Opposition Grows!


Dear Friends,

The Opposition to this Coal mine is GROWING!

Last week there were demonstrations from Cumbria to London. Demonstrations of opposition to the plan to open the first deep coal mine in decades.

Thank you to everyone who is opposing this coal mine whether it is by actively demonstrating opposition, contributing to the crowdfunder for the legal challenge or sharing the information.  It is all important and it all sends out the strong and growing message that this coal mine is totally unacceptable.

Please keep on sharing this crowd justice page and let folk know that we can stop this mine – it is NOT a done deal.

Here are a few links to the growing opposition…

Children should not have to go on hunger strike to stop this mine  ‘It’s a Huge Step Backwards’: Teenagers Hunger Striking to Stop the UK’s Newest Coal Mine By Phoebe Cooke • Wednesday, February 12, 2020 – 09:15

What a Week!


What a Week!!

Channel 4 skewers the Mayor, the MP and the Council bosses, Elijah gets his visit to the House, and the High Court says that there is a case to answer!

Well done everyone for getting this legal challenge off the starting blocks. Onwards and Upwards!!

Below is Leigh Day’s Press Release … you can also read it direct on their website 


We have been Granted Permission for Judicial Review! Well Done Everyone!!!

Dear Friends

Brilliant news we have just heard that we have been granted permission for a judicial review of Cumbria County Council’s decision to allow the first deep coal mine in 30 years in the UK to be built.

Well done everyone for getting this challenge off the starting blocks. Onwards and Upwards!!

Below is Leigh Day’s Press Release … you can read it direct on their website 


6 February 2020

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole (KCCH), are challenging Cumbria County Council’s Development Control and Regulation Committee’s decision to resolve to grant planning permission for a major new underground metallurgical coal mine on the former Marchon Chemical Works site in Whitehaven, Cumbria. The judicial review will be heard at the High Court in Manchester on a date yet to be set.

KCCH is an active environmental campaign group in the local area, and was one of the leading objectors to the planning application focussing its objections on the proximity of the coal mine site to the nuclear facility at Sellafield.

Cumbria County Council resolved to grant planning permission following a unanimous vote on 19 March 2019. On 20 June 2019, Leigh Day wrote to Cumbria County Council. The letter addressed a number of legal issues, including Cumbria County Council’s failures to consider:

  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the mining operations
  • The need for, and GHG impacts of, Middlings Coal
  • The Government’s Net Zero target.

Despite being alerted to those concerns, Cumbria County Council ratified its decision on 31 October 2019. Mrs Justice Beverley Lang has now agreed that those legal issues are arguable and justify a public hearing.

Marianne Birkby from KCCH, said:

“Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole are delighted we are able to bring this Judicial Review in order to challenge the decision made by Cumbria County Council to approve the first deep coal mine in decades. This legal challenge is only happening because of the ongoing determination of our campaigning and the huge generosity of everyone who has donated to the crowd-funder.”

Rowan Smith, solicitor at law firm Leigh Day, who is representing Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, with Anna Dews and Carol Day from Leigh Day, said:

“We are pleased that the High Court has granted our client permission for a judicial review of Cumbria County Council’s decision to allow this coal mine development. This legal action shines a light on how all local planning authorities should assess the climate change impacts of development of this nature, particularly with the backdrop of the UK Parliament declaring a climate emergency and the Government’s commitment to ensuring that the Net Zero target is reached by 2050.

“We are in the middle of a climate crisis, and our clients have worked tirelessly to bring this issue into the public domain. There will now be full legal scrutiny of the climate change impact of this proposal, which is estimated to translate to 420 million tonnes CO₂e even without taking into account the emissions arising from the extraction process.”

David Wolfe QC from Matrix chambers and Merrow Golden from Francis Taylor Building chambers are instructed.

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!

Woodhouse Colliery Disaster Must be Stopped – Article in the Independent

Read the Full Article Here 


Article in the Independent – Hot off the press

For a long time now Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole have been saying: What is worse than a new coal mine?  Opening up a new coal mine just five miles from the riskiest nuclear waste site in the world ! (slightly misquoted  but the article nevertheless does a brilliant job of exposing the multiple disasters opening this coal mine would precipitate)

MANY THANKS to Donnachadh McCarthy of The Independent for having the tenacity and determination to get this published..

Here is an extract

“Just imagine if the government turned off all the electricity to all the homes in the UK. All the lights, all the electric heating, all the TVs, washing machines, fridges – everything. Even if they kept them turned off for 20 years, you still would not have saved all of the 420 million tons of carbon emissions emitted by a new planned coal mineover its lifetime.”

and the full article can be read here

Our CrowdJustice Fundraising to take forward the legal challenge with top lawyers Leigh Day can be found here

Little Puffin Says Thank You!- Lets Stop This Coal Mine!

Here is a little puffin to THANK YOU for all the generous donations so far towards the legal case against the Coal Mine!

This little puffin ( hand made last night!) represents the amazing birds that are sometimes seen at St Bees.  In order for the puffin to continue to visit St Bees they need sandeels which we know are under threat from temperature rise in the oceans.

On the next update we will share the letter which has been sent to Cumbria County Council from Leigh Day.  The letter is the start of the legal battle which aims to keep the temperature from rising in our oceans by stopping this diabolic plan for the first deep coal mine in decades!

Please keep sharing!  We CAN stop this coal mine and it will be ALL THANKS TO YOU!

Here is the Link to our Crowd Justice page  Please Keep Sharing and lets get the message out that this coal mine is not a done deal

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!”