While Other Colleges and Schools Strike for the Climate, Lakes College Backs the Beyond Crazy Coal Mine Plan…Why????

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Today’s Guardian

Meanwhile in Cumbria the Lakes College pledges support for the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years

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Chris Nattrass, principal of Lakes College, Sellafield employees Stuart Burke and Liam Wood, and Colin Reed, chairman of the Board for the national college

While other schools and colleges are striking to to stop fossil fuels being dug up out of the ground and burnt,  one of Cumbria’s leading colleges is in a parallel universe.

The following submission has been sent to Cumbria County Council in support of the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years.

As Principal of Lakes College, I write in support of the proposal for West Cumbria Mining in Copeland. I believe this will have a very positive impact upon the Cumbrian economy providing significant employment and skills opportunities for local residents.  

Chris Nattrass.   Principle of Lakes College – (which is also the National College for Nuclear)

 

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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 https://planning.cumbria.gov.uk/     The Application reference is 4/17/9007

Anyone wishing to comment can write to Rachel Brophy, Senior Planning Officer rachel.brophy@cumbria.gov.uk

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!!!

 

MORE INFO

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 https://planning.cumbria.gov.uk/     The Application reference is 4/17/9007

Anyone wishing to comment can write to Rachel Brophy, Senior Planning Officer rachel.brophy@cumbria.gov.uk 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

WRITE, PHONE, EMAIL, MAKE A BIG NOISE

 

RSPB - St Bees Black guillemot

STOP PRESS – COAL MINE PLANNING DECISION DELAYED AGAIN! TILL AUTUMN

Sellafield from St Bees

St Bees looking across to Sellafield

We have just heard that the planning meeting for the first deep coal mine in the UK  that was due to be heard on August 23rd in Kendal has been delayed yet again.

We have lost count of the deferments – it must be some kind of record.  We have to ask why hasn’t this dangerous mad bad plan been knocked on the head already?  Is it to embed West Cumbria Mining into Cumbrian society with its largesse and promises of jobs?   It it to soften West Cumbria up for deep mining of an altogether different plan, concerning nuclear wastes?  That may be way off course but it is a thought that has crossed many a Cumbrian mind.

So the new date – as far as we know is the autumn.

We shall continue to fight this plan and welcome all hands to the deck until the plan for the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years is stopped once and for all.

 

 

#DivestParliament Congratulations, Thank You and a Request to the Irish Parliament

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photo credit Climate Action

Fantastic news! Ireland is on course to become the first country in the world to divest from fossil fuel assets. The Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill brought by Irish Parliamentarian Thomas Pringle is set to become law by the end of the year.

I have sent a letter to the Irish Government congratulating them on backing the Bill and asking them to keep the Irish Sea safe from the plan for a coal mine deep underneath the fragile and complex Irish Sea bed.

Please do send them your own letter of congratulations and request that the Irish Parliament do all they can to stop this crazy plan for a coal mine under the Irish Sea.

email the Irish Parliament at     info@oireachtas.ie

Dear Houses of the Oireachtas

Planning Application 4/17/9007 –

Woodhouse Mine

First Deep Coal Mine in 30 Years and it is under the Irish Sea!

Thank you so much for backing the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill brought by Irish Parliamentarian Thomas Pringle. For Ireland to be the world’s first country ever to divest public money from fossil fuel is truly a great achievement and something wonderful to celebrate.

It is therefore a terrible irony that in the same summer that Ireland pledges to divest from Fossil Fuel , the Irish Sea is being primed to become host to the first new deep coal mine (Woodhouse Mine) in the UK for 30 years. The plan is due to be heard by Cumbria County Council on August 23rd 2018.

There are many reasons to oppose this deep coking coal mine under the Irish Sea off St Bees on the Cumbrian Coast.

Climate

The developers, West Cumbria Mining, 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 steel making coal from the USA.  However the fact that the plan is to export most of the coal produced makes a nonsense of this claim. 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 is staggering. At a production rate of 2.8Mt/year the produced coal would generate 1.24Mt CO2. This is an Alice in Wonderland plan in many ways as there is rapid innovation in steel making processes to eliminate the fossil fuel component of steel, making coking coal redundant.

 Proximity to Sellafield

At just 8km away from Sellafield (even nearer to the proposed new nuclear reactors at ‘Moorside’) 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.”

Sea Bed Subsidence and Resuspension of Radioactive Wastes from the Irish Sea Bed

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.

Local campaigners Radiation Free Lakeland have recently sampled the beaches near Sellafield (Sellafield stops monitoring and retrieval of radioactive particles over the summer in order not to frighten beach users).  A full one third of all random samples were found to contain cesium and americium in levels above that safe for human health. Any increase in radioactive particles being resuspended and brought back on the waves of the Irish Sea to Cumbrian and Irish shorelines is to be avoided.

I am writing to thank you on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole for divesting from fossil fuels.

And…

It is a Big ask but I would like to ask that you protect the Irish Sea (and so much more) by opposing the Irish Sea deep coal mine on behalf of Ireland.

With many thanks

Marianne Birkby

On behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

 https://keepcumbriancoalinthehole.wordpress.com/

Final Push on Petition to Stop Fossil Fuel Extraction Near Nuclear Installations

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Dear Friends,

FINAL PUSH ON THE PETITION to Stop Fossil Fuel Extraction Near Nuclear Installations!

We now have over 1000 signatures on this petition and it would be fantastic to raise the roof on this before we hand the petition in with a letter to the Health and Safety Executive.

The letter will outline all the reasons why there should be a halt to the extraction of fossil fuel near nuclear installations such as Springfields in Preston which is near to the PNR frack site.

The plan for the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years would be just five miles from Sellafield.

This is madness and will impact on future generations as well as ours.

We have written to the HSE before but so far their response has been to ignore the letters. With your help and even more signatures on the petition we can make sure that our voice is heard, listened to and acted on!

The petition will be handed over in person to the HSE head office on the 19th February so please share, share, share the petition ahead of this date.

In April of last year I sent a letter on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland to the Health and Safety Executive : ( https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2017/04/25/fossil-fueled-earthquakes-at-the-uks-two-key-nuclear-sites/ )

*Given the vast uncertainty regarding the classification of nuclear materials at both Sellafield and Springfields (Springfields is the UKs nuclear fuel manufacturer at Preston) at the very least there should be a moratorium on fossil fuel extraction near nuclear sites. nuclear and fossil fuel Map We call for a comprehensive inquiry, which includes the worst-case scenarios that could result from induced seismic activity near nuclear installations. The inquiry should be undertaken honestly and transparently and be fully independent of current government policy*.

There was no reply.

This time they must not ignore us!

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-fossil-fuel-extraction-near-nuclear-installations

A new covering letter to HSE will be handed in with the petition and We will share that with you as soon as possible

Many Thanks

Braving the Rain in Bowness to Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole!

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A BIG THANK YOU to all (including the swans) who came along today to Bowness to meet and shout out a big NO to Coal.   A big thank you also to the few media outlets who have broken the silence on this.  We are still waiting to see some Grrr or at least some critical thinking from national media who have so far given West Cumbria Mining and their financial backers a free and very respectful ride.

Colourful Banners carried messages including “Stop Coal, Keep it in the Hole…too Near Sellafield” “Coal Chokes, Nukes Annihilate, Stop the Mine.” Campaigners from West Cumbria, South Lakeland CND and Anti Fracking campaigners from Lancaster and Preston also joined the protest.

The more people know about it the more deeply angry they are at the thought of deep coal mining in such close proximity to Sellafield. We spoke to a miner from Yorkshire who stopped to sign the petition saying the plan is absolutely the most dangerous thing he has heard of.

Planning permission might be granted on the 1st November by Cumbria County Councillors in Kendal, setting wheels in motion for the new “Woodhouse Colliery” coal mine to begin operating in 2019.

The developers, West Cumbria Mining have confirmed that the coal drifts would extend to within 8km of the Sellafield ponds containing high level nuclear wastes. In 2014 photos of the crumbling and dilapidated nuclear waste storage ponds and infrastructure at Sellafield were leaked to Radiation Free Lakeland.

The photos were shown to nuclear expert John Large who warned that “if the ponds drain, the Magnox fuel will ignite and that would lead to a massive release of radioactive material.”   Coal Action Network, Radiation Free Lakeland and Friends of the Earth have all pointed to increased seismic activity from new coal mining under the Irish Sea as a major concern given the close proximity of Sellafield.

Quotes from Opponents :

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

Friends of the Earth: “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.”

Coal Action Network “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.”

Colourful Coast Partnership: “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.”

Natural England: “ 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.”

 

National Trust: “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.”

 

Jonathon Porritt; “I’m writing to express my intense opposition …WCM has argued that the metallurgical coal (which will be exported for use primarily for use in the steel industry internationally) should somehow be exempted from this gathering campaign to stop all new developments in coal and other hydrocarbons. That is illogical, not least because the 350,000 tonnes of middlings coal will be used in power stations (not in steel production), as may an unknown percentage of the 2.43 million tonnes of metallurgical coal if it fails to compete in today’s shrinking, highly volatile coking coal market.”

 

 

NOTE: local campaigners, Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole will be at the planning meeting at Kendal County Offices on 1st November at 10am to object to this plan , they encourage others to join them in objecting. https://keepcumbriancoalinthehole.wordpress.com/

The Development Control and Regulation Committee will be making the decision http://councilportal.cumbria.gov.uk/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=124

People can write to them and cc the council leader Stuart Young http://councilportal.cumbria.gov.uk/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=217

Objections to the plan can be found on the Council website: just type West Cumbria Mining into the search and then click on “documents” on the right.  http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/planning-environment/DC/dc.asp

 

The Ecologist: Leaked Sellafield Photos

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2611216/leaked_sellafield_photos_reveal_massive_radioactive_release_threat.html

 

 

 

Coal -Lets Do the Time Warp Again???

West Cumbria Mining say “ locals still remember with pride their role in providing valued resources to the rest of the UK and it is this feeling that West Cumbria Mining hopes to bring back to the area through the opening of the new mine”.

Is Cumbria in a time warp where mining and exporting coal is a good thing?  The good old days of coal mining should be forfeit here in Cumbria where the mine’s close proximity to an expanding Sellafield site could send us into a future with no future.   WCM have confirmed that the coal drifts would extend to within 8km of the crumbling Sellafield ponds containing high level nuclear wastes. This is recklessly putting the public at risk and not just Cumbrians.  Lets do the time warp again with radioactive brass knobs on?   No thanks!

 

 

RALLY TO KEEP CUMBRIAN COAL IN THE HOLE will be in Bowness on 10th September from midday.  Bring Music, Bring Banners, Bring Yourselves and make a noise to protect Cumbria for all our sakes.

Please join us in a Rally on the 10th September at Bowness bay opposite the Glebe from midday.

 

More Info on the campaign:

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole will be at the planning meeting at Kendal County Offices (was to be 20th Sept) now scheduled for 1st Nov  at 10am to object to this plan  We encourage others to join us in objecting.

The Development Control and Regulation Committee will be making the decision http://councilportal.cumbria.gov.uk/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=124

People can write to them and cc the council leader Stuart Young http://councilportal.cumbria.gov.uk/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=217

Objections to the plan can be found on the Council website: just type West Cumbria Mining into the search and then click on “documents” on the right.  http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/planning-environment/DC/dc.asp