Coal Boss Compiles Lastest Nuclear Dump Report for Government who have just Approved his Coal Mine.

High Level Cronyism and Corruption – Coal and Nuclear Waste

Still not raising an eyebrow in the press or by NGOs is the fact that the coal boss Mark Kirkbride is the Government’s key advisor on the dumping of nuclear wastes in big holes.

The latest Committee on Radioactive Waste Management report went online yesterday compiled by non other than CEO of West Cumbria Mining, Mark Kirkbride.

The government has just approved his earthquake inducing deep coal mine in the area of the Irish Sea near Sellafield where the GDF is proposed. This stinks of Government cronyism and corruption but hey – whose looking?

All Hallows Eve – 1st Anniversary of Cumbria County Council Ratification of Coal Mine

Today is the first anniversary of Cumbria County Council’s 31st Oct 2019 ratification of their outrageous decision to approve the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades.

It has brought back a few memories, not least being sat there in the council chamber after the unanimous decision by the council to approve the vote, I was sat alone as others had already left.

As I sat there dejected wondering how to continue opposing this plan, the triumphant Chief Executive Officer of West Cumbria Mining walked past me and said “You should get a conscience Marianne.”

Too surprised to respond I said nothing back.  Remember he had just won another massive victory in getting his mine approved for the second time. 

I didn’t know then that the CEO of West Cumbria Mining was to be appointed within a few days of that council meeting to the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management. Mark Kirkbride’s “get a conscience” jibe is in my opinion not acceptable behaviour from a CEO of a coal mine – certainly not acceptable of a member of the committee which advises government on the best way to facilitate a Geological Disposal Facility.

I’ve asked some Freedom of Information Questions of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management – no reply as yet – will keep you posted.

Happy All Hallows Eve!

“Dear Committee on Radioactive Waste Management,

We note that you appointed the CEO of West Cumbria Mining, Mark Kirkbride to CoRWM in November 2019.

This appointment sends a strong message to the public that CoRWM endorses Mark Kirkbride’s coal mine under the Irish Sea just five miles from Sellafield and directly under the Cumbrian Mud Patch.

This seems at odds with your recent statement: “The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) is an advisory NonDepartmental Public Body, with a remit to provide independent scrutiny and advice on the long-term management of radioactive waste. The Committee normally consists ofa Chair and 11 experts from various fields related to radioactive waste management”

My questions are:

Are CoRWM endorsing West Cumbria Mining’s Irish Sea Coal Mine plan ? (the appointment of Mark Kirkbride to CoRWM strongly suggests complicity)

Which body is responsible for making sure that everything is done to ensure Sellafield’s discharged wastes now on the Cumbrian Mud Patch lie as dormant as possible ( inevitably there is some resuspension from storms and tides) and not be induced to be resuspended en masse into the water column by subsidence/collapse of the Irish Sea bed.

If collapse of the Irish Sea bed occurs and decades worth of discharged reprocessing wastes including plutonium are discharged into the water column and the coasts – (airborne particles can travel 10+ miles inland) who would be responsible for this induced nuclear catastrophe?

WCM have,following four years of drilling, 4000 metres of drill core held in 851 core boxes stacked in steel crates at the former Haig Mining Museum. Will CoRWM and other bodies involved in the (premature) plan for Geological ‘Disposal’ of nuclear waste be using this to inform “site evaluation of a GDF?”

Yours faithfully,

Marianne Birkby”

“Last Coal Mine” ? But it would last 50 years!

A colleague has just alerted us to this interview with CEO of West Cumbria Mining.

Full interview on New Civil Engineer 

Cumbria coal mine could be ‘the last one’ in the UK

The proposed £165M Woodhouse colliery in Cumbria could be “the last [coal mine] ever [built] in the UK”, according to West Cumbria Mining chief executive Mark Kirkbride.

Plans for the coal mine have been called into question amid fears that the facility could hinder the UK’s goal to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

And Kirkbride believes that the changes to planning regulations means that the Cumbrian facility could be the last coal mine ever constructed in the UK.

“If you asked me to get planning for another one, I would say it would be impossible right now unless something significantly changed,” Kirkbride said at a British Tunnelling Society lecture.

“When we applied for planning it was a different set of planning rules. Now if you were to submit planning you’d have to try and do whole life greenhouse gas assessments.”

However, Kirkbride believes it is unfair for the mine to be accountable for carbon emissions from coal once it leaves the mine.

He added: “The analogy I use is if you build a car factory you look at what the greenhouse impact is of the factory, what you don’t have to do is the life cycle emissions from the cars that you make. That doesn’t apply to the natural resources.

“People think we can determine how much CO2 for the life of the coal we’re producing. The challenge is that populist noise would make it impossible to get it past a planning committee.”

Kirkbride’s comments come amid a government push towards renewables.

This month Boris Johnson announced that the deadline for the phase out of coal from Britain’s energy system would be brought forward a year to 1 October 2024. The last five coal-fired power stations stations – Ratcliffe on Soar, West Burton, Fiddlers Ferry, Kilroot and Drax – are all expected to close.

Meanwhile, domestic coal and certain types of wood are also to be banned from sale from next year in a bid to cut air pollution.

However, the Woodhouse colliery would be excavating coal for use mainly in steel production – a key distinction, according to Kirkbride, who “fully supports” the phase out of coal for electricity.

The proposed development is for a large underground metallurgical, or ‘coking coal’, coal mine.

Coking coal is used exclusively in the manufacture of over 70% of the world’s steel, with more than 1.2bn.t used in global steel production around the world every year.

The coal is ‘baked’ in a coke oven which forces out impurities to produce coke. Modern steel plants include gas treatment and capture to reduce emissions. The steel produced is used in the likes of cars, kettles and trains, as well as in the manufacture of wind turbines and nuclear power stations.

Around 250t of coking coal is required to build an offshore wind turbine, which uses around 325t of steel.

West Cumbria Mining’s website describes these as “key alternatives to historical coal-powered energy generation”.

It adds that coking coal is “very different to thermal coal which is used to create steam to power turbines for creating electricity”.

However a report, published in January by independent thinktank Green Alliance, claims the coal mine is “incompatible” with the UK’s net zero goals.

It concludes that when burnt, the coal extracted from the mine would produce more than 8M.t of carbon dioxide per year – and identifies ways that the amount of coal used in steel production could actually be reduced.

These include using less steel, using recycled steel, improving the efficiency of steel production with conventional blast furnaces, and producing steel with new processes using renewable energy.

The report says opening a new coal mine will hinder this strategy by ensuring the continued availability of cheap coal.

As such, it contests Cumbria County Council’s claim that the mine will be carbon neutral.

Earlier this month environmental campaigners appealed for a judicial review against Cumbria County Council for giving the go ahead to the mine.

Campaign group Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole – run by the group Radiation Free Lakeland – filed the paperwork to launch the judicial review through the solicitors Leigh Day. They are now awaiting the court’s approval for a full hearing.

The mine was granted cross-party backing in March 2019.



Will 3 Councillors Please Step Up to Protect Cumbria and the Planet??


Mark Kirkbride CEO of West Cumbria Mining going into the Council Chamber. Photo credit Philip Gilligan of South Lakeland CND

Dear Friends,

We are shell shocked but regathering our resolve to challenge this outrageous decision taken by just a handful of Cumbria County Councillors.   There are legal actions we can take and are looking into but we feel the first course of action should be for CCC to have the chance to rethink this shameful decision.  We do not have much time to do this – just till early next week (we think – any advice welcome!)

There is a way to do this with an internal ‘call in’.

So it would be fantastic if folk could write to Cumbria County Councillors and ask for this decision to be ‘called in’.

The Councillors details are here…

An example letter is below but using your own words making these points would be really good.

On the 19th March The Development & Regulation Committee  voted unanimously in favour of the plan for the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades not far from Sellafield. This terrible plan hassuch damaging consequencesfor the planet and for Cumbria it should be discussed and debated by the whole council.   The Scrutiny and Overview committee decision can then be informed by the feeling of the whole council rather than by a handful of committee members.
It would just take 3 councillors step up to protect Cumbria and agree to a *call in* . If you are one of those councillors and would like to have a briefing to advise on wording for the call in then please urgently contact
From CCCs website:  The *call in* requires three non-Cabinet members to email the Assistant Director- Corporate Governance, giving reasons and identifying a Lead Member.  The notice must specify which aspect or aspects of the decision the members wish to question or challenge.
Yours sincerely,

There is also a petition which we are keeping open can you help spread the word by forwarding the link below to your friends?

Many Thanks

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole