal mine should have been stopped as a result of public outcry on climate grounds alone, but it wasn’t because the public have effectively been kept in the dark about it. We are wondering Why?  

ACTION! ASK THE SECRETARY OF STATE TO CALL IN CRAZY COAL MINE DECISION

We have already delivered a petition of 1527 signatures to the Secretary of State James Brokenshire. We are however keeping the petition open to show the strength of feeling against the coal mine.  PLEASE SIGN AND OR SEND James Brokenshire a letter urging him to call in the decision (see below).

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP, Tim Farron has written asking for the decision to be called in and he has been vehemently condemned for this by the Mayor of Copeland, Mike Starkie who was reported in the local press as saying that Farron should “Butt Out of West Cumbria” Tim Farron has pointed out that Climate impacts from the mine won’t stop at Scafell. We agree and would also point out that neither would Nuclear impacts.

We believe that the more people and groups that write and request that the Secretary of State calls in the decision made by Cumbria County Council the better as a show of force will demonstrate the strength of feeling against the mine.

The letter should be addressed to James Brokenshire MP, the Secretary of State. james.brokenshire@communities.gsi.gov.uk.
Re: Application Reference No. 4/17/9007 – Former Marchon Site, Pow Beck Valley and area from Marchon Site to St Bees Coast, Whitehaven, Cumbria

Our full letter can be found here – even a paragraph would be good to send to the Secretary of State– the main point to make is that West Cumbria Mining has not given figures on CO2 Emissions. There are no independent assessments. There has been no detailed scrutiny or debate on the close proximity of deep mining to Sellafield’s high level radioactive wastes.

Marianne Birkby
Founder of Radiation Free Lakeland
Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole is a RaFL campaign

 

 

Bad News and Good News

Dear Friends,

There is bad news and good news.  Bad news is that apparently the Development Control & Regulation decision cannot be ‘called in’ internally by Cumbria County Council

Good news is that all your fantastic emails and messages to councillors and others has resulted in Tim Farron MP requesting that the Secretary of State calls in this diabolic decision to give a green light to the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades.

We shall give an update on how we can best support this request for a call in by Tim Farron MP to the Secretary of State as soon as possible.

In the meantime – for those folk who were not able to get to the meeting, here are a few videos taken on the day (sorry I didn’t get all the speakers including myself!)   Grab a cuppa and watch the terrible drama unfold – and make no mistake this will make your toes curl.  It is significant that the proximity to Sellafield was not even brought up as an issue by the Council officers.  Sickeningly the members of the committee laughed their socks off when I pointed out that a liquefaction event had taken place in Barrow in the 1800’s – the ground at Sellafield is at high risk of liquefaction in the event of seismic activity.  The last thing we need is earthquake inducing deep mining and massive fresh water extraction to wash the coal (to be extracted from a fault near Whitehaven – they kept that freshwater extraction quiet!).

 

Part 1. Council Officials addressing the  Development Control and Regulation Committee of Cumbria County Council. The full council did not have a chance to debate this.  We heard Lib Dem Cllr and Chair of the meeting Geoff Cook clearly approve of the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades. Incredibly the close proximity (8km) to Sellafield was not discussed at all by councillors or by their officials.

 

 

Part 2 . Part 2. Official of Cumbria County Council outlining how adverse effects can be mitigated from the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades (really?)

 

Part 3. Dr Henry Adams of SLACCtt making a presentation to Cumbria County Council “SLACCtt most strongly objects to West Cumbria Mining’s application because the carbon emissions it would add are so huge that they would have very significant negative consequences that would far outweigh the benefits claimed.”

 

Part 4.  Dr Laurie Michaelis IPCC Emissions report author and coordinator of Living Witness.  making a breathtaking presentation to Cumbria County Council –

“Speaking to you feels like possibly the single most important thing I’ll do in my life.”

which they totally ignored.

 

Part 5. Sam of Radiation Free Lakeland/Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole exposes West Cumbria Mining’s false promises over jobs. “It would be truly difficult to find a bigger dead duck proposal than producing fossil fuels for a declining European steel industry. …Cumbria has had it’s fair share of dead and dying industries – old coal and now nuclear – we do not need another dead duck industry . . . Coal is not the future. It could perhaps be said of the WCM proposal that it was a well-intentioned attempt to bring employment to the area. It could equally be said that it was an unrealistic bubble from the start What we need are jobs that do have a future. Please look to the future stability of jobs in Cumbria and JUST SAY NO.”

 

Part 6.  Dr Stuart Parkinson, Executive Director of Scientists for Global Responsibility   “In summary, approving this application for a coal mine would be a huge step backwards for efforts to tackle climate change – and thus would increase the risks of extreme weather events such as storms and floods. Meanwhile, the economic case for the mine is flawed. Therefore, I strongly urge the planning committee to reject the application. ”   

Part 7. Mayor of Copeland, Mike Starkie tells councillors to Ignore the “sensationalist” claims of the objectors who have nothing to do with West Cumbria and the objectors views should carry no weight whatsoever (?! what a brass neck this Mayor has… many objectors are local to Whitehaven  and WCM is a dodgy company funded by who knows who from who knows where). Councillors agree entirely with the Mayor of Copeland (who makes the ‘Jaws’ Mayor look quite reasonable) and vote unanimously to approve the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades.  The Mayor points out that Sellafield are right behind this plan to mine deep holes in Cumbria.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Farron - Written to ONR.jpg

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

 

KEEP CUMBRIAN COAL IN THE HOLE
PRESENTATION FOR DC&R Committee 19:3.19

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

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

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

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

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

SEISMIC 

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

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

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

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

WATER

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

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

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

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

Notes:

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

Reply to CCC from the ONR: 

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

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

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

  • R. M. W. Musson

“High intensity and liquefaction phenomena are usually associated only with relatively large magnitude earthquakes. An earthquake in 1865 in the northwest of England suggests that a sufficiently shallow small event can also produce liquefaction. The effects are well-documented in historical sources and include sand fountaining. Modern investigation is confined to documentary evidence owing to the tidal environment of the area where liquefaction occurred. Analysis shows that the felt area of the earthquake was probably only about 200 km2; however, heavy damage occurred in the village of Rampside and the maximum intensity is assessed at 8. Liquefaction is not uncommon at this intensity, but such a high intensity is not usually produced by such small erathquakes. The magnitude was probably in the range 2.5–3.5 M L .”    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226374518_The_Barrow-in-Furness_Earthquake_of_15_February_1865_Liquefaction_from_a_Very_Small_Magnitude_Event

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

https://www.advancedsciencenews.com/assessing-water-issues-in-chinas-coal-industry/