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