Health First Priority for Teenagers Opposed to Coal Mine. Hunger Strike is Not the Way – Brave that it is

As we have said before, whilst admiring the passion and commitment of young campaigners we cannot endorse hunger strikes – its a very serious thing to do at any age but in teenagers is really disturbing regards health implications.

Once again we have tried to reach out to the young campaigners and climate groups to ask them not to encourage teenagers to damage their health or risk hospitalisation. Especially as this coal mine has to jump through so many more hurdles – there are lots of ways for young people to get involved in making sure those hurdles are sky high.

Two Letters – Burning Questions

This letter was sent to the local and national press on 27th May – unpublished.  Can’t help thinking that the close proximity of this mine to Sellafield is a big taboo.

Dear Editor

The green light that Cumbria County Council unanimously gave for the first deep coal mine in 30 years has now turned back to amber. We now have a new opportunity to stop this outrageous plan in its tracks.  The developers West Cumbria Mining have submitted a revised planning application for their coking coal mine.  This revised plan seeks to answer the legal challenges which were to be brought by me in a Judicial Review, with the support of the group Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole and with the help of top lawyers, Leigh Day.

The developers are aiming it seems to sidestep our challenges regarding climate impacts and the ‘need’ for the “by-product” of “middlings coal”  This lower quality coal was to make up to15% of nearly 3 Million tonnes of coal to be mined from under the Irish Sea every year.  Now, say the developers, the plan is to ‘process’ the middlings coal and sell it on the already saturated world market as coking coal.

The bottom line is that there is no ‘need’ to open any new coal mines, anywhere.  We are living in strange times and it is really strange that the people who have been opposing this mine from the very beginning are nuclear safety campaigners.  The only thing worse than a new coal mine is a new undersea coal mine on the beautiful Heritage Coast at St Bees Head just five miles from the worlds riskiest nuclear waste site, Sellafield.

Please object to this new and cunning plan by West Cumbria Mining by writing to Cumbria County Council before June 15th. Planning Application Reference number 4/17/9007

Yours sincerely

Marianne Birkby

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

Photo sent in with letter of St Bees Head – site of undersea coal mine 
St Bees Lighthouse
Good that there is a letter in this weeks press from Extinction Rebellion (note: XR ‘have no position on nuclear’ )

In March last year, Cumbria County Council (CCC) drew condemnation for its extraordinary decision to grant planning permission for the UK’s first new coal mine in 30 years, despite scientists warning we have just a few short years to avert climate catastrophe.

The developer, faced with the threat of a judicial review, has been forced to alter its planning application, meaning it must once again seek CCC approval.

If enough of us object, it’s possible our elected councillors will listen, but we must act quickly – the deadline is Monday June 15.

Please write to CCC before Monday using Application Ref No: 4/17/9007; either go to and click on ‘Comment on this application’ or email quoting the Application Ref No. and including your name and address. Please also consider writing to your own councillor, which you can find on the council’s website.

A letter template is available here:

Extinction Rebellion (XR) South Lakes Coordinators

Rebel Against Double Whammy Extinction Event in Cumbria: Coal & Nuclear

Extinction Rebellion seems to be very much in the news just at present.   Here in Cumbria we have our own terrifyingly real threat of extinction.     Not only is there Sellafield with its deadly collection of nuclear waste – we also have an ongoing planning application for a new coal mine reaching under the sea to within 5 miles of the nightmare nuclear site.

West Cumbria Mining have an active planning application with Cumbria County Council to open the first deep coal mine in 30 years.       Given the urgent need to cut carbon emissions this is total madness.   Given the proximity to Sellafield of mining operations, known to cause earth tremors, the proposal does threaten very real extinction here and now.

As far as we can ascertain from the documents available on the Cumbria County Council’s website there has been no consultation with Sellafield concerning the risks of a major nuclear emergency. Seismic disturbance affecting Sellafield would be a very rapid extinction of all life forms within a very wide radius.   And wherever the wind blows. EXTINCTION IN CAPITAL LETTERS ON A HUGE SCALE.

And then there is the carbon.     West Cumbria Mining [WCM] have a way of describing their proposal as the extraction of metallurgical coking coal for the steel industry – implying that somehow the burning of this fossil fuel is somehow different to burning fossil fuels for energy generation.

Burning coal is burning coal – and WCM plan to extract 2.8 million tonnes of it every year during the lifespan of the proposed mine.  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!

In terms of the Paris agreement and the current Katowice discussions this application must be stopped.

The WCM application and the many letters of concern and objection can be found at     The Application reference is 4/17/9007

Anyone wishing to comment can write to Rachel Brophy, Senior Planning Officer

The WCM planning application was made in mid 2017. It has been postponed and postponed and postponed by Cumbria’s Planning Committee during all of 2018.   It may, or may not, come to Council early in 2019.

We need to be as vocal and as visible as we can possibly be in opposing this hideous proposal.   It is a very real threat to life on an unimaginable scale far larger than the threat to Guillemots that the RSPB has limited its comments to.

We have with the help of top lawyers Leigh Day ensured that we may still have a chance to stop the plan should Cumbria County Council say yes to this diabolic fossil fuel development.  But lets MAKE SURE CUMBRIA COUNTY COUNCIL SAY A BIG FAT NO!!!



This application may be decided on these dates (tbc)  in the new year by Cumbria County Council’s Development Control and Regulation Committee at County Offices, Kendal

18 Jan 2019 10.00 am

22 Feb 2019 10.00 am

The WCM application and the many letters of concern and objection can be found at     The Application reference is 4/17/9007

Anyone wishing to comment can write to Rachel Brophy, Senior Planning Officer and ask that your letter is sent to all members of the Development Control and Regulation Committee.

Or write to all members of the Development Control and Regulation Committee – their contact details can be found here



RSPB - St Bees Black guillemot