NEW CALL IN REQUEST FROM KEEP CUMBRIAN COAL IN THE HOLE TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE.

Cumbrian Mud Patch
Campaign group, Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole has sent in a Call In request to the Secretary of State Robert Jenrick MP.
The World Wide Fund for Nature have already sent in a call in request to the Secretary of State.  KCCH say they agree with the points WWF make but have advised the Secretary of State of ” further overwhelming reasons for this development to be called in”
These reasons include:
1. West Cumbria Mining are asking for conditions to be relaxed in order to facilitate the addition of lower quality middlings coal to the development
( previously middlings coal was to be a “by product” of this “premium” coal mine ).
2. West Cumbria Mining propose mitigating against subsidence by backfilling 25% of the mined area  with cement paste ( the below land area and also close to the Marine Conservation Zone).  However 75% of the proposed void which includes the area beneath the Cumbrian Mud Patch would not be backfilled.  There is potential for marine radiological pollution as a result of the subsidence induced re-suspension of the heavily radioactively contaminated sea bed sediments of the Cumbrian Mud Patch and surrounding sea bed areas.
3.  The Sellafield and Moorside site are at “high risk” of liquefaction (as outlined in a 2018  report by Geologists https://pygs.lyellcollection.org/content/62/2/116/tab-figures-data )  -this would be exacerbated by coal mine induced seismic impacts.
From KCCH’s Call In letter..

The original selling point of this mine was that it would produce “premium quality” coking coal for steel manufacture.   West Cumbria Mining in attempting to address the challenge from Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole regarding “middlings coal” as a “by-product” have made this proposed development even more absurd by adding a new onsite process to render the extracted thermal/middlings coal into coking coal.

The relaxing of conditions necessary to facilitate this inclusion of lower grade coal are applied for in this new amended application and detailed in West Cumbria Mining’s Planning Statement R20 – page 51.

STEEL MANUFACTURE?

Condition 3 – This condition relates to the coal being for use in steel manufacture only.  As this stands it appears that the developers are asking that this condition be removed to refer to authorisation of the “extraction of Metallurgical Coal” – rather than specifying the end use.

QUALITY – ASH AND SULPHUR CONTENT

Condition 76 – This condition relates to the quality of the end product. The quality of the product is to be further reduced from the already generous allowance of 8% Ash content and 1.2% Sulphur content to 9% Ash content and 2% Sulphur content.

AND

A new paper has been written on the radiological impacts of the coal mine.   Tim Deere-Jones is an Independent & non-aligned Marine Pollution Researcher & Consultant whose clients include: WWF, The UK Wildlife Trusts, European Climate Foundation, Greenpeace International, European Coastal Local Authorities and many others.

This comprehensive report concludes that the plan by West Cumbria Mining should be abandoned.

It is concluded that there is a real potential for subsidence to occur as a result of the “mass removal” and the creation of extensive sub-sea void spaces, and it is noted that such subsidence could generate earthquake and liquefaction effects which may extend onshore as far as the Sellafield/Moorside sites.
Full Letter can be read below

Rt Hon. Robert Jenrick MP

Secretary of State

Department for Communities and Local Government 2 Marsham Street

London

SW1P 4DF

 

1st July, 2020

Dear Secretary of State,

 

APPLICATION REFERENCE NUMBER 4/17/9007 – WEST CUMBRIA MINING

Dear Secretary of State,

You may remember that on 29th October 2019 Tim Farron MP delivered a petition to you in Parliament on behalf of 1,852 people asking that the Secretary of State call in the application by West Cumbria Mining for the first new deep coal mine in decades which was approved by Cumbria County Council in March 2019 and ratified on 19th October 2019.

Now, the Developers have applied for amendments to that original planning application.The Council (whose decision was to be challenged through Judicial Review) are not relying on their original twice approved planning decision but will look at

the amendments as a new application.

We are writing to support the World Wildlife Fund for Nature’s call in of the amended planning application. We agree with the points they make but would like to add further overwhelming reasons for this development to be called in for your consideration.

Previous letters and the petition to you are included for your consideration alongside the new evidence below.

WCM ASK CUMBRIA COUNTY COUNCIL FOR RELAXATION OF CONDITIONS

The original selling point of this mine was that it would produce “premium quality” coking coal for steel manufacture. West Cumbria Mining in attempting to address the challenge from Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole regarding “middlings coal” as a “by-product” have made this proposed development even more absurd by adding a new onsite process to render the extracted thermal/middlings coal into coking coal.

The relaxing of conditions necessary to facilitate this inclusion of lower grade coal are applied for in this new amended application and detailed in West Cumbria Mining’s Planning Statement R20 – page 51.

STEEL MANUFACTURE?

Condition 3 – This condition relates to the coal being for use in steel manufacture only.As this stands it appears that the developers are asking that this condition be removed to refer to authorisation of the “extraction of Metallurgical Coal” – rather than specifying the end use.

QUALITY – ASH AND SULPHUR CONTENT

Condition 76 – This condition relates to the quality of the end product. The quality of the product is to be further reduced from the already generous allowance of 8% Ash content and 1.2% Sulphur content to 9% Ash content and 2% Sulphur content.

This is NOT by industry standard a premium metallurgical coal product. By contrast the Global Platts Metallurgical Specifications 2020 guide for Australian Premium Coking Coal is Sulphur no more than 0.05% while Hard Coking Coal is no more than 0.06% Sulphur content. Which makes the Woodhouse product look positively shoddy. No wonder the developers appear to want the condition erased that the end use should be for steel manufacture only.

3 – The permission hereby granted authorises the Winning and Working of Metallurgical Coal for use in steel manufacture only.
Reason: This permission authorises the development for the extraction of Metallurgical Coal. For the avoidance of doubt, Middlings Coal is also produced as a by-product during the processing of Metallurgical Coal.
Reason: This permission authorises the development for the extraction of Metallurgical Coal. The reason needs to be amended because middlings coal will no longer be produced.
76 – Metallurgical Coal (definition)
Coal with particular physical and chemical characteristics that makes it suitable for use in the production of steel and separated from industrial/ Middlings Coal and reject material during processing at the Coal Handling and Processing Plant. For the avoidance of doubt ‘Metallurgical Coal’ shall be defined as having a maximum ash content of 8% and a maximum sulphur content of 1.25%.
Metallurgical Coal (definition)
Coal with particular physical and chemical characteristics that makes it suitable for use
in the production of steel and separated
from reject material during processing at the Coal Handling and Processing Plant. For the avoidance of doubt ‘Metallurgical Coal’ shall be defined as having a maximum ash content of 9% a maximum sulphur content of 2%.
The original maxima as stated do not reflect the product which will be produced by Woodhouse Colliery

Page 51 – WCM Planning Statement R20

CLOSE PROXIMITY TO SELLAFIELD AND THE CUMBRIAN MUD PATCH

Cumbrian Mud Patch

Image and Text from : RADIOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS of POTENTIAL SEABED SUBSIDENCE SEISMICITY & “FAULT RE-ACTIVATION” beneath The CUMBRIAN MUD PATCH: INDUCED BY “MASS REMOVAL”, RAPID EXTRACTION & VOID SPACE CREATION – Briefing Paper by Tim Deere Jones for Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

A new paper has been written on the radiological impacts of the coal mine. Tim Deere-Jones is an Independent & non-aligned Marine Pollution Researcher & Consultant whose clients include: WWF, The UK Wildlife Trusts, European Climate Foundation, Greenpeace International, European Coastal Local Authorities and many others.

This comprehensive report concludes that the plan by West Cumbria Mining should be abandoned.  The introduction and Major Conclusions are reproduced below…..

Introduction:This Briefing offers a review of the possible seabed morphological changes and marine pollution implications of the sub-sea coal mining venture proposed by West Cumbria Mining (WCM) at their Woodhouse Colliery site near St Bees Head.

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 a 50 year period. This extraction rate will eventually generate a huge subterranean void space of approximately 136 million cubic metres (a volume greater than that of Wastwater Lake).

This briefing considers the impact of the creation of such a sub-sea void space on the possibility of sea bed subsidence in the area of the WCM designated sub-sea mining zone, and the subsequent potential for marine radiological pollution as a result of the subsidence induced re-suspension of the heavily radioactively contaminated sea bed sediments of the Cumbrian Mud Patch and surrounding sea bed areas.

Major Conclusions

It is noted that there is a lack of data about the status of the existing historical galleries and workings of the West Cumbrian Coalfield. It is noted that there is a lack of accurate data about the history and status of any subsidence seismicity in the coalfield.It is noted that the BGS have concluded that the coalfield is heavily faulted and has a long history of subsidence and that it appears that there are no plans to monitor for any subsidence prior to, during the operational phase or in the post operational phase of the Woodhouse Colliery.It is noted that sub-sea monitoring equipment is available and could be deployed in the region in order to monitor for any subsidence effects arising as a result of the proposed Woodhouse Colliery “mass removal” extraction.

It is concluded that there is a real potential for subsidence to occur as a result of the “mass removal” and the creation of extensive sub-sea void spaces, and it is noted that such subsidence could generate earthquake and liquefaction effects which may extend onshore as far as the Sellafield/Moorside sites.

It is concluded that any seabed subsidence in the WCM designated sub-sea mining zone would generate re-suspension of Cumbrian Mud Patch heavily radioactive seabed sediments. It is noted that such an event would generate elevated doses of man-made radioactivity to coastal zone populations and sea users along both the Cumbrian coast and at “downstream” regions further afield.

Given the potential for such a radiological effect and the delivery of increased doses of radioactivity to relevant coastal zone communities, some of which have already been identified by the authorities as Coastal Critical Groups, the Woodhouse Colliery proposal (especially in the absence of any precautionary mandatory subsidence monitoring) is strongly contra-indicated and should be abandoned.”

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole have been raising awareness about the climate and radiological impacts of this proposed development since 2017. If not now – when will this plan be deemed too dangerous to continue with? Please call in this amended planning application for this deep coal mine development which if allowed to continue on its disastrous trajectory will impact locally, nationally and internationally.

Tomorrow is too late.

Yours sincerely,

Marianne Birkby

on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole.(a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign)

WWF ASKS FOR ‘CALL IN’ – GREAT NEWS!

Sellafield from St Bees
Sellafield – spitting distance from the proposed coal mine off St Bees  Head  (where the sheep are)

 

The World Wide Fund for Nature has asked for a “call in” of the planning decision due to be taken by Cumbria County Council.

This is Great News!

We shall also continue our  lobbying of the Secretary of State to intervene and stop  the plan for the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades.

The full “call in” letter from WWF can be read below.  It is very good but there is no reference at all to the close proximity of Sellafield, a burning but neglected issue which we at Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole will continue to flag up.

Rt Hon. Robert Jenrick MP
Secretary of State
Department for Communities and Local Government 2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

Dear Secretary of State,

19th June, 2020

APPLICATION REFERENCE NUMBER 4/17/9007 – WEST CUMBRIA MINING

WWF-UK wrote to you in July 2019 to ask you to call in the previous application madeby West Cumbria Mining, which was approved by Cumbria County Council’sDevelopment Control and Regulation Committee; you declined to do so. The county council decided to grant planning permission and local campaigners commenced judicial review proceedings.

Following the grant of permission to proceed with the challenge, the developer filed an amended planning application to develop the coal mine. However, we consider the case for you to call in this application is strong, particularly in light of events occurring since we wrote to you last summer, and some of the information submitted by the developer in support of the amended application.

Caborn criteria
We consider that at least two of the Caborn criteria for call-in are met in this case. The first is that the proposal conflicts with national policy on important matters – in particular policy on mitigating climate change, the presumption against coal extraction in para. 211 of the National Planning Policy Framework, and duties to reduce CO2emissions under the Climate Change Act 2008 and under international law by the Paris Agreement. As we set out in our correspondence of last year, the development is in breach of policy adding to the global coal stock, assumes a long-term reliance on coking coal that is contrary to the trajectory indicated by UK and EU climate policy and legislation (informed by the Paris Agreement) and seeks to put in place new, long-term and environmentally invasive infrastructure.

Second, and again as per our letter last year, the proposal gives rise to national controversy; our previous letter provides evidence of this. Since our last letter, the application has been subject to judicial review proceedings and a wide cross section of groups have spoken out against it, including local campaigners, national NGOs (e.g.

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Green Alliance, WWF) and independent academics (e.g. Professor Ekin).

You will be aware that the application by Banks Mining for an open-cast coal mine at Highthorn, Northumbria was called in and remains undetermined. So far as administrative law imposes a duty to treat like cases alike, WWF suggests you must give careful consideration to treating Woodhouse Colliery in like manner, calling it in.

Detail
We see nothing in the revised planning application that negates our original three grounds for objecting to the proposed project (set out in more detail in our letter to you of 15th July, 2019). These are set out (in summary) below together with a number of new points in response to the amended application.

  • That government is committed to a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050, under the Climate Change Act 2008 – a decision that theCommittee on Climate Change is clear “must be embedded and integratedacross all departments, at all levels of government, and in all major decisionsthat impact on emissions.” The iron and steel industries – the customers for coking coal produced from this proposed mine – are no exception to this.
  • The declining need for coal production of this nature over the short-term and over the 50-year proposed lifespan of the project, and the impact on greenhouse gas emissions of extracting it – in short, whether the benefits from the project outweigh its likely environmental impacts. The previous caseconcluded that industry’s need for metallurgical coal outweighed theenvironmental impacts, but with no sound evidence that coal from this proposed colliery would replace, rather than supplement, existing supplies, whether in the UK or in other markets.
  • The impact on the rights of children and future generations. A mine would generate significant carbon emissions over the course of the next 50 years and for at least 20 years after the UK is required to meet its net zero greenhouse gas emissions target in 2050. The consequences of those emissions (eg: in terms of their contribution to global heating) and the responsibility to offset them to meet the new 2050 target will fall disproportionately on the young, impacting on their human rights – including Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights in a manner which we believe cannot be justified at a time of climate crisis. The mine is also liable to generate significant air quality impacts and it is well established that air pollution disproportionately affects the young because their lungs are still developing1. As set out previously, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child applies here (because the ECHR is in play) and requires decision makers to ensure that the best interests of children are a primary consideration and that the impacts of the decision on children are assessed and taken into account. There is no evidence that such an assessment has been undertaken in relation to the amended application, hence the flaw identified previously remains.New grounds

• Global footprint – the developer has failed to assess the carbon impacts of

use of the coal in steel foundries overseas. WWF considers that the exported

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emissions (must be assessed pursuant to the council’s duty to take account ofthe Paris Agreement following important new case law (Friends of the Earth v Secretary of State for Transport). Paris provides a temperature limit which is the shared responsibility of states to achieve. It is therefore unsustainable not to take into account the emissions arising abroad as a result of activities within the UK when the duty to achieve the temperature limits in the Paris Agreement are imposed collectively on all states. Further, WWF argues that thedeveloper’s approach either fails to comply with the EIA Directive or fails to enable the planning authority to take account of material consideration by failing to assess the likely scale of the impact of burning the coal abroad.

• High carbon development – the developer has wrongly categorised thedevelopment as “low carbon” because it has failed to assess the exported emissions as aforesaid. No consideration has been given to the likelihood that coal which may be edged out of use in European steel works by coal produced from the development would be burnt regardless leading to an overall increase in global greenhouse gas emissions. This fact flows both from the laxity of current commitments made by states under the Paris Agreement by way of Nationally Determined Contributions to date2 and the failure of many states (including the UK) to prohibit exported emissions in domestic legislation. Nor can the section 106 agreement proposed by the developer (to assess every 5 years whether the development continues to comply with carbon budgets) remedy the problem because carbon budgets do not build in exported emissions either. Far from being low carbon, the development is arguably high carbon, will add significantly to the emission of greenhouse gases (understood in a broader sense) and therefore conflicts with NPPF para 211. It must be called in.

• Net Zero – the net zero target was adopted before the original planning application was resolved to be granted by the County council. However, there is a suggestion in the amended planning application that this is not for the planning authority to take account of (because the duty in the Climate Change Act fastens on the Secretary of State). WWF is confident that the Secretary of State does not take such a view and he agrees with us that the target is a material consideration for the purposes of section 70 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. . However, to ensure the planning authority does not fall into error, WWF considers the safest route would be for the Secretary of State to call in.

  • Carbon plan – no consideration has been given to the fact that government has yet to adopt a carbon plan which sets out how the net-zero target will be met –nor has it yet explained how it will bring itself into compliance with carbon budgets from the mid-2020s onwards. By granting planning permission at this point for such a long-term, high carbon development, the council risks locking in high carbon infrastructure for many decades to come thereby pre-emptingimportant decisions about the UK’s pathway to net-zero which are pre- eminently for ministers to take. A decision to grant would be premature at this stage.
  • Equality – the council is subject to a duty in domestic law to have regard to the need to advance equality of opportunity as between people who have protected characteristics and those who do not (section 149 Equality Act 2010). As set

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out above, the development will impact disproportionately on the young yet no Public Sector Equality Duty assessment appears to have been undertaken. Should the failure continue, it leaves the application vulnerable to challenge.

We cannot decarbonise our economy at the speed and depth required to avert catastrophic impacts of climate change by substituting one source of fossil fuels for another.

WWF-UK has modelled an emissions reduction scenario for the UK to 2045 and to 2050 in a report with Vivid Economics, entitled Keeping It Cool3. This demonstrates the degree of decarbonisation needed in each sector, as well as the overall pathway. This makes clear that we will not need metallurgical coal for the next 45-50 years that this mine will be producing it. We do not need a new source of metallurgical coal in the short-term and it is spurious to argue that the emissions from this coal will be slightly lower than existing sources, when to achieve this would (a) add to the existing stock of metallurgical coal in the marketplace overall, (b) do so for far longer than any country can be relying on fossil fuels, and (c) do so in a way that generates new emissions from the construction, running and transport out of the country of the coal produced at the mine. It is clear that the need case in respect of the application is simply not made out.

Keeping global warming to 1.5°C requires that we stop using coal, as soon as possible, both for power generation and industry. Modelling by a group of 20 researchers indicates that keeping to 1.5°C without geoengineering requires the virtually complete elimination of fossil fuel emissions and fossil fuel infrastructure by 2050 and that global coal production must decline by 5886 million tonnes a year in 2015 to only 407 tonnes in 2050 – a reduction of around 93%4.

Given this and given the UK’s avowed global leadership on climate change – not least as holders next year of the presidency of the crucial UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) 26 – allowing new coal production on its own shores would be perverse. Not only does it send a particularly unwelcome signal to the wider world about its commitment to climate action, but it adds to the already daunting scale of decarbonisation that would be required in other sectors in order to make net-zero possible by 2050.

Additionally, it continues to pile the costs of delayed climate action, and of climate impacts, onto children and future generations.

This is most definitely a consideration for national government (owners of the legally- binding target for net-zero by 2050), for local government (who cannot simply abrogate their responsibility for additional emissions from projects such as these on the basis that they are but one small contributor), and for local people (who will bear the costs of growing climate impacts).

3 https://www.wwf.org.uk/sites/default/files/2018-11/NetZeroReportART.pdf
4 Teske S. Ed. “Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement Goals, Global and Regional 100% Renewable energy scenarios with Non-energy GHG pathways for +1.5C and +2C” https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978- 3-030-05843-2

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We object to this proposal and we believe that you should call it in. Yours,

GARETH REDMOND-KING Head of Climate Change

 

Tim Farron MP presents Cumbria Coal Mine Petition in the House of Commons

Keep-400x301-1

Many thanks to our MP Tim Farron for presenting our petition yesterday in the House of Commons to the Secretary of State. Since presenting the petition the signatures have gone up..and continue to go up calling on the Secretary of State to call in the dodgy decision made by Cumbria County Council.

Tomorrow – Don’t Forget the Demo outside County Offices Kendal from 8.30am to 10am to Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole 

Photo of Tim FarronTim FarronLiberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (North of England) (Northern Powerhouse) 8:38 pm, 29th October 2019

I present a petition on behalf of 1,852 residents of Cumbria who oppose the proposed West Cumbrian coal mine, believing, as I do, that in the fight to prevent climate catastrophe, it is vital that we keep fossil fuels in the ground. The petitioners request that the Secretary of State call in the application for his own determination at the earliest opportunity and that he rule against the opening of the mine.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The petition of people of the United Kingdom,

Declares that a local petition has been collected against the proposed west Cumbria coal mine which should not be opened on account of the impact on the climate.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to call this application in for its own determination at the earliest opportunity and that it rules against the opening of the mine.

And the petitioners remain, etc.]

 

 

Call in Request to the Secretary of State by Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

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CEO of West Cumbria Mining , Mark Kirkbride (who interestingly also happens to be an expert in ‘geological disposal’ ) going into the Council Meeting past Protestors

Here is our letter to the Secretary of State.  Anyone can write requesting that the decision be called in and the more individuals and  groups that do this the better.

If you don’t have time to write a letter then there is a petition here 

(some folk may have already signed it – it has been updated – but the more shares the better!)

LETTER TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE

james.brokenshire@communities.gsi.gov.uk

The Rt Hon James Brockenshire MP,
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, Ministry of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, 2 Marsham Street,
London SW1P 4DF.

3rd April 2019 

Dear Secretary of State, 

Re: Application Reference No. 4/17/9007 – Former Marchon Site, Pow Beck Valley and area from Marchon Site to St Bees Coast, Whitehaven, Cumbria 

I write on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, a campaign by Radiation Free Lakeland to ask that the Secretary of State calls in the above decision. 

We are a civil society group that aims to remove the risk of environmental damage both nationally and internationally that may arise from the presence of an extensive nuclear industry close to the Lake District National Park, a World Heritage Site. 

On 19th March Cumbria County Council (CCC) granted conditional planning permission for a resumption of the long abandoned onshore coal mining at St Bees to West Cumbria Mining Limited (WCM). 

The applicant has confirmed that their onshore proposal is commercially dependent upon the extraction of coal from under the adjacent coastal waters of the Irish Sea for which they would need agreement from the Marine Management Organisation. 

Our concerns primarily relate to potential cross boundary radiation impacts resulting from damage to Sellafield as a result of aggressive deep mining activity in methane rich coal beds and freshwater extraction to wash the coal (from a geological fault). We are, however, also concerned about wider environmental impacts arising from the mine, including climate change. 

We support the call in by Tim Farron MP, and we refer you to the climate scientists and experts (Dr Laurie Michaelis, Dr Henry Adams and others) who have outlined the cross boundary climate impacts that would result from this mine (impacts as outlined by the Climate Change Act 2008). 

We request the Secretary of State calls this application in for his own determination on the basis that the proposal fulfils the following (Caborn) criteria for call-in: 

1. The proposal conflicts with national policies on important matters 

We refer to paragraphs 205, 211, 7 and of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2019. 

NPPF Paragraph 205 states: “When determining planning applications, great weight should be given to the benefits of mineral extraction, including to the economy” except in relation to the extraction of coal, in which case reference is made to paragraph 211. 

Paragraph 211 states: “Planning permission should not be granted for the extraction of coal unless: 

a) the proposal is environmentally acceptable, or can be made so by planning conditions or obligations; or 

b) if it is not environmentally acceptable, then it provides national, local or community benefits which clearly outweigh its likely impacts (taking all relevant matters into account, including any residual environmental impacts).” 

It is our view that the proposal cannot be made acceptable by planning conditions or obligations and that any national, local or community benefits do not outweigh the likely impacts. 

We also refer the Secretary of State to key paragraphs of the NPPF concerning sustainable development (as set out in paragraphs 7-14). 

We also refer to a paper published by the Interdepartmental Liaison Group on Risk Assessment (ILGRA), in 2002 entitled The Precautionary Principle: Policy and Application. This paper highlighted a number of important points including noting that the precautionary approach should be invoked when: “there is good reason to believe that harmful effects may occur to human, animal or plant health, or to the environment; and the level of scientific uncertainty about the consequences or likelihood of the risk is such that best available scientific advice cannot assess the risk with sufficient confidence to inform decision-making”. 

The proposal potentially conflicts with paras of the NPPF concerned with “Meeting the challenge of climate change, flooding and coastal change” (see pages 44-45). 

2. The proposal could have significant effects beyond their immediate locality; give rise to substantial cross-boundary or national controversy. We draw your attention to the close 8km proximity of this coal mine to Sellafield’s uniquely dangerous storage of high level wastes and highly active liquors (see Consequences in Norway of a hypothetical accident at Sellafield: Potential release – transport and fallout Strålevern Rapport 2009:7. Østerås: Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority) 

Cross boundary impacts: For example, there is no guarantee that subsidence will not occur following mining and backfill of the voids with a cement mix. If subsidence does occur, there is a significant risk that highly carcinogenic and dangerous radioactive and chemical sediment and silt will be re-suspended from the Irish Sea bed and mobilised with the tides not only to Cumbrian beaches but also to European beaches (and beyond). Similarly, mining and freshwater abstraction from faults is known to increase seismic activity. It is significant that the only area of the UK ever to experience a liquefaction event from a minor seismic event is a small village not far from Sellafield in the 1800s. A recent paper published by the Yorkshire Geological Society (The susceptibility of glacigenic deposits to liquefaction under seismic loading conditions: a case study relating to nuclear site characterization in West Cumbria by Martin Cross, Anass Attya and David J. A. Evans Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society,18 September 2018) found that Sellafield and its surrounds are at “high risk” of liquefaction. 

If a liquefaction event happened at Sellafield as a result of mining the consequences would be catastrophic, not just for Cumbria but for the rest of Europe. Given the catastrophic radiological impacts that a seismic event at Sellafield induced by nearby coal mining could have on other EU countries this proposal is potentially subject to Article 37 of the Euratom Treaty. Article 37 requires Member States to provide the Commission with general data so that they may give an opinion on whether the proposal is likely to have an impact on other Member States. Post Brexit we hope that this protection afforded to other European Countries is honoured. 

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole has a following of approximately 1500 supporters including academics and scientists. We have been campaigning to raise awareness about this development since 2015. In 2016 Radiation Free Lakeland received a personal letter of thanks for our ongoing civil society work in nuclear safety from Austria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management who are equally concerned at the danger Sellafield poses to Europe even without deep coal mining under the Irish Sea. 

Finally, we would also highlight that there remains a significant question about the extent of the climate change impacts arising from this scheme (even if coal used in steel production, there will be CO2 emitted). In this respect, we note the purpose of the power under s.77 Town and Country Planning Act 1990 is to give the Secretary of State the power to call in planning applications where he considers that this is “necessary or desirable in the national interest” (R. (on the application of Adlard) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions [2002] 1 WLR 2515). We would submit this is clearly one such case.

In light of the above, we urge the Secretary of State to call this application in for his own determination at the earliest opportunity. 

Yours sincerely,
Marianne Birkby
On behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole A Radiation Free Lakeland campaign

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-cumbrian-coal-in-the-hole-its-too-near- sellafield