Many thanks to the Cumberland Echo for publishing this report…
|Written by John Walsh|
|Thursday, 24 September 2020|
Radiation Free Lakeland are claiming progress in their campaign to stop a new coal-mining plan for west Cumbria. The South Lakes based nuclear safety campaigners have had a reply to their call for the forthcoming decision on the coal mine to be called in should the County Council approve the amended plan.
The Secretary of State has replied to the group saying he will consider a call in.Radiation Free Lakeland were the first group to oppose the coal mine back in 2017 under their Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole campaign.They are the only group actively campaigning against the plan on nuclear concerns.
Founder of RaFL Marianne Birkby, raised nearly £11,000 by crowd funding in order to take on the legal challenge against Cumbria County Council’s decision.With the help of top lawyers Leigh Day that legal challenge has seen the coal plan repeatedly kicked into the long grass.
She said: “This reply from the Secretary of States office, saying that he will consider whether or not to call in the decision should the Council say yes is good news. “There are many reasons why this plan should be scrapped, not only on climate grounds but on nuclear safety grounds too.”
The Nuclear safety campaigners are keeping a close eye on the ongoing inquiry into the series of methane explosions in May 2020 at a newly constructed metallurgical mine in Australia. The new mine in Queensland operated by Anglo American has seen a catalogue of disasters.
It was reported – “Four of the men, who sustained horrific burns to their upper torsos and airways, have only just been moved out of intensive care, while the fifth miner was released from hospital in late May. Testifying to the intensity of the blast, he told the media that it melted the workers’ helmets and ear plugs and burnt their work clothing.” (http://www.coalzoom.com/article.cfm?articleid=22331 )RaFL have urged the council to look at the similarities and at the big nuclear difference between the new Australian mine and the Cumbria plan.The Australian mine was billed as “state of the art” which is highly automated requiring less employees and is a methane rich metallurgical coal mine. The big difference say Cumbrian nuclear safety campaigners is that the Australian mine is not five miles from the world’s acknowledged biggest concentration of radioactivity at Sellafield or beneath the Cumbrian Mud Patch – a named sediment ‘patch’ off the St Bees coastline containing plutonium and tonnes of other chemical and radioactive material from decades of nuclear reprocessing. Campaigners have sent councillors a dedicated report by an expert in marine radioactivity Tim Deere- Jones regarding the resuspension of radioactive wastes resulting from new mine subsidence.
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Petition to Stop the Cumbrian Coal Mine can be signed here