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

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

Cumbria Coal Mine Would Cause Earthquakes – its Official

The video is a very brief summary from Radiation Free Lakeland of the induced earthquake and subsidence expected due to the coal mine.  Sellafield, the world’s riskiest nuclear waste site is just five miles away. What could go wrong

The more people who give a mention to this the more likely the Inspector will include it as a reason to ditch this coal mine in his recommendations to Government

You can Take Action here

All best wishes and more power to all our collective elbows!

Radiation Free Lakeland / Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole


Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng – the buck stops with
BEIS in the issuing of Coal Authority LIcences for
West Cumbria Mining


The conditional Coal Authority Licenses for the diabolic plan to mine 3 million tonnes of coal a year under the Irish Sea and five miles from Sellafield are due to run out any day, the press have been told (repeatedly) but so far only a local online news site has reported on this (Many Thanks to the Cumberland Echo!) .

Please write urgently to the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Please use this template below as inspiration to write your own letter – it doesn’t have to be long the main message is to say that the buck stops with BEIS and they should not issue Coal Authority licenses – the nuclear and climate consequences of this coal mine would cause irreversible damage to life on planet earth.

Contact Details for BEIS and Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng:

phone – 020 7219 5777

email –

Twitter- @KwasiKwarteng

Twitter – @beisgovuk

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP. Minister of State for Business, Energy and Strategy

Dear Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng


Congratulations on your appointment as Minister of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

On your watch the “tension” has been acknowledged between the government washing its hands (Pontius Pilate like) of the Cumbria coal mine saying its a local decision and the UK government’s commitment to net zero carbon and chairing of the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow in November

The developers West Cumbria Mining hold a series of Coal Authority licences which were issued undemocratically over the heads of the public and local councillors and collectively cover an area of approximately 200 km2 off the coast at Whitehaven along with a far smaller area onshore.

The UK Dept for Business Energy and Industry Strategy argue that the coal mine is a local decision but in the awarding of the previous and any new Coal Authority licenses to the developers (West Cumbria Mining) the buck stops with BEIS. Accountability of the Coal Authority lies directly with the BEIS. The conditional licenses awarded 8 years ago are due to run out any day.

There is another tension apart from that of the climate. Nuclear safety campaigners (Radiation Free Lakeland) were the first to oppose this mine back in 2017. BEIS is directly responsible for the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management . CoRWM have appointed the CEO of the coal mine development, Mark Kirkbride to their committee. This committee was set up to advise BEIS (and Radioactive Waste Management) on “site selection” of a potential Geological Disposal Facility for Radioactive Wastes. The Coal Mine is adjacent to the area under the Irish Sea bed which is ‘in the frame’ for the subsea geological disposal of heat generating nuclear wastes.

Do BEIS believe that mining out coal adjacent to the area in the frame as a Geological Disposal Facility will make the rocks more stable?

Or that mining directly under the decades of Sellafield’s discharged wastes will make them safer?

Nuclear wastes discharged from Sellafield for 70 years would be directly above the coal mine.

They are in the silts known as the Cumbrian Mud Patch, nuclear and chemical wastes of every type including plutonium.

The tension is palpable.

The UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities along with local nuclear safety campaigners Radiation Free Lakeland, have already urged Cumbria County Council to reconsider the impact of the expected subsidence of the Irish Sea bed. Resuspension of the decades worth of radioactive wastes from Sellafield which are currently embedded in the silts of the Cumbrian Mud Patch would be disastrous. Nuclear workers are compensated for Radiation Linked Diseases (, the public which includes children more vulnerable to radiation impacts are not.

The facts are that WCM have designated and identified a sub-sea mining zone of the Irish Sea lying to the west of St Bees Head and extending at least 8kms offshore and southwards to within about 8km of the Sellafield site. The WCM extraction proposals, using continuous mining methods, predict the extraction of approximately 3 million tonnes of coal per year over decades. This extraction rate would eventually generate a huge subterranean void space of approximately 136 million cubic metres (a volume greater than that of Wastwater Lake). Subsidence say WCM is expected. Sellafield’s discharged nuclear wastes are currently (largely) immobilised in the silt. Subsidence would remobilise the nuclear wastes into the water column and back to the coasts of Cumbria and beyond.

The buck stops with the BEIS. If BEIS issue Coal Authority licenses for this Coal Mine the result would be irreversible (known and unknown) nuclear impacts, as well as climate impacts.

Do Not Rubber Stamp Coal Authority Licenses to West Cumbria Mining. At the very least the wider public should have a say on whether licenses should be issued or not.

Yours Sincerely



The Nuclear Madness of Old King Coal

The Nuclear Madness of Old King Coal

Dear Friends,

Many thanks to everyone who is donating and sharing this crowdjustice fundraiser.  We still need to raise a couple of hundred to enable us to go forward with the first stage of a legal challenge.  PLEASE let people know about the crowdfunder – we know these are such difficult times for everyone but we would not be doing this if it was not so very important to not only the health of the environment but also directly to the health of the public.  

One the most visceral reasons we want to challenge this coal mine is not only  on climate grounds (though the fossil fuel mined out would be so damaging)  but on the very real and unavoidable radiological damage. The area of seabed below which the mine would be situated is the area in which most of the wastes discharged from Sellafield are languishing in the silts.  

The developers themselves say that subsidence of this area would be unavoidable if the mine proceeds.  This would release the decades of Sellafield’s discharge wastes into the Irish Sea and onto the beaches of Cumbria.  Wastes from Sellafield have been found as far away as the Arctic.

We have been trying to find out just who is responsible for the decades of Radioactive Wastes on the “Cumbrian Mud Patch.”   After many Freedom of Information requests and finger pointing by the authorities – Sellafield suggested it was not them but the Environment Agency who would be responsible .  In all the years the coal mine plan has been rumbling on The Environment Agency have not to my knowledge fielded any concerns regarding the radioactive wastes on the sea bed. 

Here is their reply to our questions.  It is truly scary – and even describes the resulting resuspension of radioactive wastes following subsidence of the Irish Sea bed as a “natural process.”  Our questions are in Italics below – their answers follow..

Please help stop this coal mine which is so much worse than the sum of its parts.

From the Environment Agency…

Dear Marianne

Enquiry regarding responsibility for safety of radioactive wastes on the Cumbrian mud patch

Thank you for your enquiry which we received on 16 November 2020.

We respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Answers to your questions are as follows.

Who is responsible for the decades of radioactive discharge on the “Cumbrian Mud Patch”?

There are a number of sites that have permitted discharges into the Irish Sea in England, Scotland and Wales. The dominant sources of radioactive discharges along the Cumbrian coast are from Sellafield Ltd (and its predecessors) and, in the past, naturally occurring radioactive materials from a former phosphate processing plant near Whitehaven in Cumbria. The Environment Agency regulates the discharge of radioactive waste into the environment by Sellafield Ltd in accordance with an environmental permit. The conditions in this permit are designed to protect people and the environment by ensuring that any radiation exposure that may result from such discharges is kept below legal radiation dose limits. For example, the environmental permit requires Sellafield Ltd to monitor radiation levels from its site discharges, including discharges to sea, and any effects of radioactivity on the environment. Sellafield Ltd publishes an annual discharge and environmental monitoring report. We conduct independent environmental monitoring which is published in the Radioactivity in Food and Environment report series:….
Further details about how we regulate the site and how monitoring is carried out is available at this link:…

In the likely event of subsidence following mined out voids beneath the Cumbrian Mud Patch who would be accountable for the plutonium and other radioactive wastes which would be resuspended into the sea and returned to the coastal areas with the tides?

If resuspension from the ‘Cumbrian Mud Patch’ occurs as part of natural processes, the monitoring programmes conducted by Sellafield Ltd and ourselves will ensure that we keep any changes in radioactivity levels in the environment under review. You may be interested in the attached scientific paper which provides further information on the likely impact of storm surges. We are not in a position to comment on the impact of mining on the Irish Sea bed (see next question).

Would that responsibility for allowing the coal mine to induce subsidence of the Cumbrian Mud Patch and resulting resuspension of radioactive wastes lie with the Environment Agency?

The integrity of any coal mining operation will be regulated by the Health and Safety Executive and the Coal Authority.

Please refer to Open Government Licence which explains the permitted use of this information.

Please get in touch if you have any further queries or contact us within two months if you’d like us to review the information we have sent.

Yours sincerely,

Customers and Engagement Team
Cumbria and Lancashire

Postcards from Cumbria Expo

Postcards from Cumbria Expo is an online multi-media exhibition celebrating Cumbria’s life, geology, wildlife and much more through the distorting lens of past, present and ‘promised’ voids.


the sea cannot be depleted

We are delighted to be able to include this thought provoking and poignant work by Wallace Heim.

“the sea cannot be depleted” can be listened to here

Writer and Producer, Wallace Heim describes the project …….

An estuary is continual turbulence. The tidal forces of the open sea move hard against the higher regions of land, the regions from where maps are made. Those maps mark the two lands, split by the tides and softened by the imperative of rivers as they run to the sea. Maps can chart a channel, a changing sandbank, a buried ship, a danger zone. But they cannot show the restless pull of sea and wind. Or mark the intimacies between the life of the sea and the life of the land.

The tides of the Solway Firth are among the most turbulent around this island, a fast sweep from the Irish Sea into the soft sands of the rivers Esk, Eden and Nith. A line across the blank blue of a map etches the division between Scotland and England. The middle of that sea is not a place where humans can live, but we can find sanctuary in the unfolding of life in the tidal muds and in the migrations of the human imagination across the sea surface. The Latin word vastus described the immensity of the sea, its emptiness and its waste.

The UK Ministry of Defence fired at least 30 tonnes of artillery shells containing Depleted Uranium into the Solway Firth, to test those munitions on behalf of an unnamed ‘Customer’. The firings began in the 1980’s from the Kirkcudbright Training Range in Dumfries and Galloway, and on land at Eskmeals in Cumbria. The date of the latest confirmed firings is not certain, possibly 2011 or 2013, and the license to test fire may be continuing beyond that date. The MOD have justified this illegal dumping of radioactive waste into the sea as being ‘placements’. Attempts to retrieve the shells have failed. Their locations are unknown. MOD scientific reports declare that there is no hazard presented to human military or civil populations from this dumping, or from the misfires or contaminated materials on land.

The firings were a rehearsal and were hostile fire on a homeland, not only the infusion of nuclear waste into the wild sea. How can one understand the slow corrosion that remains? What does it mean for a place, a people, to cohere with the unseen objects of war? What is it to be a target? How do you make a life with, or disavow, the symptoms of the civil-military nuclear complex?

Outrage is a power. This arts project intends to transform those energies and make them work in other ways.

‘the sea cannot be depleted’ is not a continuation of the investigative journalism or activist research that brought this situation into the public domain. Instead, three fictional characters speak their thoughts, from both sides of the estuary. Too, this project sees the firings as episodes in the interlocked mesh of relations between the military, the nuclear industries, the arms corporations, capital, colonialism and political desires for international status. Uranium makes the situation timeless and without location. It casts a silence around the sea, and around the human place.

The project is funded by Future’s Venture Foundation.


Camille Marmié, Vincent Friell, Lisa Howard

Composer & Sound Designer

Pippa Murphy

Writer & Producer

Wallace Heim

The Coal Mine and The Crown


Letter published in the Westmorland Gazette,   also sent to Sir David Attenborough

LETTER: Sir David Attenborough could stop the Cumbrian coal mine


WHAT fantastic news that Sir David Attenborough is lending his voice to those opposing the coal mine under the Irish Sea off St Bees.

As a nuclear safety group concerned about the safety of Sellafield, we have been opposing this nearby coal mine from the outset.

Sellafield is recognised as the most hazardous place in Europe with stockpiles of the most dangerous radioactive wastes on the planet. This coal mine would extend to just 8km from these nuclear wastes, so there are big concerns.

The Sellafield area has been identified in a recent geological report as being at high risk of liquefaction (where the earth turns to mush). Liquefaction can result from earthquakes, and the only place in the UK to have had such an event is at Rampside near Barrow – it was a very small-magnitude earthquake.

This March, when I stood shaking at the planning meeting in Kendal and spoke opposing the coal mine, the councillors laughed. They laughed about Sellafield being at high risk of liquefaction (as described in a recent geological report); they laughed as the last liquefaction event near Barrow was in 1865, pre Trident: the blink of an eye in geological terms.

There are other considerations. The area at St Bees is the last breeding place in England of the black guillemot and the RSPB has voiced its opposition to the mine.

Former director of Friends of the Earth, Jonathon Porritt, pointed out very early on that: “As I understand it, the sole justification from a sustainability point of view is that the extracted coal will be coking coal, not thermal coal (for use in power stations), with some preposterous notion that this will apparently produce a lower carbon footprint than coking coal imported from other countries. Yet so far as I can tell, no detailed lifecycle analysis, both direct and indirect, has been done by West Cumbria Mining…”

The coal mine would also have to mine “middlings” coal, cynically described as a by-product in order to get to the coking coal.

It seems to us there are two very powerful things Sir David Attenborough is uniquely placed to do to stop this coal mine entirely in its tracks:

1. He could ask the Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP, to call Cumbria County Council’s flawed decision in for a public inquiry.

2. From our correspondence with Prince Charles’ office, we believe he is sympathetic to campaigners opposing the coal mine. A quiet word from Sir David to his friend Prince Charles may be all it takes to rip up the Crown’s existing and future planned agreements with West Cumbria Mining for the mineral exploitation of the coal under the seabed. Without these agreements between the developers and the Crown, the coal mine cannot proceed.

Those actions would make Sir David our true knight in shining armour and the black guillemots would not be the only ones celebrating!

Marianne Birkby

On behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign

Delivering the Petition to Call In the Crazy Coal Mine Plan to the Home Office


Outside the Home Office, Kevin  the West Cumbrian Mining Canary has that sinking feeling! 

Canary Home Office.png

Yesterday in the cold sunshine a couple of intrepid Cumbrians and a naked yellow ‘coal mine canary’ called Kevin made the journey to London.

We were delivering a petition signed by 1527 folk (now risen to 1582) who are asking the Secretary of State James Brokenshire MP to call in the outrageous decision for a new deep undersea coal mine.

We will keep the petition open to demonstrate the strength of feeling against this plan which so many people living nearby are opposed to.

On the same day that we were delivering the petition the Mayor of Copeland sent an extraordinary letter to the Secretary of State. In his letter the Mayor, Mike Starkie restates the view he expressed to Cumbria County Councillors.  The Mayor urges the Secretary of State to ignore the high level expert advice which has described the damage that this plan would do to our planet’s climate,  and to ignore the very real concerns of nuclear safety campaigners who fear this plan would increase the already intolerable and overwhelming radioactive risks from Sellafield to Cumbria and beyond.

West Cumbria Mining have spent £millions on promoting this plan with lobbyists wooing local MPs and government ministers many of whom have been lured by the entirely faux ‘environmental’ reassurances.

The Mayor of Copeland repeats the mantra that this plan has overwhelming support from ordinary West Cumbrians.  We would like to invite the Mayor of Copeland to take a walk with us, in the presence of a journalist to act as a witness, and to ask those we meet in the streets of Workington, Egremont, Whitehaven and Kells what their view is of West Cumbria Mining’s plan.



The Mayor of Copeland and WCM keep on repeating the mantra that this mine is wanted by local folk.  It is true that West Cumbria is desperately in need of jobs and investment. What West Cumbria is not in need of is yet another dead duck and expensive (in more ways than one) industry to suck the remaining life out it.

Here are some excerpts of what locals are saying…


This was the view of everyone we chatted to in Workington (except one)

What are folk saying who live even nearer the proposed mine?

This is an extract from a letter sent by local folk to Cumbria County Council (it may be available on the CCC website  – although our letters of objection from Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole are not on!!)

“Pow Beck has the railway and a couple of wind turbines but in the main it is a tranquil, fairly secluded and pretty place. In our opinion the Railway Loading Facility will affect our environment with emission, dust, noise and light, and detrimental to the ecology here. The facility will impact the peaceful enjoyment of our home, St. Bees village and Pow Beck wildlife.

The building is large and railway sidings extensive. The facility will be visually overbearing and no amount of tree planting or timber clad buildings will soften its appearance on the landscape. They have planned technically advanced building to keep the dust, noise and emissions to regulation levels, but the Loading Facility will still be a noisy, dusty and bright facility in our quiet, dark valley.

By its very nature mining is a messy business and we are not convinced by the marketing and bright coloured CGI animations used to demonstrate how this MODERN mine will operate. The animation makes it looks so clean but we have the opinion that is far from the facts. It does not show the shunting of wagons to the sidings, the plumes of dust as each wagon is loaded; We read somewhere 4 trains’ daily transporting coal to Redcar. These quieter modern trains can pull at least 21 large covered coal wagons, not the 7/8 shown on the CGI.

In our estimate that must be a train over 200m long. The CGI does not show those large trains trundling past homes through Mirehouse, Parton or Harrington to name a few. Pow Beck is going to be a very different place at all times of the day and night. We thought the United Nations and EU have in place regulations to reduce carbon emissions to meet climate targets, yet here we are in Cumbria giving consideration to digging out millions of tonnes of coal. We would have thought political policy would have put the kibosh on mining in this country, indeed in March of this year our government rejected an open cast mine in Northumberland saying the environmental impact outweighs economic benefits.

In Wales, only last month, they have reached the decisions no new mining unless under exceptional circumstances. WCM say 80% will be exported. We produce the coal and let someone else burn it. What a legacy, will we ever learn? Mining coal is a retrograde step, Apologies to all those miners past and present, We don’t wish to be ungrateful for their legacy, but we should not be thinking of building a new mine, burning coal is never going to be clean enough and that’s the facts.

Since 2014 WCM Ltd have marketed the mines with the creation of jobs for a lot of people over a very long time, benefits for the economy; an investment for West Cumbria. It is our belief that the environmental costs and environmental risk are too high a price for all that. The coal is not an asset anymore, the burning of fossil fuel is a liability that our children will be paying for. Therefore, we ask that Cumbria County Council refuse this planning application and keep Copeland coal, and other pollutants locked beneath the sandstone out of harm’s way.”

That last line from folk living near this proposal is worth repeating

..”we ask that Cumbria County Council refuse this planning application and keep Copeland coal, and other pollutants locked beneath the sandstone out of harm’s way.”

These are the locals that the Mayor Mike Starkie wants the Secretary of State to ignore – having sucessfully urged the County Council to ignore them!    Is this what a Mayor is for?


Demo Tomorrow Kendal County Offices 8.45 to 10 am: Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole.jpg

Please join us tomorrow outside Cumbria County Council Offices in Kendal (Busher Walk).

We will gather at 8.45 to greet the Development Control and Regulation Committee who will be taking a decision on whether or not to allow the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years.  Bring Banners, Music, Bring Yourselves to show OPPOSITION to this beyond crazy plan.

Speakers in opposition to this plan include Dr Laurie Michaelis who has been a lead author for several reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and provided analysis and policy advice for the UK government, European Commission, OECD environment ministers and the UN climate negotiators.

He  will introduce his detailed presentation to the committee by saying  “Speaking to you feels like possibly the single most important thing I’ll do in my life. I know climate change mostly feels abstract and distant, but it is real and it is already wrecking the lives of real people. Your decision not to go ahead could save thousands of lives and help build effective action to prevent catastrophic climate change.”

Just this evening we have recieved a letter from Tim Farron MP saying “I am pleased to confirm that I have written to the Chief Executive of the Office for Nuclear Regulation to ask them to reconsider this decision not to provide detailed feedback, especially given recent concerns raised by bodies, such (published by) as the Yorkshire Geological Society which outlines the high risk of liquefaction at the Sellafield and Moorside sites.”

Tim Farron - Written to ONR.jpg

We only have five minutes each to speak – below is my presentation on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole.  You can still sign the petition here .


PRESENTATION FOR DC&R Committee 19:3.19

I am Marianne Birkby speaking on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole.  This is a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign set up following the proposal by WCM People have asked why would a nuclear safety group be campaigning against coal.

The answer to that can be seen in our petition which I present to you today.  

The petition headline says:  Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole – it is too close to Sellafield.  (1,154 signatures) 

West Cumbria Mining say our petition objections have been answered.  Not true.  Our objections stand and are escalating the more we find out about the plan. 

Others will speak forcibly today of the terrible climate impacts. I would like to concentrate on seismic  and water impacts.


At 8km from Sellafield the extent of the mine lies 600 metres from the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s legal remit to consult. The ONR say therefore that they do not need to be consulted by CCC.

For the ONR to completely wash its hands of any real scrutiny regarding this unprecedented deep mining so close to Sellafield’s 140 tons of plutonium is scandalous.  The Precautionary Principle is enshrined in UK laws that CCC are bound by and we would urge Councillors to ask the ONR for full consultation and scrutiny before making a decision.  That scrutiny should include a recent paper published last September by the Yorkshire Geological Society. The paper outlines the high risk of liquefaction at the Sellafield and Moorside sites. (1)

Barrow is the only place in the UK ever to have experienced liquefaction from a much smaller seismic event than that outlined in the recent paper.

A liquefaction event at Sellafield caused by coal mining induced earth movements would be disastrous not just for Cumbria but for Europe too.  The Precautionary Principle in this instance must be applied.


Coal, like nuclear is a water intensive industry, leaving long lasting carcinogenic products .  For every ton of coal, two and a half tons of water are required to wash that coal.  West Cumbria Mining propose to ‘recycle’ the water pumped from the voids and ‘surface’ water, this involves a series of lagoons to allow  toxic products to settle.  WCM’s proposal is to only use mains water the offices.  This is not credible. I have asked for scrutiny on fresh water usage but have not recieved any answers.  My calculations from WCM’s coal production figures is that the the mine would need to use 3 million litres of water a day to wash the coal before transportation.

West Cumbria’s fresh water situation is already stressed with many people in the Copeland area  suffering health impacts from having to drink a mix of 80/20 borehole

water.   Borehole water can be very good but not from a complex geologically faulted area which has been heavily mined in the past.  

To impose another water intensive, dirty and geologically damaging industry on West Cumbria is an attack on the most basic of human rights, the right to fresh water.


Tim Farron has written to the ONR asking that they reconsider the decision not to provide detailed feedback given the recent concerns raised over risk of liquefaction at Sellafield and Moorside. 

Reply to CCC from the ONR: 

“ONR ask to be consulted on developments within the off-site emergency planning area around the Sellafield site, which extends approximately 6.1 – 7.4 km from the site centrepoint.  We would not expect Cumbria County Council to consult us regarding developments outside this zone..”

The susceptibility of glacigenic deposits to liquefaction under seismic loading conditions: case study relating to nuclear site characterization in West Cumbria Authors: Martin Cross1*, Anass Attya2 & David J. A. Evans3   “The results of the assessments indicated a potential high risk for liquefaction for both horizontal ground acceleration events. Due to the variation of the ground and groundwater conditions across the sequence investigated, differences in excess pore-water pressure dissipation can be expected. In such circumstances large differential settlement and ground deformation are highly probable during a seismic event of magnitude (M)=6.0.”  Published by the Yorkshire Geological Society, September 2018

The Barrow-in-Furness Earthquake of 15 February 1865: Liquefaction from a Very Small Magnitude Event

  • R. M. W. Musson

“High intensity and liquefaction phenomena are usually associated only with relatively large magnitude earthquakes. An earthquake in 1865 in the northwest of England suggests that a sufficiently shallow small event can also produce liquefaction. The effects are well-documented in historical sources and include sand fountaining. Modern investigation is confined to documentary evidence owing to the tidal environment of the area where liquefaction occurred. Analysis shows that the felt area of the earthquake was probably only about 200 km2; however, heavy damage occurred in the village of Rampside and the maximum intensity is assessed at 8. Liquefaction is not uncommon at this intensity, but such a high intensity is not usually produced by such small erathquakes. The magnitude was probably in the range 2.5–3.5 M L .”

Assessing Water Issues in China’s Coal Industry by Hope Inman Advanced Science News:  April 30th 2014; “On average, for one tonne of prepared coal 2.5 tonnes  of water  is used”

Tweet the Queen: Tis She Who Holds the Key to the Irish Sea’s Coal

battle black blur board game
Photo by Pixabay on

We do have bad news that Cumbria County Council’s officers have recommended approval of the first deep coal mine in 30 years (there are conditions but even so).

I will be speaking at the meeting on 19th March in Kendal on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole to oppose this diabolic plan and hope that folk with join us in demonstrating opposition.

We will meet outside Cumbria County Council Offices in Kendal (where folk can also get married)  from 8.45 to visibly show our opposition to this crazy plan.   There is a facebook group for the demo here

You can write and show opposition too up till the date of the meeting.

One way to do this is to send a tweet to the Monarch who has entered into an arrangement with the Developers, West Cumbria Mining.

My tweet:

Please scrap the arrangement with West Cumbria Mining for the first deep coal mine in 30 years. The Crown own the subsea mineral rights and have the authority and wherewithal to prevent this rape of the Irish Sea 8km from Sellafield. Thanks!!

Please send your own tweet (best keep it polite) to the Monarch

There is more info about the totally dodgy arrangement between the Monarchy and West Cumbria Mining here

Also Thank you so much if you have signed the petition Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole (its too near Sellafield!), can you please help spread the word by forwarding the link below to your friends?  This petition and this terrible plan has recieved so very little scrutiny from the mainstream!