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!

Letters in the Local Press …

Letter Whitehaven News 20.11.19.jpg

Letter to the Whitehaven News 20.11.19 from Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

“We live in strange times.  At the meeting following the ratification of the coal mine by Cumbria County Council in Kendal I was told by the CEO of West Cumbria Mining to: “get a conscience Marianne.”

“Meanwhile the Mayor of Copeland was gushingly praised for his “aggressive stance” in supporting the mine.  Former BNFL manager and now Copeland councillor Steven Morgan is reported to have said: “I would like to commend you (Mayor Starkie) personally for what you have done; for your aggressive stance. It has become an unpopular decision by certain politicians in other jurisdictions to intrude into what is important for Copeland.”   Steven Morgan must have forgotten that his old job at BNFL oversaw thousands of tonnes of nuclear waste being shunted via rail and road to Sellafield through the constituencies of “certain politicians in other jurisdictions.”  Similarly the effects of this coal mine, potential climate and nuclear impacts would intrude not only on Copeland.

“Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole is a campaign we have been running at Radiation Free Lakeland since 2017.  We are mindful of the strong support that Sellafield has given to this mine and we are appalled at that support.  Why would Sellafield which is at “high risk of liquefaction” support a coal mine nearby literally undermining the Irish Sea up to 5 miles away?  Is it because the coal mine will embed in Cumbria exactly the kind of infrastructure needed to facilitate a geological disposal facility so that the nuclear industry can get shot of its wastes to make more ?  These are the questions that West Cumbria Mining do not like us to ask and these are the questions for which I have been told to “get a conscience.”  

“We are continuing with our battle against this mine and we are joined in that battle by many other groups and individuals.  A new CrowdJustice campaign has just been launched on Tuesday and within the first day hundreds of pounds have been donated.  Small beer compared to the money already squandered on PR and lobbyists for this coal mine.  We have the support of top lawyers Leigh Day who have already put Cumbria County Council “on notice” of legal action for their failure to take into account green house gas emissions amongst other things.

“Please support the legal action if you can either by donation or by sharing the link on the CrowdJustice platform.  All money goes to the legal case and not to Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole/Radiation Free Lakeland – we are all unpaid volunteers whose motivation is a love for this land and the people in it.  There are a million jobs that do not involve risking climate and nuclear catastrophe.

Please Support our Legal Fight Against a New Coal Mine in Cumbria


Yours sincerely

Marianne Birkby

On behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign”

Letters in the Westmorland Gazette 21.11.19

Extract from excellent letter “Coal decision doesn’t add up” by Liz Hendry in the Westmorland GazetteWestmorland Gazette 21.11.19

“Concerned citizens from across Cumbria gathered to demonstrate …then to listen to the debate.  We left profoundly worried and depressed.

“Four well informed and compelling presentations from members of the public were given, all of which clearly demonstrated the enormous quantity of carbon emissions and the mine and associated infrastructure would create. Yet the council voted (again) to ratify its earlier decision.

“The speciousness of some of the council’s arguments were truly breathtaking. For example it averred that the opening of the Cumbrian mine would by some mysterious process lead to the non-exabtraction and development of coal mining elsewhere  in the world for example America! Thus Cumbria’s coal produced emissions would be “carbon neutral” and a “balance” would be achieved . Magic!”

BIG THANK YOU – We are almost there!


Wow – a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who is contributing to and sharing the CrowdJustice fundraiser to challenge Cumbria County Council’s bonkers decision to approve the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades

Only one day in and we are well on the way to the minimum needed –


Please keep sharing and donating – We can do this – WE CAN STOP THE COAL MINE!

Support our legal fight against a new coal mine in Cumbria

THANK YOU – We have ALMOST hit the target of £1500 – one last push!


British Geological Survey Map clearly showing the MAJOR FAULT running along the Lake District boundary running alongside Sellafield.  There is also a MAJOR FAULT running through St Bees.  A good reason to scrap the plan for the first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years.


Dear Friends

Thank you so much to all who have been sharing and talking about the Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole CrowdJustice crowd funding campaign.

There are 15 days to go on our crowd funding campaign.  This aims to secure enough funds to look at a judicial review should Cumbria County Council say yes to a new coal mine off St Bees.  The Council’s meeting is on the 24th January
We have just over a fortnight left to raise £1500.  Already thanks to generous pledges we have raised £1,285…  so a last push needed.  Please do keep sharing and talking about this.
There are so many reasons to be fighting this coal mine, not least because of the close proximity to Sellafield.  Below is more information and you can pledge here to be a climate warrior and a nuclear safety campaigner all in one go!

There is a statue in Whitehaven, a poignant memorial to coal miners who lost their lives.

“End of an Era” …..Only apparently it isnt!

Now there is a plan to expand the dangerous Whitehaven mines with undersea coal mining. There has been lots of greenwashing heaped on the plan by West Cumbria Mining to reopen Whitehaven coal mine, the most gaseous, dangerous pit in the Kingdom.  In 1815, Sir Humphrey Davy’s invention of the miner’s safety lamp was first tested in Whitehaven Coking Coal Mine because of its reputation for “firedamp” (methane) and fatal explosions.

“End of An Era”

That was in the pre atomic age.  Now in the same area, just 8km away we have the most dangerous nuclear site in the world, Sellafield.

“Windscale – later renamed Sellafield, 8km away is too close”

What People are Saying:

“We are particularly concerned in regard to the potential impact upon the wider marine and coastal environment of the discharge of water into the sea, which has been pumped from the flooded anhydrite mine.” National Trust

“ The application site is in proximity (Solway Firth 1.5km) to a European designated site (also commonly referred to as Natura 2000 sites), and therefore has the potential to affect its interest features.”Natural England

“The impact of any level of subsidence upon the terrestrial or marine heritage assets and designated sites and landscapes could be significant and permanent, therefore having a detrimental impact ..The history of contamination of watercourses in the areas raises concerns for some local residents in relation to the impact of the development on the complex hydrology of the area.” Colourful Coast Partnership

“Our position is to object to the proposed development on the grounds of the adverse impact on groundwater, surface water and biodiversity.”Environment Agency

“It is clear that this is a very large mine, with a very long life span…of 20-50 years and a peak of 2.8 million tonnes a year. Assuming a 40 year life (following construction), and an average of 2 million tonnes a year, that is a total production of 80 million tonnes, which will emit around 175 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. The level of emissions and proposed life-time of the mine is of major concern….We would also query whether or not there has been robust enough analysis of the potential for seismicity (and subsidence) relating to well-known nuclear facilities in the wider area, including Sellafield and proposed new facility at Moorside? What potential is there for seismicity to effect these and other facilities (including the low level waste repository at Drigg) and the possible high level waste radioactive waste facility which has been proposed in West Cumbria for some time.” Friends of the Earth

“The application should be rejected because it is not in the national interest. From reviewing the documents submitted by West Cumbria Mining it is clear that the intention is to export the coal to Europe and Asia…The application to mine is too close to the Sellafield nuclear site and the proposal for another nuclear power station at Moorside. Underground mining can have a significant impact on the surrounding areas, recently a coking coal mine in Russia triggered an earthquake.” Coal Action Network

“Test Drilling by West Cumbria Mining off St Bees”

“Fulmar – photo by Dorothy Bennett”

Just some of the “Star Species” found in this Heritage Coast and Marine Conservation Zone are listed by the RSPB as: Fulmar, Guillemot, Herring Gull, Kittiwake, Razorbill and so many more that would be impacted on by the plan for a new coal mine with possible subsidence of the Irish Sea bed impacting on food sources such as sandeels (and not to mention disturbing decades of Sellafield discharges which have settled there).

There are so many reasons to oppose this coal mine plan.  That is why we are campaigning hard to stop the plan.


 Specialist law firm, Leigh Day have agreed to help which is amazing.  So we are raising funds for the cost for counsel to provide a written Opinion on Potential Grounds for Judicial Review.   This is to ensure that we will still have a chance of stopping the coal mine plan should Cumbria County Council ignore the advice of Natural England, the National Trust, Coal Action Network, the Environment Agency, Colourful Coast Partnership, Friends of the Earth and others and rubberstamp the plan.
People can get involved in many ways. You can write to the leader of Cumbria County Council and let him know you oppose the plan
by West Cumbria Mining for the new Woodhouse Colliery (planning application number 4/17/9007 )
Cumbria County Council is scheduled to be making a decision on the 24th of January, 2018.  The decision will be taken by the Development Control Committee.  Their contact details are here .  The more letters they get the better.   If you feel you can speak in opposition to the plan on the 24th of January then please do, whether as an individual or as a member of a group.  The meeting is open to public participation and you can register to speak by contacting Cumbria County Council.
We need to stop this diabolic plan for a new coal mine dangerously near Sellafield, if you can help in ANY way either by donation or by action then the better chance we have.
If you can help, you will be making history in the battle to stop the first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years.  All donations no matter how small will be used directly to challenge West Cumbria Mining’s diabolic plan.

Thank You!

“Impact upon the wider marine and coastal environment..from the flooded anhydrite mine” National Trust

West Cumbria Mining plan to use existing disused Anhydrite Mine drifts to access new coal seams under the Irish Sea.  This would involve pumping old contaminated water from the flooded anhydrite mine drifts into the Irish Sea causing a double whammy of pollution for marine life and stress on the existing hydrology of West Cumbria.  It is common local knowledge that the anhydrite mine (Marchon Chemical Plant) supplied sulfuric acid worldwide for soap and fertiliser less common knowledge that the nuclear industry absolutely relies on enormous amounts of sulfuric acid for all sorts of processes from uranium mining to nuclear fuel reprocessing.  You can help the National Trust and others stop the coal mine plan in its tracks by pledging here.

quote from NT on Coal Mine.jpgMarchon.jpg