Flying Underwater

“Flying Underwater – Black Guillemots at St Bees”. The last nesting place of Black Guillemots in England is St Bees where the first deep coal mine in 30 years will soon be decided upon.

The Coal Mine planning inspector Stephen Normington will, any day now, be making his recommendation to government (the same government who have appointed the coal boss as nuclear dump advisor).

Then the final decision will be with Secretary of State Michael Gove on whether or not to open a new coal mine under the Marine Conservation Zone off St Bees and just five miles from Sellafield.

Concerns, aside from climate, raised by Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole since 2017, regarding seismic, nuclear and marine impacts have been well and truly ‘talked over’ despite our vehement campaigning.

The narrowed narrative allowed in the media (with rare exceptions) and siezed upon by NGOs (with rare exceptions) has been to focus myopically on climate ignoring all other arguably more important impacts such as seismicity, Sellafield, and putting the infrastructure in place for a deep nuclear dump.

The climate impacts of this coal mine would be the same anywhere – but this is not anywhere and the CEO of the coal mine, Mark Kirkbride, key advisor to government on nuclear dump plans, is not your ordinary everyday coal boss.

#KeepCumbrianCoalintheHole #LakesAgainstNuclearDump

Hurray – We are on the way to a new Challenge…

Dear Friends,

Hurray!  We have reached our first hurdle and now have the means to look at a legal challenge with the help of top lawyers Leigh Day.  Thank you very much to all who have been sharing and donating.  The response so far has been truly remarkable and generous. Please do keep sharing the CrowdJustice page.

I have drawn a quick map to show just how under threat the Irish Sea is. There are individual ‘official’ maps of all these things, Coal Mine plan, Marine Conservation Zone, Cumbrian Mud Patch and Geological Disposal Facility ‘possible’ site –  but this is the first time all the elements have been put together on one (felt tip pen!) map. 

 It seems that the much hyped Marine Conservation Zone status, which is supposed to act as “protection” for the Irish Sea coastal zone, counts for zilch when big business with big vested interests and political/industrial lobbyists are involved.  The regulatory bodies have rolled over despite the “protected status” and Cumbria County Council have rolled with them.  How ironic that one of the first voices calling this horrible coal mine out was not the conservation bodies who have campaigned vigorously for the protection of the Irish Sea coastal area of Cumbria, but the North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority.  The very industry that the Marine Conservation Zones were designed to protect the sea from overfishing, were the first ones calling this mad bad coal mine plan out.

The map also shows the insane plan for a geological disposal facility for heat generating nuclear wastes.  The Irish Sea is under threat from this too with the new push to find a “willing community” who will roll over with the offer of ongoing “compensation” – or to use the vernacular – bribes  (with public money).   The definition of “community” has not been revealed and although the Chief Executive Officer of West Cumbria Mining has said “the coal mine has nothing to do with GDF plans” the circumstantial evidence that it is indeed linked is there to see.

The CEO of West Cumbria Mining is giving a talk in March 2021 (see below)- not about the coal mine you understand but about the government plans to get shot of the heat generating nuclear wastes which have been stacking up at Sellafield over several decades, ( in order to make more of them with new civil/military nuclear build from Hinkley, BAE et al.)  The coal boss’s business interests (not confined to coal) would likely be first in line for the eye watering nuclear waste big bucks courtesy of the public purse. 

This coal mine is more than meets the eye -and what meets the eye is shocking enough – 3 million tonnes of coal every year being mined out under the Irish Sea and shunted through the complex geology of the “protected Marine Conservation Zone” for decades to come? 

Thanks to you we still have a chance to stop this coal mine (and it seems much else besides!) 

With all best wishes


“Old King Coal dug a great big hole

Under the Irish Sea.

Said it was Green

and the Mayor was Keen

Even Sellafield Loved it too”

“Development of a Deep Geological Disposal Facility for Nuclear Waste in the UK

Mark Kirkbride, Member on the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM)

15th March 2021 7:30pm by Zoom

Since the late 1940’s the UK has been involved in nuclear science and engineering, with the creation of waste being an integral part of that industry.  There has been significant focus upon long-term storage and disposal of this nuclear waste inventory.  The talk will seek to explain the types of nuclear waste, historical background and work towards the development of a deep geological disposal facility in the UK for disposal of nuclear waste.”

note: Mark Kirkbride is also the CEO of West Cumbria Mining

The Spirit of the Irish Sea Thanks You

Spirit of the Irish Sea (for web)
“Sea Horse Heart – Spirit of the Irish Sea”

Let 2020 be the year that we Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole and stop this terrible plan. Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to the crowdfunder and equal thanks to those who have been sharing and talking about this.

The image above is a small watercolour painting and the final person to donate to the crowdfunder will receive the original painting.

Thanks to you all we now have the means to push forward with a legal challenge.

But we are not resting on our laurels and will be pursuing every means possible to stop this coal mine, alongside the legal challenge.

The St Bees area of the Irish Sea is in a Marine Conservation Zone and will need a license from the Marine Management Organisation in order for coal to be extracted from deep under the Irish Sea. From what we can see the MMO only consults with conservancy agencies and organisations (?) This is rather scary as the organisations tasked with the protection of Cumbria’s wildlife have, incredibly, so far been rather nonchalant about this coal mine and the impacts it would inevitably have on the Irish Sea and the Irish Sea bed. We will be pushing for a full public consultation with the public and with surrounding countries. The countries that are on the Irish Sea shoreline are, Scotland, England , Wales, Isle of Man,  Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland . All of these countries should be consulted by the MMO in their deliberations on whether or not to give West Cumbria Mining free rein to mine out coking and industrial “middlings” coal from under the Irish Sea just five miles from the world’s riskiest nuclear waste site, Sellafield.

ALSO: The Climate Change Act 2008 is a legally binding, long-term framework for the UK to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change. Under the Act, public bodies (including the Marine Management Organisation) must report on the steps that they are taking to respond to climate change. The purpose of this report is to highlight the ways in which the MMO’s work is at risk of being affected by a changing climate and to set out any actions to help the organisation adapt.