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


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.]



Cumbria County Council would be responsible for “causing many thousands of climate deaths” should this Coal Mine plan be approved says Ecological Consultant


You can still write to oppose this plan until the Planning Meeting on 19th March – email


This is from South Lakes Action on Climate Change –     Bravo!


Dear Rachel Brophy,

Re: Application ref 4/17/9007 by West Cumbria Mining Ltd re proposed coal mine at Whitehaven

Last week’s High Court judgement: A pro-fossil fuel Paragraph in the 2018 NPPF is effectively illegal.

I am writing on behalf of South Lakes Action on Climate Change to make Planning Officers aware of a High Court Judgement which effectively makes illegal a paragraph in the ‘Oil, gas and coal exploration and extraction’ section of the 2018 NPPF, which has important implications as regards how climate change impacts should be considered as a planning consideration at local government level. We at SLACCtt most strongly advise that this ruling and their implications are given urgent and priority attention by the Planning Officers involved in producing their report to the Development Control Committee on WCM’s coal mine application.

The attached letter is an addition to our letter of objection dated 18/2/18 and covers the above key addition as well as important implications of IPCC’s Special Report for 1.5 degrees, WCM’s carbon emissions and the many thousands of consequential climate deaths, and also a critique of WCM’s claims as regards emissions from shipping coal.

The attached letter was written just before I heard that the Planning Officers have produced their report to the committee on WCM’s application. We regard the implications of the High Court Judgement of sufficient importance, together with the implications of the IPCC SR1.5 report, and the consequent many thousands of deaths that the WCM project will cause, that the report should be withdrawn and revised.

The Court judgement means that Project Officers can no longer work on the basis that the NPPF, the Planning System, and indeed Written Ministerial Statements, are necessarily legally correct in facilitating or providing loop-holes for, the extraction of more fossil fuels. Fossil fuel extraction is now being legally challenged.

This means that the Cumbria County Council, its Planning Officers and Councillor Committee members, can no longer use an excuse that they have to follow government statements or policies that are pro-fossil fuel extraction, when they recommend or decide on fossil applications such as from the WCM.

This also means that any officers who advise councillors to accept WCM’s application, and likewise any councillors who vote in favour, will share responsibility for causing the many thousands of climate deaths and air pollution deaths that will very likely result from their decision.

Yours sincerely Dr Henry Adams (Ecological Consultant)


Dear Ms Brophy,


12th March 2019


Re: Application ref 4/17/9007 by West Cumbria Mining Ltd for Development of an existing surface mine entrance for a new underground metallurgical coal mine and associated surface development including: […] at the former Marchon site (High Road) Whitehaven […] off Mirehouse Road, Pow Beck valley and area from, Marchon Site to St Bees Coast

This letter adds to SLACCtt’s 18/2/18 letter of objection to WCM’s proposal, which is appended here.

Both letters are also separately online, at bit.ly/SLACCttNOtoCOAL1 and bit.ly/SLACCttNOtoCOAL2 in date order.Key additions to 18/2/18 letter: High Court judgement on NPPF and its implications, IPCC SR1.5, WCM

emissions and consequential climate deaths, critique of WCM shipping emissions claims.

1. A High Court judgement last week has in effect made illegal a paragraph in the ‘Oil, gas and coal exploration and extraction’ section of the 2018 NPPF, which has important implications as regards how climate change impacts should be considered as a planning consideration at local government level. We at SLACCtt most strongly advise that this ruling and their implications are given urgent and priority attention by the Planning Officers involved in producing their report to the DevelopmentControl Committee on WCM’s coal mine application.

2. The High Court Judge ruled on 6th March that the Government was acting illegally to ignore recent scientific papers on climate science and fossil fuel extraction, when it copied across a 2015 Written Ministerial Statement into Paragraph 209a of the 2018 Revised NPPF, despite having received a report showing that the 2015 WMS was not scientifically valid. Although Paragraph 209a concerns onshore oiland gas extraction, nonetheless the High Court ruling has wider implications as regards all ‘Oil, gas and coal exploration and extraction’ in chapter 17 on minerals, including Paragraph 211 on coal, and also on government planning policies in general – where fossil fuels and climate change are involved.

3. Put simply, the ruling implies more widely that other paragraphs in the NPPF, and the wider planning structure put in place by central government where it concerns fossil fuels, need to be re-examined and updated with regards recent additions to climate science. The judge also appeared to accept that it is valid for campaigners and local government to treat climate impacts as a planning consideration at a local level (instead of leaving this consideration to central government policy under pressure from above). These 2 points are of vital relevance to WCM’s very high carbon application.

4. It is essential for CumbriaCC to look ahead at such implications regarding future inevitable changes in policy including to the NPPF, to avoid decisions that result in future stranded assets (If WCM’sproject is wrongly given the go-ahead, it will have to be closed down in a few years).


How does this apply to coal, WCM and CumbriaCC?5. 2018 Revised NPPF: Quotes from p.61:

Oil, gas and coal exploration and extraction

209. Minerals planning authorities should:
a) recognise the benefits of on-shore oil and gas development, including unconventional hydrocarbons, for the security of energy supplies and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy; and put in place policies to facilitate their exploration and extraction;

211. Planning permission should not be granted for the extraction of coal unless: a) the proposal is environmentally acceptable, or can be made so by planning conditions or obligations; or b) if it is not environmentally acceptable, then it provides national, local or community benefits which clearly outweigh its likely impacts (taking all relevant matters into account, including any residual environmental impacts).

6. So 209.a is now illegal (or at least – the process that put it there). We reckon this should apply in a wider sense also to 211 – which persists with loop-holes for the most climate-damaging (and health- damaging) big fossil fuel. 211 should have banned all coal mining. For advocates of metallurgical coal aka coking coal being an exception – there is no carbon budget scope now for any new coking coal mines in the UK.

7. We have known for years that the NPPF does not accord with climate science as regards the emissions reductions required, and the 2018 Revised NPPF failed to plug the loopholes (Ref:bit.ly/growth-cc-nppf). Furthermore, legislation including even the 2008 Climate Change Act, failed to plug the other over-used loophole that allows fossil fuel advocates (including the UK government) to frequently claim “climate benefits”, or “climate savings”, for fossil fuel projects by confining attention to just UK territorial emissions (as shown by Paragraph 209a), and ignoring additions to global emissions. Claims of “displacing” possibly higher carbon imports actually mean adding to global emissions if the displaced fuel is burnt abroad. Such claims – if they are to comply with climate science, should be considered invalid if they fail also to apply to global emissions (to stop the hypocrisy of“gaming the [international carbon-accounting] system”). WCM provides an example:*


* 8. The “climate savings” from shipping coal that WCM wishes to divert us to, are only about 1% of the size of its combustion emissions, and are only realizable as regards global emissions reductions if another nation –WCM points to the US – is willing enough to leave in the ground at least 99% of the same quantity of coal that WCM wishes to extract. We doubt if the US would oblige by even 1%!

WCM would be adding its coal and all associated emissions to the global total without any mechanism to ensure any replacement of other coal sources. Increased supply would have an influence towards lowering the global price of coking coal, which would have a detrimental influence on the economics of lower carbon methods of producing steel such as using renewable-powered electric arc with steel from recycling, or new innovative methods under development for iron ore.

My spreadsheet calculations are or soon will be online here: http://www.bit.ly/SLACCttNOtoCOAL5

9. These loopholes have kept the door open to Banks Group to pursue new open-cast mining applications, and WCM the present project. All these coal projects are incompatible with the UK being on track for the 2015 Paris temperature goals, and even more so for keeping below +1.5 degrees, the latter now requiring the world to halve emissions by 2030, which for wealthy countries means the UK being carbon net zero by 2030.

10. Very obviously, the 8 million tonnes of CO2 per year that WCM coal would emit if combusted, canin no way fit with such a rapid and immediate emissions reduction requirement, and that’s beforeadding the significant within-UK upstream emissions from the project, and other GHGs such as methane. Such emissions would be very high in relation to Cumbria’s carbon budget. The emissions would undermine the possibility of Cumbria meeting a 1.5 degrees emissions reduction path, i.e. of reaching net zero carbon by 2030, and thus the aim for Cumbria County Council to declare a Climate Emergency to assist putting those targets in place. Also as Laurie Michaelis points out: “If Cumbria County Council knowingly allows this mine to be developed, it bears at least a share of moral responsibility for those deaths and may in the future bear legal responsibility.”

11. Climate-related deaths equivalent to WCM carbon emissions
I have calculated from WCM production figures that the combustion emissions from the 133 million tonnes of

coal they hope to extract over 50 years to be 400 million tonnes CO2e

Both Laurie Michaelis and SLACCtt (myself) have separately calculated climate deaths from a subset of climate health impacts (from a WHO report) and we produced figures of similar magnitude of thousands of deaths from the subset category alone. It would be significantly higher if other categories of coal-products-related deaths are added. I have calculated a minimum of 1 climate death per year in the subset category from 1 year of WCM emissions. x50x100 gives a minimum of around 5,000+ deaths over 100 years from 50 years mining, which relates to over ten deaths per job. A more-than linear relationship (which is more likely according to LM), could hugely amplify these figures (NB: see LM’s submissions for details as well as what they mean and imply).

This means that Officers writing the report, and Committee members making the final decision – will be deciding the fate of many thousands of lives – and would need to use their own ethical and moral judgements. The High Court ruling means that an equivalent of “just following orders” (which I have seen too much in hearings by other committees) would have even less ethical weight now than before the ruling.

We must no longer discount or externalize impacts outside of application localities in space and over time.My spreadsheet calculations for emissions and deaths are, or soon will be, online here: http://www.bit.ly/SLACCttNOtoCOAL4

12. SLACCtt thus recommends that CumbriaCC now has a legal precedent as well as an ethical and moral duty to regard Paragraph 211 as legally suspect, and in urgent need of updating to accord with up-to-date climate science. This would mean looking forward to how policy including the NPPF will have to change in the future, and assuming that there should be no more coal mining in the UK. Cumbria CC should take into account the following:

13. On 2 May the Committee on Climate Change (CCCuk) will publish it’s “Report: Advice on the UK’slong-term climate change targets: In light of the Paris Agreement, and the IPCC’s recent special reporton global warming of 1.5°C, the Committee on Climate Change will provide new advice to theGovernment and the devolved administrations on the UK’s long-term climate change targets.” If thisreport takes care to avoid loopholes or ambiguities, and has regard for UK impacts on global as well as UK territorial emissions, then it is likely to state or imply that the UK must stop mining for coal, and urge other changes to the NPPF and planning. Please anticipate this.

14. The CCCuk informed Government that its policies are not on track for meeting UK’s carbon budgets over this coming decade. These budgets are to meet the “at least 80% of 1990 levels by 2050”emissions reduction target of the 2008 Climate Change Act. It is important to realize that climatescientists now agree that the “80% by 2050” target is now inadequate to meet its original target of +2 degrees or “a little above 2 degrees”. This means that current government policies head not just


slightly above 2 degrees, but a lot above 2 degrees, which means that big changes in policies will have to urgently be implemented – and should include the NPPF.

15. The temperature goals of 2015 The Paris Agreement are to keep “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 20C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.50C above pre-industrial levels”. Government emission reduction policies are thus totally inadequate for the goals the UK signed up to. Furthermore – CCCuk’s remit enshrinedin the 2008CCA have yet to be both updated to comply with the Paris temperature goals. Ref:https://henryadamsblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/02/how-the-ccc-is-not-paris-compliant/

16. The IPCC’s Special Report for 1.5 degrees has shown much more clearly, by assessing the climate impacts at 1.5 degrees and 2 degrees in comparison, that the impacts of 1.5 degrees are bad enough, that 2 degrees is much worse than 1.5, and that the 2 degrees target is now considered much worse than thought in the last decade (except by low-lying/island nations), and that the 1.5 degrees target should be the one to aim for rather than 2 degrees. Yet UK policies are still nearer +3 degrees than 1.5.

17. To stay below 1.5 degrees we need to do more than just greatly change UK policies, and I’vesummarized and collated relevant studies and their implications here: http://www.bit.ly/growth-cc andwww.bit.ly/growth-cc-nppf (on behalf of SLACCtt. Main target readers: local government officers and cllrs).

18. Furthermore, a significant number of climate scientists reckon IPCC’s SR1.5 is over-conservative, gives inadequate consideration of potential climate tipping points in its summary report, and that 1.5 degrees may be exceeded by 2030.

19. I hope by now you are fully convinced that Paragraph 211 should be regarded as incompatible withUK’s climate commitments, and that WCM’s application can be rejected on climate grounds alone (aswell as on other important issues summarized by FoE and other groups).

20. It is heartening to see that Councillors used climate impacts as a planning consideration against the high emissions application by IGas at Ellesmere Port, and climate scientist Professor Kevin Anderson gave evidence on the GHG impact: https://drillordrop.com/2019/01/22/live-news-updates-day-5-of-inquiry- into-igas-test-plans-for-ellesmere-port-well/ Fossil fuel applications must be challenged. The case for doing so is strong, and is now helped by the High Court precedent for challenging the NPPF.

21. As to priorities: It is important to view “jobs and growth” as what is possible within a framework of climate and environment – without going beyond ‘planetary boundaries’ (Kate Raworth 2017‘Doughnut Economics’). Acting on climate will require many jobs (e.g. house insulation).


In light of the above, SLACCtt most strongly recommends that CumbriaCC does not shy from making climate impacts a key planning consideration, and to incorporate up-to-date climate science and itsimplications in both the Planning Officers report for the Committee and the Councillor members’reasons for the final decision. The pro-fossil parts of both NPPF and applications should be challenged.

Yours sincerely,


Chris Rowley / –

Dr Henry Adams on behalf of SLACCtt



The above includes the first author’s interpretation of how the Judge’s High Court ruling should be regarded – in a way that looks forward in the direction to future such legal steps and policy changes to hopefully follow climate science (and hopefully not too far behind). I have appended copies of write-ups by Leigh Day and others below – so that you can form your own interpretation, which I hope will view the direction of travel that law and planning will have to take to catch up with climate science – and how this will apply to long-term high carbon applications (like that by WCM) that could if not stopped, become stranded assets.


I can provide further references for above statements if requested henryadams@dragonfly1.plus.comI have appended a copy of SLACCtt’s first submission to CumbriaCC objecting to WCM’s application.

I most strongly recommend everyone reads the objection letters by Laurie Michaelis – who has had much experience in climate science, and by by Maggie Mason – who has had years of very relevant experience in planning. I also recommend as regards climate impacts letters by FoE and Stuart Parkinson (Director of Scientists for Global Responsibility).

6mar19 Government’s fracking policy ruled unlawful – Leigh Day
The High Court has today ruled that key elements of the government’s national fracking policy are unlawful.https://www.leighday.co.uk/News/2019/March-2019/Governments-fracking-policy-ruled-unlawful

6mar29 TALK FRACKING WIN COURT CASE AS GOVERNMENT’S FRACKING PLANNING POLICY ISDECLARED UNLAWFUL – Claire Stephenson – Talk Frackinghttp://www.talkfracking.org/slider-3/talk-fracking-win-fracking-court-case-against-goverment/

The 2018 revised NPPF and the planning system in relation to ‘economic growth’ and climate change- Dr Henry Adams – draft towards a several-document potential SLACCtt publication, now online atwww.bit.ly/growth-cc-nppf

6mar19 Breaking: Campaigners win court challenge over government support for fracking – RUTH HAYHURST https://drillordrop.com/2019/03/06/breaking-campaigners-win-court-challenge-over-government- support-for-fracking/

6mar19 High court rules government’s fracking guidelines ‘unlawful’ – Court finds government failed to consider scientific evidence against fracking – Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondenthttps://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/06/high-court-rules-governments-fracking-guidelines- unlawful

6mar19 Government fracking policy declared unlawful by High Court

‘It is clear what the government must now do, namely hold a full review of its policy support for fracking’- Josh GabbatissScience Correspondent @josh_gabbatiss https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home- news/fracking-policy-high-court-ruling-government-unlawful-housing-energy-a8810101.html

6mar19 Fracking: Government guidance ‘unlawful’ rules High Court – By Dulcie LeeBBC Newshttps://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47472732

BBC Northwest Tonight: High Court decision on planning rules for fracking

Kate Raworth (2017) ‘Doughnut Economics’ (book) – summary re climate in http://www.bit.ly/growth-cc



Excellent Letter from Maggie Mason


Here is an excellent letter from Mrs Maggie Mason reproduced with her kind permission.

It would be really good if folk could write to Cumbria County Council before 13th March saying that they fully support Mrs Maggie Mason’s letter.  Perhaps making some of your own points too.

Please email: nicola.harrison@cumbria.gov.uk.



Mrs Rachel Brophy County Offices Busher Walk Kendal

Cumbria LA9 4RQ


Dear Mrs Brophy


Planning Application: 4/17/9007 West Cumbria Mining


I am writing to express my objection to the West Cumbria Mining’s planning application number 4/17/9007. Having considered the revised submissions I consider that the application should be refused because it does not conform to policies the following policies in Cumbria County Council’s Minerals and Waste Local Plan:

SP1 Presumption in favour of sustainable development

SP13  Climate change mitigation and adaptation

SP14  Economic benefit

SP15  Environmental assets

SP17 Section 106 planning obligations

DC2 General criteria

DC6 Cumulative environmental impacts

DC13 Criteria for energy minerals

DC22 Restoration and aftercare

I note that the Environment Agency, the Coal Authority and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds continue to maintain that insufficient evidence has been provided to approve this planning application and I hope that the officer’s report will recommend that the Development Control and Regulation Committee refuse the application.


I consider that the disbenefits of the development outweigh the benefits, which makes the proposal fail to meet many of the policies above. This is the case whether we take into account just the onshore development (where CCC is the Planning Authority), or the total development including off shore fossil fuel extraction (where the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is the decision maker).

It is clearly wrong to include benefits of the offshore activity without the adverse impacts.


Due to my recent bereavement I cannot fully develop the case I wish to make into formal reasons for refusal on each policy, but I request permission to speak at the planning committee on the 19th March.

The following section explains the three core problems with this proposal as I see them, which cut across all the policies above.

1. This is a proposal for additional fossil fuel extraction at a time when the world faces a totally unprecedented environmental, human catastrophe if urgent action is not taken to leave fossil fuels in the ground.


a. Although the development is for coking coal for use in the steel industry, a significant volume of high emissions “middlings” coal will be produced. There can be no watertight, enforceable way of guaranteeing it will only be used in processes which capture the worst emissions from that coal (as per the assurances the applicant has made).


b. In any case, the use suggested, is itself a huge contribution to dangerous climate change. The “carbon” assessment assuming that this coal extraction would not be additional to the current US source of coking coal, but that the difference in miles travelled constitutes carbon reduction has been fully considered and minimised is oversimplified and unrealistic . It ignores the reduction in price due to additional supply which will enable more to be sold, and burnt. Hence I consider that a significant proportion of the carbon emissions arising from the coal to be extracted should be included in the carbon assessment.

c. The applicant states that this coal will support the UK steel industry, whose future has now been secured. This is not the case, Port Talbot is supported only until 2022. The European Steel Industry is also under severe threat from China, and the UK. The likely outcome is either: that the demand for this coal will drop sharply, OR that it will be transported longer distances.


2. There are significant risks of subsidence offshore, where there are known to be layers of chemical and radioactive pollution on the sea bed. The application addresses this by extracting only a significant distance off shore, and pumping mining waste back into the voids which it is claimed will reduce the subsidence risk.

a. Toxic substances disturbed by subsidence would move freely through the marine environment and there could be no way of preventing adverse impacts in protected areas, and to fish and other marine organisms. One impact which can bring the reality of the risk home to us, is that the percentage of multi-wintering salmon returning to Cumbrian rivers has reduced from 25% to 2-3%. All the rest die at sea. Our river salmon populations are plummeting, and have been described as an extinction event, and it is due to changes in the marine ecology and environment.


b. No credible evidence seems to have been offered to the claim that pumping waste back into the mine will reduce subsidence. Pumping waste water back into shale gas wells has been shown to be the main cause of earthquakes in shale producing regions of the world. Inadequate seismicity testing is referred to in the Coal Authority response to the revised EIA, but note that they are only considering the onshore development. It must be even more concerning off shore.

3. It is tempting to think that this development will enable the detoxification and restoration of the Marchon site, that has been a problem for Whitehaven, and Copeland Borough Council for many years. It also appears to bring more jobs and prosperity to the town. However, this is very likely to bring more problems than benefits in the long term.

a. There are jobs during the development phase, but the application emphasises a long term future, with well paid jobs. These are related to the offshore extraction, and should not be weighed in the balance unless the potential, and unknown impacts of the offshore extraction is known.

b. An earlier application/proposal by the same backers but a different company name proposed initial coal extraction, followed by Underground Coal Gasification (UCG). This has never been done successfully in the UK, but is included in the Coal Authority Licence. The dangers of UCG, to both excess fugitive emissions, earthquakes and further subsidence would be controlled by the MMO, with no input from Cumbria County Council, as it could potentially be achieved with a minimal onshore planning permission.

c. It is perhaps more likely that UCG would be refused by the MMO , in which case this mine will close, leaving us with fugitive methane gas emissions (as in the N Cumbria Coal Bed Methane applications) and a restoration problem somewhat like Keekle Head. The finance/ownership of this mine is from Australian and other international mining corporations. S106 agreements or deposited bonds would be very difficult to pursue, and even if funds are allocated, both Scottish and Cumbrian experience shows it is never enough to cover restoration.

Yours sincerely
Mrs Maggie Mason : BA(Arch) Dip TP

Easter Greetings!

Black Guillemot – St Bees is the last nesting place in England!

Dear Friends,

Easter Greetings!  Many thanks to all who have been sharing, talking and campaigning to stop the first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years.

The planning decision date has been cancelled 3 times now. The new date for the planning meeting in Kendal is 18th April.

We continue to campaign against this plan with letters to press and actions on the streets.

Opposition letters continue to be sent to Cumbria County Council including from Scientists for Global Responsibility who have said: ”

  • ..combustion of the coal from this mine will lead to emissions of about 8.3 million tonnes of CO2 each year during the main production phase. This is about the same as the annual emissions of about 900,000 British citizens. However, because it is planned to export much of the coal, these emissions will appear in the ‘environmental accounts’ of other countries, not the UK – although the UK would arguably bear ethical responsibility.
  • Coal mines emit significant levels of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas which further exacerbates climate change. This coal mine will be no different. Such emissions are hard to control. And, of course, there will be additional carbon emissions from the fossil fuels used to produce energy for the mining process itself. Again using figures from Defra, I estimate that this will add approximately 1.2 million tonnes to the figure above, making a total of 9.5 million tonnes of CO2 each year – equivalent to over 1,000,000 UK citizens….”

Please do join Scientists for Global Responsibility and write a few lines (or more!!) opposing this plan to the Development Control Committee via DC Officer Rachel Brophy   quoting:  Planning Application 4/17/9007: Woodhouse Colliery

email: Rachel.Brophy@cumbria.gov.uk

Many thanks


Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

Letter in the Guardian – Cumbrian Coal Must Stay in the Ground

The government’s rejection of coal-mining in Northumberland is good news, says Marianne Birkby. Now they must follow up by rejecting plans for a new Cumbrian mine

St Bees, Cumbria
The proposed deep coal mine would run under the Irish Sea off the coast of St Bees, Cumbria (pictured). Photograph: Chris Ord

What fantastic news that the government has rejected plans for an opencast coal mine in Northumberland (Javid rejects plan for opencast coalmine, 24 March).

This should put the nail firmly in the coffin of the plan for the first deep coalmine in the UK in 30 years. This would be at the proposed Woodhouse Colliery, which is north of Kendal (not south as wrongly located in your article) and under the Irish Sea off the beautiful coastline of St Bees.

St Bees happens to be the last place where the black guillemot nests in England, which is why the RSPB has opposed the plan. Other reasons to oppose, apart from the compelling climate-change argument, are that it is just five miles from Sellafield. The Davy lamp was tested out in nearby Whitehaven because coal seams here are so gassy with methane. What could go wrong with mining ever nearer to Sellafield? There is a petition to sign opposing this mad plan at 38 Degrees called Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole.
Marianne Birkby
Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole