Mine Water Pollution in Whitehaven Harbour is Red Flag for New Coal Mine.

Mine Water Pollution in Whitehaven Harbour is Red Flag for New Coal Mine.

Campaigners have sent a letter (10.2.23) to the Coal Authority via Cumbrian MP Tim Farron urging the Coal Authority not to renew West Cumbria Mining’s conditional licence for onshore mining which expired in October 2022.


Radiation Free Lakeland have opposed the coal mine since 2017 on a wide range of pollution issues including “geological and hydrological damage to an already vulnerable area in close proximity to the UKs nuclear waste stockpile at Sellafield”.

Approval of Coal Mine – Whitehaven Harbour Turns Red

Secretary of State, Michael Gove approved West Cumbria Mining’s coal mine plan on 7th December,  around the same time red mine water poured into Queens Dock, Whitehaven Harbour.  The authorities have not yet found the cause and mine water continues to flow into the harbour and on into the Irish Sea and Solway Firth.

The letter from Radiation Free Lakeland’s Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole campaign states:

“We understand that the Coal Authority are currently working with the Environment Agency and United Utilities to try to understand where the contaminated mine water pouring into the culvert in Queens Dock, Whitehaven is coming from.”

Honeycomb of Old Mines -West Cumbria Coast

Campaigners point out that: “The contaminated water could be coming from any one or more than one of the vulnerable honeycomb of old mines in the Whitehaven area.  Even if WCM’s exploratory testing is found not to be to blame for disturbance of the hydrology and geology it is surely prudent not to allow further mining in the area above Whitehaven which is very likely to impact the fragile geology of an already heavily mined coastal area.”  

The Planning Inspector Stephen Normington, a former coal miner himself admitted that induced earthquakes resulting from West Cumbria Mining’s activity “cannot be ruled out.”  


Campaigners warn that “The contaminated water pouring into the harbour is said by the Environment Agency to contain “metals” and our own citizen science test of the surface water’s ph at the far side of Queens Dock nearest the sea and furthest from the culvert, while the gates were open to the sea indicated that it is nowhere near the ph 8.1 that the surface harbour seawater should be.  The test indicated a ph of 6 or below.  This is veering towards acidic.  The pressures on the Marine Conservation Zones of the Irish Sea and Solway Firth are becoming intolerable, including damaging investigation techniques for a high level sub-sea nuclear dump for which the coal mine boss is, incredibly, a key advisor with the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management.”

Do Not Issue New Licence

Campaigners urge the Coal Authority not to issue a new conditional licence for West Cumbria Mining’s controversial and potentially already polluting Onshore Whitehaven South Prospect.  

Additional Notes and References:

West Cumbria Mining -Whitehaven South Prospect conditional licence https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1085211/Whitehaven_South_Prospect_-_CA11.UND.0177.N.pdf

Coal Authority and Mine Water Discharge

[F14APower of the Authority with respect to coal mine water discharge

(1)The Authority may take such action as it considers appropriate (if any) for the purpose of preventing, or mitigating the effect of, the discharge of water from a coal mine into or on to any land or into any controlled waters.

(2)In this section and sections 4B [F2 , 4C and 4CA] below—

(a)“controlled waters” has the meaning given by section 104 of the Water Resources Act 1991; and

(b)references to coal mines are to coal mines vested in the Authority.]


Honeycomb of coal mines in Whitehaven area https://thebeacon-whitehaven.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/CMG9-Coal-mines-in-the-Whitehaven-area-collieries-plotted-on-map.pdf

Abandoned mines and the water environment – Environment Agency: “When the mines close, the pumps are switched off and the groundwater level rises until it reaches the surface or discharges into overlying aquifers. This may take a few months or many years. Flooding of the exposed seams stops the oxidation of the sulphide minerals, but dissolves the metal ions and sulphates to form sulphuric acid.” https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/291482/LIT_8879_df7d5c.pdf

Radon in minewater https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343483994_Radon_Hazard_Assessment_in_Region_with_Intense_Coal_Mining_Industry

From our blog in 2020 – we revealed the Cayman Islands link even earlier – the mainstream press conspiracy of silence on the main reasons why this is a coal mine like no other. Our Govnt must be delighted in the narrow “debate” fostered by NGOs and media around this fiendish coal mine and their nuclear dump advisor boss.

Ghost of Christmas Future?


Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come?

While West Cumbria Mining has bigged up its business credentials to the general public and starry eyed politicians, creative accounting means that the“generational opportunity” that will help the area “prosper both nationally and internationally”.  is classed as a “small business.” Small businesses can use exemption clauses so they do not need to file full company accounts.  Not all small businesses use this exemption but WCM has chosen to.  This is despite spending what must be £millions on Public Relations alone.  At the County Council planning meeting back in March 2019, political lobbyist Tony Lodge boasted that on behalf of WCM he  had successfully lobbied high profile government ministers and local politicians.  No doubt the wheels were somewhat greased by the large donations made to the Conservative party by PR company New Century Media for whom Tony Lodge is Director of Political Communications

Mark Jenkinson’s (MP for Workington) article “The Case for Coal”  first published in Conservative Home looks very much like the articles West Cumbria Mining’s  political advisor Tony Lodge has written.  All of these articles extoll the “green” credentials of metallurgical (coking) coal and are disingenuous not least by missing the point that not all coking coal is equal, not all is fit for making steel.  Especially not coal with high sulphur and ash content such as would come out of WCM’s planned mine near Sellafield.   

There is a question mark over where the initial cash injection for West Cumbria Mining has come from. We know it has come via EMR Capital but from who, from where?  Although the public are not privvy to where the initial cash injection of millions came from, the paperwork has already been put into place by WCM to ensure that when it all goes pear shaped WCM’s land and assets go to EMR Capital who are acting on behalf of other parties. EMR identify themselves as the Security Trustee which means they are acting for someone else. We would dearly like to know who but, of course, it is deliberately hidden from view by EMR.

West Cumbria Mining executives must love a good party as the important documents detailing how assets would be protected from creditors are witnessed by one Bradley Herd – occupation – “Bartender”

24 Nov 2020Registration of charge 071433980002, 

the document can be found here https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/07143398/filing-history

This document means that creditors, the businesses who supply WCM may find that when the coal mine goes pop (to resurface Phoenix like into another more lucrative incarnation?), that their money has gone off for Christmas to the Cayman Islands protected account of EMR Capital.  Likewise the former Haig Museum which was refurbished with £millions of Heritage Lottery Money and other monies from the public purse would be owned by some person/s unknown hidden in a Cayman Islands account (there must be a story to tell about how the incredible and socially important Haig Mining Museum mysteriously lost the will to live and was handed over lock stock and barrel to West Cumbria Mining?) 

Its no secret that mine companies use administration or bankruptcy laws to avoid paying out on health damage, remediation or just to consolidate their assets and the CEO of West Cumbria Mining has a track record of using administration.  As CEO of geotechnical company Itsmoil based in Uckfield, Sussex, Mark Kirkbride oversaw administration which was used to “give protection from creditors.”  It’s not illegal if you have the right advice from the right lawyers but it is unethical.  The public and those promoting West Cumbria Mining should be aware of this Ghost of Christmas Future. It is an inevitability if this mine goes ahead that assets will be “protected from creditors”.   Those opposing the mine have been told to “get a conscience”  and that the best ever Christmas present ever for Cumbria is a new deep coal mine under the Irish Sea near Sellafield.   

Bah Humbug.   

  • article from December 16th 2020 written by Marianne Birkby

Coal Mine’s Secret Santa – Want a Clue? Its HOTTER than Coking Coal!

Image: Mark Kirkbride the multi-talented CEO of West Cumbria Mining currently focussed on coal but Kirkbride is also employed by UK Government to advise on the plan to Deliver a deep Geological Facility for heat generating nuclear wastes. UK Government via Secretary of State for Communities Michael Gove MP, are due to take a decison on their “invaluable” nuclear dump advisor’s coal mine any day now. If it sounds dodgy – thats because it is. It is a “Secret Santa” surprise.

Why not retweet this to @michaelgove and tell him to stop with the nuclear waste/coal cronyism, turn down the earthquake inducing coal mine near Sellafield being touted by their key nuclear dump advisor.

Key Role of Coal Boss, Mark Kirkbride in Nuclear Dump Plans remains Taboo Subject in Press

Read the full article here https://www.whitehavennews.co.uk/news/19994346.environmental-activists-protest-drigg-nuclear-waste-disposal-facility/

Thanks to Whitehaven News and local press for exposing the fact that rock characterisation boreholes have already been drilled at the ‘Low Level Waste Repository’ to prepare the way for Near Surface Disposal of Intermediate Level Wastes. We note the industry response: ” this study is separate from ongoing activities to find a suitable site for a Geological Disposal Facility”

This quite frankly is a big fat lie. The coal boss Mark Kirkbride, with his hat on as key member of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management, has provided costings to Government on “co-location” of Near Surface and Geological Disposal. In other words the Near Surface Disposal (NSD) facility for Intermediate Level Wastes would be up to 120 metres underground in silos. The infrastructure of the NSD above ground facilities, including security, access and the like would be shared with a Geological Disposal dump to “cut costs.”

Here below is the Press Release we sent out to all national and local press as you can see the “co-location” issue is highlighted as is coal boss, Mark Kirkbride’s role as key advisor. The media, with the exception of the Isle of Man have shown remarkable solidarity in omitting any reference to the conflict of interest and cronyism regarding coal boss, Mark Kirkbride’s 2019 Government appointed role in the push for nuclear waste dumping.



Costs for the underground burial of nuclear wastes are due to be published shortly by the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM), campaigners have learnt. The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have tasked the CEO of West Cumbria Mining and CoRWM member, Mark Kirkbride with providing costings for geological and near surface disposal of high and intermediate level nuclear wastes.

Ever since the appointment of Mark Kirkbride to CoRWM in 2019, nuclear safety group Radiation Free Lakeland have argued that there is a deep conflict of interest at the heart of government on this issue. Government on the one hand will have the final say on Mark Kirkbride’s coal mine business interests and on the other hand are employing Mr Kirkbride to provide costings and “invaluable” advice on the burial of nuclear wastes. The Geological Disposal Facility is a major infrastructure project and is described by BEIS as “one of the most significant long-term environmental protection projects ever undertaken in the UK.”

Peaceful Demo at Drigg – on the Edge of the Lake District

Supporters of Radiation Free Lakeland’s new campaign Lakes Against Nuclear Dump (L.A.N.D) held a peaceful demonstration outside the Mid-Copeland Community Partnership “drop-in” at Drigg on Friday 11th March. L.A.N.D said “Drigg residents have been surprised to learn that 16 research boreholes 120 metres deep have already been drilled without any democratic oversight at the Low Level Waste Repository. The boreholes are part of a “feasibility study” for possible Near Surface Disposal of Intermediate Level Nuclear Wastes. Government policy would have to be amended for Near Surface Disposal to take place. L.A.N.D say “Locals at Drigg have every right to be angry about this. A map released under Freedom of Information as well as showing recently acquired long lease of the Drigg dunes shows the mining/mineral rights owned by the NDA and clearly shows a linked route from the Low Level Waste Repository area to the Inshore area of the Irish Sea. The mining and mineral rights mean that the NDA are able to extract rock without reference to anyone else.”

Freedom of Information answers have revealed that: “The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has asked LLWR to conduct a feasibility study to assess the capacity of the LLWR site as part of their wider studies on near-surface disposal.

.. It includes the drilling of new characterisation

and monitoring boreholes that reach a maximum depth of 120 metres. All of

which are within the LLWR site boundary.”

“Co-Locate” to “cut costs”

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority have stated in their 2020 position paper on Near Surface Disposal that “The assessment of disposal costs has been made on the assumption that a nearer- surface disposal facility ..would be co-located with a GDF.” This is say L.A.N.D a breach of trust regarding the nuclear waste plans and they have

sent a 30 page report “Nuclear Waste’s Shifting Sands On the Lakeland Fringe” to Allerdale and Copeland Community Partnership members with a letter urging them to withdraw from the “Community Partnership” which they have branded “fraudulent”.

“Protected” ?

The Mid-Copeland Community Partnership “Drop-In” at Drigg on Friday told Drigg locals that the 16 research boreholes drilled without any democratic scrutiny “are nothing to do with us.” Meanwhile, coal boss, Mark Kirkbride’s costings for the Near Surface and Geological Disposal of Intermediate and High Level Nuclear Wastes are due to be published any day now on the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management’s website. A decision on Mark Kirkbride’s coal mine is also due to be made by Secretary of State Michael Gove. In another twist of logic both the subsea coal mine and the subsea GDF would be within the West of Copeland area of the Irish Sea designated as a Marine Conservation Zone by Michael Gove in 2019.


New Report by L.A.N.D https://www.lakesagainstnucleardump.com/post/new-report-nuclear-waste-s-shifting-sands-on-the-lakeland-fringe

Appointment of Mark Kirkbride to CorWM https://www.gov.uk/government/people/mark-kirkbridg

Freedom of Information request/answers re rock characterisation boreholes for Near Surface Disposal https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/are_the_16_rock_characterisation

West of Copeland Marine Conservation Zone designated by Michael Gove in 2019 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/marine-conservation-zones-west-of-copeland

2020 Position Paper on Near Surface Disposal – co-location with GDF to cut costs