Polar Bear Urges Freeze on Coal Mine Plan

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Last Friday 22nd February the Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole ‘Polar Bear’ highlighted the Beyond Crazy plan to mine for coal under the Irish Sea.  A photographer from the Whitehaven News met us at the train station in the town to walk up to the Haig Pit.

Everyone in the town we spoke to was opposed to the mine, some of the comments we heard were: “its a backward step”  “its too near Sellafield, too dangerous”.  This was all witnessed by the photographer from the Whitehaven News and shows the distance between the truth and the enthusiastic PR we have seen from West Cumbria Mining and those with an unaccountable (?) vested interest in seeing deep mining become ‘a thing’ once again in West Cumbria.  We also spoke to folk who live opposite the Haig Pit and their view is : “We don’t want it.”

The Whitehaven News reported : “The ‘polar bear’ was actually Sam Morris who, along with Marianne Birkby of the Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole campaign, was protesting against West Cumbria Mining’s plans to extract coking coal off the coast of St Bees.

“The pair tore up a copy of the Paris Agreement – a global agreement to tackle climate change – outside the developer’s Whitehaven office.

They believe the application goes against the agreement and Cumbria County Council’s Carbon Reduction Plan and Climate Local programme and that the mine’s proximity to Sellafield would increase the risk of earth tremors. They also claim mining under the Irish Sea could re-suspend radioactive particles from decades of Sellafield reprocessing and argue that there are other ways to produce steel.”

In response to our protest the developers replied to the local press that : 

“The WCM planning submission clearly sets out and responds to all of the questions raised by external parties over the last three years and provides clear scientific evidence based responses to all of these points, clearly demonstrating that there are no risks or significant impacts from the scheme.”   

Really?  The fact that this must be the most deferred planning application to go before Cumbria County Council ever, rather belies this statement.  The reason for the delays are that the Council, and the regulators are not happy with the content of WCM’s application and require further clarification and answers from the developers.

What can be clarified is that this development is Beyond Crazy while the rest of the world looks Beyond Coal.   A recent document handed to Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole (below) gives some insight into the climate impacts and the deaths that would result from opening up this deep coal mine.


Meanwhile, the impacts on Sellafield are of course unquantifiable – an increase in seismicity in the area housing such a vast stockpile of the world’s most dangerous radioactive wastes is unthinkable.

There is a Petition To Sign Here – Please Sign and Share and lets give Cumbria County Council the message that this dangerous coal mine is not wanted


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On Friday 22nd February Campaigners including a polar bear will be tearing up a copy of the Paris Climate Agreement outside the Offices of West Cumbria Mining in Whitehaven.
Campaigners invite people to join them on an approximately 30 – 40 minutes walk from Whitehaven Train Station  at 2.34pm in order to walk to the Haig Mining Museum where the developers West Cumbria Mining have their offices. 
Joining the campaigners will be a life size polar bear who will tear up the Paris Climate Agreement in front of WCM headquarters in Whitehaven (at the old Haig Mining Museum)  at approximately 3.30pm
Campaigners say they are taking this action to underline the insanity of opening up a new deep coal mine while a state of climate emergency is being declared by an increasing number of UK and overseas towns and cities.   The proposed coal mine at Whitehaven is promoted as being primarily for coking (metallurgical) coal and therefore somehow immune from the 175 million tonnes of CO2 (and significant methane emissions) the mine would emit over its lifetime.
Campaigners main objections are:
  • This  coal mine proposal flies in the face of Cumbria County Council’s Carbon Reduction Plan and Climate Local programme.
  • The mine workings would extend to within 8km of Sellafield, this would increase the risk of earth tremors and worse.
  • Collapse of the sea bed as a consequence of mining under the Irish Sea would resuspend radioactive particles from decades of Sellafield reprocessing.
  • There are other ways to produce steel than with coking (metallurgical) coal.
With regard to seabed collapse Tim Farron MP has written to campaigners saying:
“there certainly should be questions asked about the chances that the mine could physically undermine the Sellafield nuclear installation (8km away) and risk spreading radioactive substances.”
Note:  The Planning Meeting by Cumbria County Council’s Development Control Committee has been deferred several times.  We have been told it ‘may’ take place on 19th March at County Offices, Busher Walk, Kendal
Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole. https://keepcumbriancoalinthehole.wordpress.com
Radiation Free Lakeland
West Cumbria Mining