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.

 

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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

Who wants new Coal AND new Nuclear in their stocking this Christmas?

Santa_Letter
Local leaders in Cumbria have been agitating for new nuclear  and new coal in Cumbria just a stones throw from the most hazardous place in Europe.  They must think that Sellafield just isn’t quite dangerous enough?
The following was sent to the national and local press – unpublished.
Dear Editor,
Extinction Rebellion is much in the news with climate campaigners travelling from Cumbria to London to ask for abstract “action on climate change”.  One fossil fuel plan is getting a free ride.   With Father Christmas-like largesse in a deprived area,  this plan has its feet well under the table in West Cumbria. This is even before any planning decision.  This plan has the potential to wipe out all our concerns about climate change.  A few dedicated but much ignored nuclear safety campaigners are truly bewildered at being the ones left leading a scrappy campaign against the first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years.
The new coal mine is proposed under the Irish Sea near Sellafield. Sellafield sits on the Lake District Boundary Fault.  The developers West Cumbria Mining have said the mine will extend to within 8 km of the existing Sellafield nuclear site and even nearer the proposed Moorside site

The plan is to extract 2.8 million tonnes every year during the lifespan of the proposed mine.  Assuming 40 years mining and an average of 2 million tonnes a year, that is a total production of 80 million tonnes!   But burning fossil fuel is not the only or even the most terrifying  concern here.

How reassured should we be by the statement provided to us by the Office for Nuclear Regulation that ” The nature of the proposed mine (pillar and room) is one that is not designed to collapse at any point in the future.. Even in the highly unlikely event of a collapse, the nature of any ensuing earth tremors would be limited…These levels would not be felt by persons on the Sellafield site and  would not disrupt structures, systems and components important to safety on the site.”
That faux “reassurance” is pulling the wool over people’s  eyes big time.  This is not an abstract thing.  It is real and it will be decided upon early in the New Year, in Kendal.
Yours sincerely,
Marianne Birkby
Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign

Correspondence with the Office for Nuclear Regulation below for info.

Date: December 6, 2018 at 11:01 AM
Subject: RE: GE201808194 – Proposed new coal mine near Sellafield

Thank you for your e-mail. Please accept my sincerest apologies in the delay for our response which arose due to consultations between different internal teams. I hope the below assists you with your query.

I can confirm that the proposed development, including the onshore and offshore mining areas specified in the planning application document “D46_869_AO_001_Underground Mining – Onshore and Offshore Mining Areas”, lies outside the ONR’s consultation zone around the Sellafield nuclear licensed site.  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 (see http://www.onr.org.uk/depz.htm for further details).  We would not expect Cumbria County Council to consult us regarding developments outside this zone, and I can confirm that we have not been consulted.

In response to your expressed concern that potential resulting earth tremors could cause a major nuclear incident at the Sellafield Site, I have consulted colleagues within the External Hazards specialism within ONR and they have provided the following advice:

The proposed new subsea coal mine at c 10km from Sellafield is not considered by ONR to be capable of generating ground motions that would affect safety at the Sellafield site.  ONR has consulted with the HSE Mines Inspectorate, the British Geological Survey and its own expert panel on seismic activity in the UK.  The nature of the proposed mine (pillar and room) is one that is not designed to collapse at any point in the future, unlike for example long wall mining.   Even in the highly unlikely event of a collapse, the nature of any ensuing earth tremors would be limited to very low levels.  These levels would not be felt by persons on the Sellafield site and  would not disrupt structures, systems and components important to safety on the site.

Once again, my apologies for the delay in our response.

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact me via contact@onr.gov.uk.

Kind regards,

Emma Lui

Update On First Deep Coal Mine in the UK for 30 years

New Coal and New Nuclear Next to Sellafield..jpg

Dear Friends,

I have just been sent the following from Cumbria County Council.  Those of you who have already written letters of objection will also have recieved this.  We will have a look at this and draft our formal response to it as soon as we can (before the deadline of 28th January).  It is another opportunity to send in more objections to the diabolic plan for the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years.

The Development Control Committee may take a decision on this plan early in the new year and we need more groups and individuals to:

OBJECT,  BE VISIBLE, DO A DAVID ATTENBOROUGH and say a BIG FAT NO TO NEW COAL (THIS NOT JUST ANY OLD COAL BUT BIG NEW DEEP UNDERSEA MINE NEAR TO SELLAFIELD! )

Please excuse the capitals but this is IMPORTANT and has so far gone way under the radar, which is surprising given the Extinction Rebellion coverage and activism.   The (rather abstract) XR demands have been very forcefully articulated by many including by the pronuclear guru George Monbiot .

Here are a few thoughts on the big picture.

The demands are that the Govnt enact “radical action” to halt climate change.

But surely those demands apply to Cumbria or are we in some kind of parallel universe?

Here in Cumbria  the developers of the first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years have already plonked newly well heeled (Chinese money?) feet well and truly under the table in West Cumbria.  The plan is for the mining to extend to within 8km of Sellafield over a 50 year period.

What is going on?  Why havn’t George Monbiot and other prominent climate activists with privileged platforms even raised an eyebrow about this massive coal mine plan?

What is so special about this  first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years that it enjoys such protection from any public scrutiny ?

 

Here below is the Letter from Cumbria County Council

“Please find attached a formal letter from Cumbria County Council notifying you of further submissions relating to the West Cumbria Mining planning application. Kind Regards

Development Control”

Cumbria County Council

Environment & Regulatory Services
County Offices  Busher Walk  Kendal  LA9 4RQ
T: 01539 713 066E: Developmentcontrol@cumbria.gov.uk

Date: 13 December 2018 References: 4/17/9007

Dear Sir/Madam

NOTIFICATION OF AMENDED PROPOSALS AND OTHER INFORMATION SUBMITTED IN RELATION TO A PLANNING APPLICATION ACCOMPANIED BY AN ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT

Regulation 22 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011 (as amended); & Article 15 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015

Ref No: Location:

Proposal:

4/17/9007
Former Marchon Site, High Road, Whitehaven and Land off Mirehouse Road, Pow Beck Valley, south of Whitehaven
Development of:
– a new underground metallurgical coal mine and associated development including: the refurbishment of two existing drifts leading to two new underground drifts; coal storage and processing buildings; office and change building; access road; ventilation, power and water infrastructure; security fencing; lighting; outfall to sea; surface water management system and landscaping at the former Marchon site (High Road) Whitehaven;
– a new coal loading facility and railway sidings linked to the Cumbrian Coast Railway Line with adjoining office / welfare facilities; extension of railway underpass; security fencing; lighting; landscaping; construction of a temporary development compound, and associated permanent access on land off Mirehouse Road, Pow Beck Valley, south of Whitehaven; and
– a new underground coal conveyor to connect the coal processing buildings with the coal loading facility.

I give notice that West Cumbria Mining Ltd has submitted Amended Proposals and Other Information (submitted in December 2018) to Cumbria County Council in respect of the above planning application. The planning application (received on 31 May 2017) was accompanied by an Environmental Statement, and further information relating to the planning application and Environmental Statement was submitted by the applicant in September 2017 and January/February 2018.

Serving the people of Cumbria

cumbria.gov.uk

The purpose of this letter is to notify you that amendments to the proposals and other information have been submitted by the applicant and this are available to view on our website via: planning.cumbria.gov.uk (alongside the rest of the documentation relating to this application). The other information consists of a revised Environmental Statement consolidating and updating the previously submitted environmental information, and has been submitted under Regulation 22 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011.

I also give notice that this proposal would affect Public Rights of Way and the proposed development to which the application relates is situated within 10 metres of relevant railway land. The proposal also includes minor changes to the extent of the planning application boundary.

The main amendments to the proposal include the following:

  •   Avoid the use of the former anhydrite mine and flooded sections of the tunnels to this mineand instead use the upper unflooded sections of these existing tunnels and create two new

    tunnels to enable access to the coal measures;

  •   Introduction of new paste plant associated with the disposal of reject material underground;
  •   Updated assessment of the impacts of subsidence;
  •   Updated surface water drainage proposals;
  •   Introduction of temporary structures/covers associated with the initial land remediationworks on the Marchon site;
  •   Increase in HGV traffic during the construction and operational phases.If you wish to view the amendments to the proposals, including the revised planning application, the plans, the revised Environmental Statement and other documents submitted, alongside the original planning application documents and the further information previously submitted by West Cumbria Mining Ltd, you can do so in the following ways:
  •   At the offices of Copeland Borough Council, Market Hall, Market Place, Whitehaven, CA28 7JG, during their normal opening hours;
  •   At Whitehaven Library, Lowther Street, Whitehaven, CA28 7QZ, during normal opening hours;
  •   At West Cumbria Mining Ltd, Haig Mining Museum, Solway Road, Kells, Whitehaven, CA289BG, during their normal office hours, and
  •   Online via our website at: planning.cumbria.gov.ukMembers of the public may obtain copies of the Amended Proposals and revised Environmental Statement by contacting:
    The Applicant, West Cumbria Mining Ltd, Haig Mining Museum, Solway Road, Kells, Whitehaven, CA28 9BG (tel. 01946 848333 email: info@westcumbriamining.com) so long as stocks last, at a charge of £700.00 for a paper copy and £5.00 for a data disc or data stick copy. The Non- Technical Summary of the Environmental Statement is free of charge.

    All representations that have been previously received by the County Council will be taken into account when determining this application. If you wish to make any comments about the amendments to the scheme or the revised Environmental Statement or any part of the planning application or submitted documents you can do so in writing in the following ways:

    •   On our website via: planning.cumbria.gov.uk
    •   By email to: developmentcontrol@cumbria.gov.uk;
    •   By letter to: Development Control, Cumbria County Council, County Offices, KENDAL, LA94RQ

      If responding via email or letter you must quote the above Planning Application Ref No: 4/17/9007.

If you wish to comment, please do so by 28 January 2019.

This planning application will be reported to the County Council’s Development Control and Regulation Committee in due course. I advise that you look at the County Council’s website to find out when the application is likely to be reported to the Committee for determination.

Your attention is drawn to the fact that any comments you may make on the application will be open to inspection by the applicant and any other person. They may also be included in a report on the planning application to the Development Control and Regulation Committee which will also be available for inspection by the public and press.

Yours faithfully

Mrs Rachel Brophy BA(Hons) MA MRTPI Planning Officer – Development Control

 

 

 

Cracking Letter in the Westmorland Gazette …still no word from Mainstream Environmental Journos!

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

Another Cracking Letter from Anita in the Westmorland Gazette.  In a long running exchange this is a reply to Kent Brook’s letter about the “need” for coking coal to provide steel for WMD etc.  Whether or not you want nuclear WMD …there are other ways to make steel. To mine the coking coal you also need to mine the ‘middlings’ coal, off St Bees under the Irish Sea.

Here is Anita’s letter as it appeared in print

“MR KENT Brooks, (Letters, May 10, ‘Defence must be priority’) is, of course, entitled to his opinion about the proposed coal mine near Sellafield.

However, my opinion, having had a coal face worker in the family for many years, remains the same. Excavating a very deep coal mine beneath the Irish Sea, so close to Europe’s largest nuclear waste facility at Sellafield, is a risk too far.

Europe’s largest nuclear waste facility at Sellafield is a risk too far

In any case, we should not be mining coal at all, if we are serious about trying to mitigate climate change and rising sea levels.”

 

There is a petition to Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

Proximity to Sellafield and Earthquakes Good Letter !

Excellent letter in last weeks Westmorland Gazette in reply to previous  letter dismissing concerns about the coal mine plan.  Anita’s letter points out the close proximity of the proposed coal mine to Sellafield and the inconvenient truth that coal mining causes earthquakes.  Anita who wrote the letter tells us that the published letter  is much edited, nevertheless the main point about proximity to Sellafield comes across load and clear.

Coal Mine Poses Risk. WG April 19th 2018.jpg

Westmorland Gazette Letters April 19th 2018

Coal Mine Poses a Risk

“I dont find the ultimate paragraph of Do you need a gas-guzzler?  (Letters, March 29) in which the writer belittles the increased risk of seismic activity caused by coal mines, laughable at all.

Coal mining has been known to cause earthquakes, sinkholes and subsidence in the past.

Already there have been quite a number of earthquakes around the Sellafield area during my lifetime. In fact, Sellafield was built only half a mile away from a known geological fault line.

This coal mine proposal is a risk to our homes and properties we don’t need to take.

Anita Stirzaker

Lake District Boundary Fault.jpg
Lake District Boundary Fault runs alongside the Sellafield site (BGS Image)

Briefing Note from Radiation Free Lakeland on the Coal Mine Plan

Poster small

All Councillors on the Committee making the decision have been sent the following Briefing Note from Radiation Free Lakeland.  Please do use this as an inspiration for your own objections to the first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years.  The planning meeting has been deferred (fourth time this!)  until May 30th so more time to get your fingers dancing on the keyboards, get those pens out, get on the phone to Councillors and Object, Object Object!!! Councillor Details here

 

BRIEFING NOTE FROM RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

WEST CUMBRIA MINING PROPOSAL Ref No: 4/17/9007

 Part 1

  • Wildlife
  • Health
  • Seismic Activity and Sellafield

Part 2

  • Climate
  • Planning
  • Employment

 Part 1

 WILDLIFE

The West Cumbria Mining proposal would have adverse impacts on designated sites of national and international importance

Minewater Discharge and The Cumbria Coast Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)

The National Trust have said: “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.” RSPB have also noted concerns regarding potential pollution of the Marine Conservation Zone.

Seismic impacts on St Bees Head Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

West Cumbria Mining conclude that “minor seismic events will be significant below a magnitude 3 event, and any event which may occur as a result of mining activities will not cause damage to people, property or the natural environment” (Page 75 of the WCM Addendum: Seismicity). . The RSPB in their submission note that “We consider it imperative that the Council deploy a suitable level of expertise to ensure that the additional information provided by the applicant provides a robust assessment of the potential for seismic events – both in magnitude and frequency – to have an adverse effect upon designated sites listed above. In particular, upon the notified features of the SSSI – which include geological features and isolated breeding bird colonies. It should be noted that the SSSI supports England’s only breeding black guillemot – which are small in number and already vulnerable to stochastic events.”

Noise Disturbance, Dust, Vibrations etc.

The development has the potential to have an adverse effect upon the St Bees Head SSSI through disturbance to breeding birds during excavations and coal processing. Notwithstanding the developers assurances the RSPB state “In our previous response, we considered that there was insufficient evidence to be able to evaluate the potential for impacts upon the SSSI, nor the efficacy of the proposed mitigation. In particular, the noise assessment detailed in Chapter 14 does not make the link between the development and any ecological receptors. We note that no further evidence has been presented by the applicant in this regard. In summary, the RSPB’s opinion is unchanged – in that insufficient information has been submitted by the applicant to allow a robust assessment of the potential ecological impacts of this proposal.”

Solway Firth European Designated Site (Natura 2000)Precaution must be adopted when considering potential impacts from a development adjacent (1.5km) to an internationally recognised marine environment

  • HEALTH

The old Marchon Chemical plant and Anhydrite mine that fed it are key to the WCM application. As referenced above, The anhydrite mine would need to be dewatered. This would exacerbate the previous legacy operations which are still having a “significant” impact on health.

“There is also a significant radiological impact due to the legacy of past discharges of radionuclides from non-nuclear industrial activity that also occur naturally in the environment. This includes radionuclides discharged from the former phosphate processing plant at Whitehaven, and so monitoring is carried out near this site.” Radioactivity in Food and the Environment 2016. https://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/report2016_0.pdf

These cumulative assaults on West Cumbrian health would be additional to well documented climate change health impacts and the intolerable danger that this mine would represent to the safe stewardship of Sellafield

  • SEISMIC ACTIVITY AND SELLAFIELD

At just 8km away from Sellafield (even nearer to Moorside) according to West Cumbria Mining this development is ridiculously near to over 140 tons of plutonium.   Increased tremors and quakes resulting from mining is well documented The potential for man-made tremors at the Sellafield site is too awful to contemplate.

There are~20 large holding tanks at Sellafield containing thousands of litres of extremely radiotoxic fission products.”

Nuclear Management Partners, stated in 2012: “There is a mass of very hazardous [nuclear] waste onsite in storage conditions that are extraordinarily vulnerable.

The National Audit Office (NAO) stated these tanks pose “significant risks to people and the environment”. These dangerous tanks have also been the subject of repeated complaints from Ireland and Norway who fear their countries could be contaminated if explosions or fires were to occur.

  • The North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority have submitted to Cumbria County Council that

“Offshore Subsidence – resuspension and dispersal of radioactive contaminants. The documentation has confirmed to NWIFCA that a risk of subsidence exists and therefore there remains an overwhelming concern over the potential for disturbance and resuspension of radioactive contaminants and sediments.

Radiation Free Lakeland agree and would add that this risk of subsidence of the seabed would enable the resuspension of decades worth of radioactive and chemical contaminants not only from Sellafield but also from the firing of depleted uranium shells into the Irish Sea and the Solway Firth.   http://theseacannotbedepleted.net/

PART 2

CLIMATE and PLANNING

 

The WCM proposal fails to quantify the overall carbon emissions resulting from it’s activity. It also fails to address the climate impact of its activity. The application is clearly incompatible with national and international climate change policy and legislation as summarised below.

  • The UK is signatory to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement committing us to the rapid phase-out of fossil fuels.

 

  • The UK is working to the 2008 Climate Change Act committing us to a legally binding 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. The UK will phase out coal for electricity generation by 2025.   The proposed 50 year lifespan of the mine goes well beyond the UKs existing commitment to bring carbon emissions nationally to zero. When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change publishes their latest report later in 2018 it is acknowledged that UK legislation will need yet further strengthening to meet our international carbon reduction commitments.

 

  • The National Planning Policy Framework states –

 

Para 93 ‘“Planning plays a key role in helping to shape places to secure radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, minimising vulnerability and providing resilience to the impacts of climate change and supporting the delivery of renewable and low carbon energy and associated infrastructure. This is central to the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development”

Para 149. ‘Permission should not be given for the extraction of coal unless the proposal is environmentally acceptable, or can be made so by planning conditions or obligations; or if not, it provides national, local or community benefits which clearly outweigh the likely impacts to justify the grant of planning permission.’

 

  • The proposed Woodhouse Colliery would produce combined CO2 from the methane emissions of the mine; the energy used in running the mine itself and transport; the burning of the lower class of coal and the burning of the higher class coal in steelmaking. At a production rate of 2.8Mt/year the produced coal would generate 1.24Mt CO2.

 

  • The WCM application seems to imply that coal used in steelmaking does not produce CO2 emissions. This is clearly not the case. WCM even claim to be reducing CO2 emissions compared to importing coal from the USA.     Some of the CO2 would be produced in Cumbria and some at the locations of steelmaking where the coal is to be exported.   Given that all countries are equally bound by the Paris Agreement and equally committed to reducing fossil fuel use – it is highly unlikely that steel manufacturers will be seeking to import Cumbrian coal.   There is rapid innovation in steel making processes to eliminate the fossil fuel component and the unknown impact of Brexit.

 

 

  • The FOE submission July 2017 states – ‘Despite the applicant’s stated intentions for the use of coke coal, the proposal is nonetheless incompatible with recent government announcements and consultations linked to coal phase-out. Its use within ore extraction and steel making will inevitably lead to its being burnt and CO2 release. . . . . coal is on the way out and applications for its extraction are incompatible with government’s strategic approach which aims to reduce its well documented contribution to climate change.’

 

  • FOE also state in Oct 2017 – ‘Our view is that the applicants have failed to demonstrate the scheme’s ability to comply with UK carbon budgets and to satisfy Schedule 4 of the 2011 EIA regulations (re consideration of significant impacts on…” climatic factors”)’

 

 

  • There are also planning issues relating to carbon, climate, subsidence and pollution issues which relate to other nations within and outwith the UK and the necessary consultation with such nations.

 

EMPLOYMENT

The NPPF statement on achieving sustainable development states –

‘International and national bodies have set out broad principles of sustainable development. Resolution 42/187 of the United Nations General Assembly defined sustainable development as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The UK Sustainable Development Strategy Securing the Future set out five ‘guiding principles’ of sustainable development: living within the planet’s environmental limits; ensuring a strong, healthy and just society; achieving a sustainable economy; promoting good governance; and using sound science responsibly.’

 

The people of West Cumbria need employment opportunities to be sustainable in all senses – both economically and in terms of low carbon.

In addition to failing to provide a sustainable environment – the WCM application clearly fails to provide both a sustainable economy or sustainable employment.   There can be no jobs, economic growth or prosperity when the fossil fuel products are no longer viable.

 

One model for the creation of sustainable local economies is that of CLES which is gaining great interest – and action – among various Local Authorities in the North West and beyond. ‘ CLES is the UK’s leading, independent think and do tank realising progressive economics for people and place. Our aim is to achieve social justice, good local economies and effective public services for everyone, everywhere.

 

Additional Info

Coal Mining Causes Earthquakes – National Geographic

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/01/070103-mine-quake_2.html

 

Fisheries and Conservation Authority Concerns: Irish Sea Subsidence and Resuspension of Radionuclides

https://keepcumbriancoalinthehole.wordpress.com/2018/02/26/fisheries-and-conservation-authority-concerns-irish-sea-subsidence-and-resuspension-of-radionuclides/

 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Steel Industry

https://link.springer.com/article/10.3103/S0967091215090107

 

World Steel Figures in 2017

https://www.worldsteel.org/media-centre/press-releases/2017/world-steel-in-figures-2017.html

 

Sweden aims for first place in carbon free steel race

https://www.thefifthestate.com.au/innovation/building-construction/sweden-aims-for-first-place-in-carbon-free-steel-race

 

Beginners Guide to Fossil Fuel Divestment

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/23/a-beginners-guide-to-fossil-fuel-divestment

 

Progressive Economics for people and place

https://cles.org.uk

 

The Preston Model

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/31/preston-hit-rock-bottom-took-back-control