What a Week!


What a Week!!

Channel 4 skewers the Mayor, the MP and the Council bosses, Elijah gets his visit to the House, and the High Court says that there is a case to answer!

Well done everyone for getting this legal challenge off the starting blocks. Onwards and Upwards!!

Below is Leigh Day’s Press Release … you can also read it direct on their website 


Queen’s Speech: Boris is Giving Up Fossil Fuels – Just Not Yet

Hope you all had a jolly good Christmas with friends and family.

Just had to share this with you…

Here is an extract from the excellent article in the Independent a few days ago from Donnachadh McCarthy.

“The Queen’s Speech boasted about how the government was phasing out coal-fired power stations by 2025. This is genuinely positive, as coal is the highest source of carbon emissions in the energy industry. However, the speech made no mention of the fact that Johnson’s government is also giving the go-ahead to one of the biggest new coal mines in Europe, the Woodhouse Colliery in Cumbria. Johnson is beginning to resemble Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull who, despite his country being in flames, backs the new Adani coal mine. If you closed down the UK economy for a year, you would not have saved as much carbon emissions as the Woodhouse Colliery will, if allowed to open, emit over its lifetime.”   (our emphasis)

The full article can be read here

Thanks to all of you amazing folk who have been actively opposing the Woodhouse Colliery coal mine in whatever way, whether it is joining our demonstrations, writing letters, petitions, walks and talking to people about the plan. Thanks to all who have also been sharing the CrowdJustice page and donating to the fundraiser we now have a fighting chance at stopping this outrageous plan with a legal challenge.

Onwards and Upwards to 2020!

Merry Christmas to All!

Dear Friends,

Here is a Christmas Card from some of the beautiful and increasingly rare birds to be found at the area under threat from the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades.

“We Three Black Guillemots

Of St Bees, Thank You, for Keeping

Coal Deep Under the Seas.”

The only breeding place left in England of the Black Guillemot is St Bees, the area directly under threat.

St Bees Head supports northwest England’s only cliff-nesting seabird colony, which is situated between Whitehaven and St. Bees in west Cumbria. Three viewing points give you superb views of the colony and on a clear day you can see the Isle of Man across the sea.” RSPB

Thank You to everyone for generously donating

 and sharing the battle to 

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole!

With All Best Wishes for a Safe, Peaceful Christmas


on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole


So What Happened?

Here are a few Videos from the Council Meeting on 31st October at which Cumbria County Council voted unanimously to ratify the outrageous plan to mine under the Irish Sea just 5 miles from Sellafield.

A day later, buried under the front page euphoria that fracking is to be halted, the Secretary of State made the announcement that he would not call in the flawed (putting it euphemistically) decision by Cumbria County Council.

Justifying the Unjustifiable. The video shows Cumbria County Council’s reply to Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole’s letter written by top lawyers Leigh Day, asking for evidence of the developer’s (and the council’s) “carbon neutral” coal mine claims. The developers also say that 15% of the output from the mine would be “middlings coal” (ie not coking coal) and disingenuously describe this as a “byproduct” when it could be a fossil fuel development in its own right.


“There is no evidence that coal will not be produced elsewhere because this mine has opened.”   “The middlings coal reveals the lie”. “Disingenuous forecasting.” Misleading to suggest this will create jobs over the long term.”  This video shows the Leader of South Lakeland District Council, Giles Archibald making strong objections to the coal mine – all ignored


The moment of unanimous ratification of the Cumbria Coal Mine “Shame on You”  “Disgusting”


Watch this space!

Cumbria County Council Double Down on the “Carbon Neutral,” “Magical Coal Mine.” This battle is far from over!



Today on this cold sharp All Hallows Eve outside the County Offices in Kendal, folk  turned up in their droves to oppose the coal mine.  This was despite the lack of notice given to the public about this ‘ratification’ meeting.   Cumbria County Council took this unusual ‘ratification’ step because of a detailed letter sent to them highlighting flaws in the council’s original report. The letter putting Cumbria County Council ‘on notice’ of legal action was sent by top lawyers Leigh Day on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole.  Leigh Day have gone way above and beyond the initial £1500 we crowd funded way back in 2017 when we must had a premonition that this coal mine would prove to be like Terminator – unaccountably difficult to lay to rest.

Shamefully the council again voted to approve this mine, which would be the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades.   Once again the magical thinking was reiterated that this mine would be “carbon neutral” and even make “carbon savings,” despite well reasoned and researched presentations from objectors including the leader of South Lakeland District Council, Giles Archibald who urged the council not to ratify their previous ‘yes’ vote.

This battle is far from over!

There will be video’s from the meeting to follow soon – the presentation by the Leader of South Lakeland District Council is especially worth watching but in the meantime here below is the write up from ITV border.. read full report here

Councillors urged to stop plans for new coal mine in west Cumbria

Credit: PA

Campaigners against plans for a new multi-million pound coal mine in west Cumbria are holding a protest in Kendal.

They’re calling on councillors to reject permission for the scheme that they claim will harm he UK’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.

West Cumbria Mining wants to extract coal off the coast of St Bees, with a processing plant on the former Marchon site at Kells.

They say the site would process 2.5m tonnes of coking coal a year for the UK and European steel industry, replacing imports from the US, Canada, Columbia and Russia.

In a meeting held today councillors are looking to “ratify” their original decision to grant permission for the development following a legal challenge.

The authority’s planning panel were asked to look again at the controversial plans “as a matter of prudence”, with a fresh ruling expected to be announced.

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The leader of @SouthLakelandDC, Giles Archibald, is urging @CumbriaCC councillors to reject a new coal mine in West Cumbria, arguing that the suggested carbon impact underestimates its affect on .

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Solicitors representing environmental campaigners ‘Keep Cumbria Coal in the Hole’ sent a letter to the council earlier this year.

Responding to claims that the authority has failed to consider greenhouse gasses from any mining operations, planning chiefs have said that the emissions from the site would be “broadly carbon neutral”.

They argue west Cumbria would cut the need to import coking coal from further afield, actually leading to a reduced carbon footprint.

“There is nothing that would warrant a different recommendation or that would put the council’s original decision at significant risk,” the report concludes.

Plans for the new coal mine in West Cumbria were approved in March.
Plans for the new coal mine in West Cumbria were approved in March. Credit: West Coast Mining

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron presented a petition to the House of Commons calling on the Secretary of State to rule against the plans.

Speaking in the House of Commons Tim said: “I seek to present a petition on behalf of 1,852 residents of Cumbria who oppose the proposed West Cumbrian coal mine, believing that 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 calls in the application for his own determination at the earliest opportunity and that he rule against the opening of the mine.”

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Tim Farron


Presented a petition in the House of Commons on behalf of local residents opposing the planned coal mine in Cumbria.

If we’re serious about tackling climate change then we simply must keep fossil fuels in the ground.

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“Magical Coal Mine” Demo Outside County Offices Kendal, 31st Oct from 8.30am till the meeting starts at 10am

Bloody Magical Coal Mine I am!  .jpg


The presentation below has been sent to the Development Control & Regulation Committee.  I will read a shortened version of it out on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole at the meeting on the 31st in the County Offices, Kendal.

There will be a demonstration ahead of the meeting from 8.30 for people to make their views known about this outrageous plan. Bring Banners – bring yourselves!

You can send your own letter of objection in before 31st (do it quick) doesn’t need to be loads just a few lines of why Cumbria County Council is wrong to be ratifying this outrageous decision.  They even say this coal mine would be “carbon neutral” and make “carbon savings” this is incredible magical thinking.  Phone, Write to

01539 713 548

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole –

Presentation to Development Control and Regulation Committee 31st oct

Application ref no 4/17/9007


Keep Cumbrian Coal the Hole is a campaign by civil society group Radiation Free Lakeland.  We were first alerted to this coal mine as it would extend to within 5 miles of Sellafield. The risks are multiple and are on a planetary scale.

Carbon Neutral?

The overriding and often repeated message from the council’s reply to Leigh Day’s questions is that the mine would be “broadly carbon neutral”.  This assumption is crucial; yet, neither the addendum report, nor in fact any of the underlying application documents,  provide the evidence to support it.

It seems that this “carbon neutral” claim is simply based on vague assumptions that “coal production at Whitehaven would substitute for coal production elsewhere.”   Really?

Clearly, the consideration of the likely emissions output from this development is absolutely key for any decision made by this committee. The Committee must come to a reasonable conclusion on the expected level of greenhouse gas emissions that will be produced over the next 50 years.  It must do so, so that it can decide how much weight to give to that factor in the planning balance. The Applicant has simply failed to provide the Committee with sufficient information to carry out this task – this was a key point highlighted in the Leigh Day letter and it has not been addressed by the addendum report – which merely reiterates assertions about how the market might respond to the increased output in Whitehaven.

  1. With respect, the addendum report has raised more questions than it has answered. Notably, it states at para 4.4 of the addendum report, that the original Committee Report attached “moderate weight” to the “CO2 emissions from the extraction and processing of the coal and their impact upon climate change” which weighed against the proposal.  That must have been based on an understanding that the mine would produce CO2 emissions (as undoubtedly is the case).  Somewhat oddly, the Addendum Report now seeks to clarify that this should have said that “greenhouse gas emissions globally as a result of the extract and processing of coal would be broadly in balance”.  It refers to other paragraphs of the original report (6.47 and 6.406) where the import-substitution point was made – however, the import-substitution point concerns emissions from reduced transportation.  It does not support the argument that the coal produced further afield will stop being produced at all.  So it cannot be relied upon to factor out the additional emissions associated with bringing a new coal mine into operation.  
  1. On the emissions expected from exports of coal from the mine, we must emphasise that the vast majority of output is expected to be exported. The proposed amount of coking coal for export to Europe and beyond would be a staggering 2 million tonnes annually.  Whereas the amount earmarked for UK use would be a more modest 360,000 tonnes. So most of the coking coal produced is destined to travel abroad.  In relation to this, the addendum report relies on assumptions that this will all be exported to “Europe” and will replace alternative sources of coking coal from further afield.  Yet there is absolutely no restriction on where the coal would be exported to.  Nothing prevents it from travelling further afield.  And, if it does, all the assumptions on emissions savings through import substitution fall on their face. 

Has the Committee properly considered this? Where is the evidence for this idea of “substitution”?  Do the councillors really believe that a mine elsewhere will stop producing coal because a mine in Cumbria has opened up under the Irish Sea, five miles from Sellafield? More importantly, do they have before them sufficient evidence to support such claims.  In our view, they clearly do not.

Demand for Coking Coal for Steel

You acknowledge that the demand for coking coal is led by the demand for steel.  However there is no acknowledgment in your report that technology and politics has moved on with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announcing in August,  new measures to “enable a pathway to lower carbon steel production and support broader efforts to decarbonise industry”.  

Nor is there any recognition of the possibility that greater supply of coking coal might impact on worldwide prices, with a real chance that demand will increase (for both the coking coal, itself, and for steel) due to reductions in the price.

Middlings Coal

The middlings coal you say would be up to 15% of coking coal extraction.  To describe up to 15% of production as a “by-product” is disingenous. It is a significant amount of production, in and of itself, and members should not be distracted by this type of terminology.  The level of middlings coal produced could easily be a development in itself, so the impacts of it need to be fully considered.

You say that an assessment of CO2 emissions “would not be a reasonable requirement.”   Given that the UK government has just signed up to a Climate Emergency we say that a full and comprehensive assessment including the various scenarios of transport exports to near Europe, far Europe and beyond, of the CO2 emissions from both coking and middlings coal is an entirely reasonable requirement.

At paragraph 6.71 of the original report, it stated in relation to middlings coal production that “There are valid arguments made in respect of climate change, but we consider these issues could be better managed by applying regulatory controls at the point of use.” The addendum report now seeks to clarify, at para 4.14, that the mere reference to there being “valid arguments made in respect of climate change” meant that the issue was weighed in the planning balance but was not considered of sufficient weight as to justify the refusal of permission, or to require a condition requiring disposal of the middlings coal.  That is not how we read the original report.  It is not clear at all what the “valid arguments in respect of climate change” referred to were and by reference to other regulatory controls, it was clear that the officer did not factor emissions from middlings coal production into her assessment.

Interestingly, the addendum report now recognizes that the burning of middlings coal would “undoubtedly” result in the generation of CO2 but argues that it would not be a “reasonable requirement” to expect the decision-maker to assess possible emissions associated with it.  This is a fundamental failing in a case where the officers are nonetheless arguing that the “greenhouse gas emissions of the mining operations would be broadly carbon neutral” and the “greenhouse gas emissions globally as a result of this extraction and processing of coal would be broadly in balance”.  

With respect, you cannot reach a conclusion that operations are carbon neutral if you have failed to estimate the emissions associated with 15% of production.

If you are going to assess the net carbon output of a development, then you have to assess the whole of it.  To do otherwise is irrational.

Finally, on middlings coal, we can still see no reasoning as to why the level of output has been limited by condition to 15%? Why not 10% or 25%? What evidence or understanding rationalises this conclusion and how has it been shown to be necessary, relevant to planning, relevant to the development to be permitted, or reasonable in all other respects?

Net Zero

The addendum report concludes that whilst the new net zero target makes the Climate Change Act 2008 target more challenging, it does not change the original report’s assessment on the impact on climate change and efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, which were both treated as key considerations in that report.

With respect the addendum report fails to appreciate the substantive change brought about by the new net zero target.  By 2050 there needs to be a 100% reduction in emissions as compared to 1990 levels.  That means that all emissions need to be offset, or somehow compensated for, so as to produce a “net zero” emissions output level overall.

This development will result in significant emissions far beyond 2050.  If consent were to be granted next year, the permission would last until 2070.  Even if the Committee were to accept – what we say are the incorrect – assumptions that the production of coking coal will be carbon neutral, it now seems accepted by officers that the production of middlings coal will result in unquantified levels of emissions.  That – at the very least – needs to be properly factored in.

The Committee must have due regard to the emissions output that any permission will grant consent for beyond 2050 and what will be needed to offset this.  This is clearly a material consideration in light of the legally binding net zero target.

And, it only supports the need for the Committee to obtain robust evidence from the Applicant on what exactly the likely emissions output will be.  To reiterate, we do not consider the Committee has sufficient information at present.

Carbon Savings?

Finally and without any supporting evidence at all the report claims that “whilst greenhouse gas emissions of the mining operations are very likely to be carbon neutral, it is still considrered that some carbon savings must exist  from reduced transportation distances.” (4.6)  Incredible!  So this massive coal mine which proposes to operate over 50 years would actually result in carbon savings from reduced transport with this ‘home grown’ coking coal-?   Even though the plan is to export the majority of coal to Europe and beyond. 

We ask that the Council do not ratify this disastrous and planetary damaging application for the first deep mine in the UK in 30 years extending to within 5 miles of Sellafield.  There is no supporting evidence at all to back up the false claims of the mine being “carbon neutral” and making “carbon savings.” 

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



Dear Friends,

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

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

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

We will finish up around 1pm.

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

There is a Facebook Event page here

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