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.

 

image.png

 

Advertisements

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

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole.jpg

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/

While Other Colleges and Schools Strike for the Climate, Lakes College Backs the Beyond Crazy Coal Mine Plan…Why????

school strike.jpg

Today’s Guardian

Meanwhile in Cumbria the Lakes College pledges support for the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years

image.png

Chris Nattrass, principal of Lakes College, Sellafield employees Stuart Burke and Liam Wood, and Colin Reed, chairman of the Board for the national college

While other schools and colleges are striking to to stop fossil fuels being dug up out of the ground and burnt,  one of Cumbria’s leading colleges is in a parallel universe.

The following submission has been sent to Cumbria County Council in support of the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years.

As Principal of Lakes College, I write in support of the proposal for West Cumbria Mining in Copeland. I believe this will have a very positive impact upon the Cumbrian economy providing significant employment and skills opportunities for local residents.  

Chris Nattrass.   Principle of Lakes College – (which is also the National College for Nuclear)

 

Tweet the Queen: Tis She Who Holds the Key to the Irish Sea’s Coal

battle black blur board game
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We do have bad news that Cumbria County Council’s officers have recommended approval of the first deep coal mine in 30 years (there are conditions but even so).

I will be speaking at the meeting on 19th March in Kendal on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole to oppose this diabolic plan and hope that folk with join us in demonstrating opposition.

We will meet outside Cumbria County Council Offices in Kendal (where folk can also get married)  from 8.45 to visibly show our opposition to this crazy plan.   There is a facebook group for the demo here

You can write and show opposition too up till the date of the meeting.

One way to do this is to send a tweet to the Monarch who has entered into an arrangement with the Developers, West Cumbria Mining.

My tweet:

Please scrap the arrangement with West Cumbria Mining for the first deep coal mine in 30 years. The Crown own the subsea mineral rights and have the authority and wherewithal to prevent this rape of the Irish Sea 8km from Sellafield. Thanks!!

Please send your own tweet (best keep it polite) to the Monarch

There is more info about the totally dodgy arrangement between the Monarchy and West Cumbria Mining here

Also Thank you so much if you have signed the petition Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole (its too near Sellafield!), can you please help spread the word by forwarding the link below to your friends?  This petition and this terrible plan has recieved so very little scrutiny from the mainstream!

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

 

The Crown and the Irish Sea

Prince Charles has spoken passionately many times about the fragility of the world’s oceans and the need to protect them against dangerous and polluting developments.

We were shocked to find that the Crown has signed an agreement with West Cumbria Mining in order to exploit the rich coal seams lying in faulted  and complex geology beneath the Irish Sea bed.

Whats that you say :  Clutching at straws to Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole?   You bet!

But this is some right Royal straw and it is a very serious matter that should concern Prince Charles and the dignity of the Crown at least as much as the diabolic plan to open the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years concerns us.

Below is a letter to the Crown’s representative in Cumbria.

To The Lieutenancy Office:

Suzannah Walker, Assistant Clerk to the Lieutenancy, Cumbria House, 107-117 Botchergate, Carlisle, Cumbria CA1 1RD

I am writing on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole and would be very grateful if the following could be sent to the appropriate person for the attention of the Lord-Lieutenant for Cumbria, Mrs Claire Hensman for advice on how to raise concerns about this issue.

Our concern:

The association of the monarch with the exploitation (by means of possible/probable dubious foreign capital from China) of fossil fuels under the Irish Sea bed. The fossil fuel safely in the ground under the Irish Sea which the monarch inherited as sovereign must, by law, custom and practice be passed on to her eventual successor who is presumed to be HRH the Prince of Wales.

Our members and sympathetic associates understand that HM holds the sub-sea mineral rights as far as the limit of UK territorial waters and that HM, personally, made an exploration agreement with the developers, West Cumbria Mining dated 21st July 2017. The results of the subsequent exploration have not yet been shared (as far as we know) with the elected representatives of HM’s subjects who are resident in Cumbria and who are now being invited by their staff to give planning permission on 22nd February in Kendal.

The dignity of the Crown in Cumbria is we believe under threat as a result of this arrangement between HM , the developers WCM and their funders EMR Capita.

We would be very grateful if we could be informed of the correct way to raise these concerns.

Yours sincerely,

Marianne Birkby

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

(address supplied)

Link to the Agreement between  HM and WCM can be found here: https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/07143398/charges/lXWNTRigei_OaJQXhs2MwyKZ7ms

EMR Capital – Chinese Money d http://emrcapital.com/our-team/our-team/

the crown - wcm

COAL!! BBC & Magical Thinking

ash background beautiful blaze
Ashes and Dust

The BBC’s latest Christmas Cracker is to promote the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years like there is no tomorrow.

Yesterday’s Radio 4 PM programme treated listeners to the most highly sweetened, sickening concoction of greenwash promoting a coal mine.  The plan for Woodhouse Colliery under the Irish Sea extending over 50 years towards Sellafield  seems to be enjoying the most magical of magical thinking.

It is an enigma wrapped up in coal dust.  Where is George Monbiot?  Where is David Attenborough?   Where is the Extreme Energy Network?  Where are Extinction Rebellion? Where is Everyone?  What is the BBC’s Game?

COMPLAINT TO THE BBC

I was interested to hear the PM broadcast about the proposed first deep coal mine in over 30 years. We heard from the mining developers, the Mayor of Copeland and former miners, all of whom expressed delight with the proposal. There were no dissenting voices. The reporter’s questions were superficial and too easily satisfied by the developers cynical reassurances that the steel would be used for wind turbines. This is nonsense to hoodwink the public, they could just as well have pointed out that the biggest steel structure in the world is nuclear related -over Chernobyl. This bias from PM is shocking given that the West Cumbrian coal mine is the most methane rich in the country. Despite false assurances from the developers on the programme, it proposes to produce middlings, (thermal coal) as well as coking coal, the majority of which is for export. The DEFRA Emission Factors for Company Reporting, 2017 give upstream emissions from coking coal supply as 442kg CO2e per tonne of coal. The mine will extend closer to Sellafield than ever before with the attendant risk of earthquake from such huge abstraction of coal. I expected to hear from at least one of those opposing the mine to point out the cumulative dangers, but the programme ended in a congratulatory tone. This is shocking bias from the BBC given that this is a development which is due to go before Cumbria County Council maybe as soon as February.

Complaint to the BBC Woodhouse Colliery 27,12,18