CLICK ON THE COMMENTS ICON ABOVE TO VOTE NO..If you are on social media there is an opportunity to Vote No to the coal mine – the Whitehaven News has a poll which is so far being populated by pro-mine votes – come on lets show resistance to this diabolic plan which is far more dangerous than the sum of the climate/steel/jobs arguments being promoted.
Q. When is a Coal Mine More Dangerous than the Sum of its Parts??
A. When the Coal Mine Boss is “invaluable” to the UK Government’s Nuclear Dump Plans
We have called upon Tim Farron MP to ask that Government scrap the farcical Public Inquiry and puts an immediate Block on the Secretive WCM Coal Authority Licences.
As the only MP in the County strongly opposing the coal mine you will no doubt share Radiation Free Lakeland’s delight that the County Council has withdrawn its support for the mine and will not now provide any witnesses or evidence to the public inquiry (scheduled for September).
As nuclear safety campaigners we have long held the belief that we had far more likelihood of persuading the Council to overturn their approval than government who have such vested interests in West Cumbria Mining’s expertise with regards the Critical National Infrastructure project of deep ‘disposal’ of heat generating nuclear wastes.
We now know the public inquiry is a farce. A farce because the County Council’s decision to approve the mine no longer exists. A farce because government have appointed the existing coal mine CEO and former Head of Operations to the Delivery of Geological Disposal of Heat Generating Nuclear Wastes with the Irish Sea area adjacent to the coal mine being in the frame. A farce because the government could stop its virtue signalling and actually scrap the coal mine tomorrow by blocking the developer’s application for new Coal Authority licences. New secretive licences which the public are being refused sight of and have no idea what they contain.
It is now more clear than ever that the enormous expense of a public inquiry could be spared. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng MP could put his ‘coal mine should be blocked’ words into action and put the kaibosh on renewal of the developer’s licence to drill. The letter below asking for an immediate block on the licence to drill has been signed by organisations as diverse as the Ethical Consumer Research Association, CND and the Sea Horse Trust. Leading academics have also signed along with Whitehaven locals who are concerned amongst other things about the enormous ground water withdrawal that this mine would abstract from a named geological fault. Our letter recieved no media attention (in contrast to blanket coverage of the letter from organisations focussing narrowly on climate), this disparity is we believe because our letter “outs” the Government’s vested interests in West Cumbria Mining and exposes the scandalous recklessness and cronyism regarding nuclear safety. Asking the public to pay for an expensive inquiry into a coal mine whose CEO is employed by Government as a nuclear waste advisor, a coal mine which is guaranteed to flout climate and nuclear safety and would end up being a stranded asset (ready to morph into an entirely different asset?) at a time of austerity is scandalous. The mine could be stopped today.
The public inquiry is a farce and should be halted with the immediate blocking of Coal Authority licences for West Cumbria Mining. If this does not happen Government should come clean on its vested nuclear waste interests regarding West Cumbria Mining’s expertise.
Correspondence below with BEIS indicates deliberate obfuscation by Government over their role in protecting WCM interests at the expense of any social licence for the development or public scrutiny. Thank you for your continued opposition to the coal mine which is far more dangerous than the sum of its parts.
We would like to ask that Government now scraps the farcical Public Inquiry and puts an immediate Block on the Secret WCM Coal Authority Licences. Any help you can give us in achieving this “Big Ask” would be so very much appreciated.
Marianne Birkby on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland
To the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng Secretary of State for BEIS
BLOCK THE CUMBRIA COAL MINE’S LICENCE TO DRILL
I am writing to you again on behalf of nuclear safety group Radiation Free Lakeland. We were the first to call out the proposed coal mine development in Cumbria and remain unequivocally opposed to the plan on both climate and nuclear safety grounds so we were delighted to hear your statement that there are “very compelling reasons” to block the mine.
BEIS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COAL AUTHORITY
The position of Secretary of State grants the wherewithal to put these words into action and to actually block the coal mine by ordering the Coal Authority (who report to BEIS) not to renew or extend existing conditional licenses or grant new unconditional licences to the developers West Cumbria Mining whose licence to drill has now lapsed.
BLOCK THE COAL MINE, SAVE THE PUBLIC PURSE EXPENSIVE PUBLIC INQUIRY
This would save the public purse the huge expense of a public inquiry and send a strong message to the UK and our international neighbours that BEIS is committed to both climate and nuclear safety.
THIS IS NOT “ANYWHERE” IT WOULD BE FIVE MILES FROM SELLAFIELD
While the significant climate impacts of this coal mine would be exactly the same anywhere else in the UK, this coal mine is not just anywhere in the UK. The mine would be largely subsea off the West Coast of Cumbria, would extend to within five miles of the world’s riskiest nuclear waste site and be directly under a massive nuclear waste dump known as the Sellafield Mud Patch. Sellafield has been pumping eight million litres of “low level” radioactive discharges into the Irish Sea every day. It been doing that for decades and nuclear wastes still continue to arrive in West Cumbria. The nuclear waste discharge pipeline out to the Irish Sea is in constant use. The coal mine developers say there would be “expected subsidence” of the Irish Sea bed. Recent reports (attached) have indicated this would most likely result in the resuspension of decades worth of Sellafield’s radioactive wastes now largely immobilised in the Irish Sea bed. Radioactive wastes including plutonium would be resuspended back into the water column, to ours and to neighbouring shores. The one thing not to do with a radioactive waste dump is disturb it.
EIGHT YEARS SINCE THE COAL AUTHORITY/BEIS RUBBERSTAMPED ORIGINAL CONDITIONAL LICENCE TO DRILL EXPLORATORY BOREHOLES. NEW EVIDENCE
The world has changed since the Coal Authority issued West Cumbria Mining with conditional licences 8 years ago. Eight years ago there was no public scrutiny as the Coal Authority was permitted to issue licences above the heads of the public and Cumbrian councillors. Eight years on and many miles of subsea ‘exploratory’ mining boreholes and core samples later, questions of climate and nuclear safety are being asked about this coal mine. Despite the controversy the Coal Authority have replied directly to us saying that there would be no public consultation into issuing West Cumbria Mining with new licences to drill, this is outrageous.
APPOINTMENT OF COAL BOSS TO GOVERNMENT ADVISOR ON NUCLEAR DUMP
As well as being under decades of Sellafield’s discharged nuclear wastes the mine itself would be adjacent to the area being promoted as a possible Geological Disposal Facility for heat generating nuclear wastes under the Irish Sea. BEIS’s wide ranging responsibilities include the provision of and management of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM). The CEO of the coal mine Mark Kirkbride has been appointed by BEIS to CoRWM (Nov 2019) to advise government on ‘Delivery” of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). The proposed coal mine would make a void of 136 Million square metres. What destabilising impact would this have on the laterally neighbouring rocks Radioactive Waste Management (advised by CoRWM) tell us are “Possible” for a GDF
PUBLIC INQUIRY WOULD LIKELY BE LIMITED IN SCOPE – THERE ARE QUESTIONS SUCH AS COAL AUTHORITY/BEIS INVOLVEMENT IN HANDING OVER OF HAIG COLLIERY FOR £1 TO COAL MINE DEVELOPERS
These questions (and more) should, but are not likely to be within the remit of a forthcoming public inquiry focussing on planning rather than issues of governance and nuclear safety. The public have already paid out £millions for this coal mine, to be precise, £2.5 Million in Heritage Lottery Funds for the Haig Colliery Museum which was then handed over to the developers for £1 (courtesy of the Coal Authority handing the developers a pre-emption right).
As Secretary of State responsible for the Coal Authority you could ensure that the public do not have to foot the bill yet again, this time for a public inquiry into a coal mine that should have been scrapped yesterday. Tomorrow would be a good day to order the Coal Authority not to issue West Cumbria Mining with licence to drill. By taking this action the coal mine would be blocked and the expense of a public inquiry prevented.
LEADING CUMBRIAN COUNCILLORS HAD ALREADY CHANGED THEIR MINDS AND VOTED NO. A NEW APPRAISAL BY COUNCIL IS NOW SUPERCEDED BY PUBLIC INQUIRY
Leading Cumbrian Councillors had already reassessed their former support for the mine and voted “no.” Through this No vote they have voiced their opposition alongside leading academics, scientists, politicians, the public and many organisations. We urge you to honour the wishes of leading Cumbrian councillors and the millions of people represented by this letter and block this coal mine. The reasons for doing so are not just “compelling” they are overwhelming.
The mine could be stopped tomorrow and the buck stops with BEIS.
Marianne Birkby, founder of Radiation Free Lakeland Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole – a RaFL campaign Brian Jones, Vice Chair, CND Cymru Jo Smoldon on Behalf of Stop Hinkley Jonathon Porritt, Rebecca Heaton Cooper, The Heaton cooper studio, Grasmere Terry Bennett, Emeritus Professor, Nottingham University Kate Hudson, General Secretary, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Anita Stirzaker, Bowness business owner Alison Denwood, George and Dragon Public House, Harrington, West Cumbria Harry Doloughan, Whitehaven Simon Burdis, Northern England, family carer Philip Gilligan, South Lakeland and Lancaster District CND Dave Webb, Chair, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament David Smythe, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Glasgow Dr Paul Dorfman, UCL Energy Institute Dr Rachel Western Postcards from Cumbria – artists collectiveDavid and Una Hatton, Wigton, Cumbria, Sarah J Darby BSc DPhil Associate Professor, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford Samagita Moisha, Lancaster. Concerns for nuclear safety presented to Cumbria CC at both committee hearings Tim Deere-Jones, Marine Research & Consultancy Joan West, Cumbria and Lancashire Area CND Martin Kendall, Resident High Walton, Near Whitehaven Oliver Tickell, journalist and campaigner Irene Sanderson, North Cumbria Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Walter Bennett, I am 90 years of age, born in Frizington, Cumberland, son of a coal miner, (former Director responsible for Technology in an International Company) Dr Carl Iwan Clowes OBE, Fellow Royal College of Physicians Faculty of Public Health, Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners Mag Richards, WANA, the Welsh Anti-Nuclear Alliance Ian Ralls, Anti-Nuclear Campaigner Neil Wilson, Life Long Conservationist, Hodbarrow Mine Action to the Royal Courts of Justice London Greenpeace, Core Participant within Undercover Policing Public Inquiry (Spycops) Richard Bramhall, Low Level Radiation Campaign David Penney, Coordinator, Cumbria and Lancashire Area CND Martyn Lowe, Close Capenhurst Campaign Andrew Warren, former special advisor to the House of Commons environment select committee. Neil Garrick-Maidment FBNA, Executive Director and Founder, The Seahorse Trust Christine Gibson, Keep it Green, Northern Ireland
Mark Jennings, West Cumbria Water (Save our water services} David Dane, Veteran Campaigner
Rob Harrison, Ethical Consumer Research Association.
BEIS Ministerial Responsibility for the Coal Authority
“Ministerial responsibility 11. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is accountable to Parliament for the activities and performance of the Authority and it is proposed that any new Minister with responsibility for the Authority will carry out a visit to the Authority within six months of taking up appointment to learn about the role of the Authority and its functions. Typically, we would expect the chair and chief executive to meet with the minister at least annually. 12. Specific responsibilities include: approving the Authority’s overall strategic objectives and the policy and performance frameworkwithin which the Authority operates (as set out in this framework document and associated documents keeping Parliament informed about the Authority’s performance approving the amount of grant-in-aid/grant/other funds to be paid to the Authority, and securing Parliamentary approval carrying out responsibilities specified in the Act including appointments to the board, determining the terms and conditions of board members, consenting to the appointment of the, approval of terms and conditions of staff (Including pay) in accordance with the latest pay guidance laying of the annual report and accounts before Parliament”
Letter from the Coal Authority (who are a BEIS authority) to Radiation Free Lakeland
.”This site currently has 3 conditional licences which have been in place since 2013/14. A conditional licence allows coal exploration and would need to be replaced by a full licence in order for coaling to begin. On 18th January 2021 date West Cumbria Mining Ltd applied to extend the end dates of 2 of these conditional licences (UND/0184 & UND/0177). They were due to expire on 24th January 2021 but they will remain in place until the application to extend them has been determined. No exploratory works will be undertaken during this time. The application will take approximately 3 months to determine. If the conditional licences were extended the operator would still need to apply for one or more full coaling licences before coaling can begin. When the conditional licence extension application has been determined the outcome will be posted on our website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coal-mining-licenceapplications.
note: the Coal Authority later confirmed there would be no public consultation or scrutiny over the issuing of new licences to drill for West Cumbria Mining. The public are not being allowed sight of the new licence appliations from West Cumbria Mining
Coal Mine developers, West Cumbria Mining have asked the *Coal Authority for new licences. Do Not Rubber Stamp the Developer’s Licence to Drill.
*The Coal Authority report to the Dept of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Kwasi Kwarteng MP is the Secretary of State
Why is this important?
BLOCK WEST CUMBRIA MINING’S LICENCE TO DRILL
Leading Cumbrian Councillors had already reassessed their previous unanimous support for the first deep coal mine in decades in the UK and voted “No.” Through this No vote they have voiced their opposition alongside leading academics, scientists, politicians, the public and many organisations.
The reasons for saying No to new licences for West Cumbria Mining are not just “compelling” as Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng MP has stated, they are overwhelming.
There is zero need for a public inquiry at the expense of the public purse. The mine could be stopped tomorrow. All it would take is for the Coal Authority to block the developers new applications for a Licence to Drill. It is shocking that details of the new licence applications are being kept secret and from public scrutiny despite Freedom of Information requests from nuclear safety group Radiation Free Lakeland.
CLIMATE AND NUCLEAR SAFETY …OR RECKLESSNESS?
A block on the developer’s new applications for a Licence to Drill would not only save the public purse the huge expense of a public inquiry it would also send a strong message to the UK and our international neighbours that the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who are responsible for the Coal Authority, are committed to both climate and nuclear safety.
While the significant climate impacts of this coal mine would be EXACTLY the same if this development had been proposed anywhere else in the UK, this coal mine is NOT JUST ANYWHERE in the UK. The mine would be largely subsea off the West Coast of Cumbria, would extend to within five miles of the WORLD”S RISKIEST NUCLEAR WASTE SITE and be directly under a massive nuclear waste dump known as the Sellafield Mud Patch.
COAL MINE UNDER AN EXISTING NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP?
Sellafield has been pumping eight million litres of “low level” radioactive discharges into the Irish Sea every day. It been doing that for decades and nuclear wastes (military and ‘civil’) still continue to arrive in West Cumbria. The nuclear waste discharge pipeline out to the Irish Sea is in constant use. The coal mine developers say there would be “EXPECTED SUBSIDENCE” of the Irish Sea bed. Recent reports have indicated this would most likely result in the resuspension of decades worth of Sellafield’s radioactive wastes now largely (but not completely) immobilised in the Irish Sea bed. Radioactive wastes including plutonium would be resuspended back into the water column, to ours and to neighbouring shores. The one thing not to do with a radioactive waste dump is disturb it.
COAL MINE ADJACENT TO A NEW HIGH LEVEL NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP?
The mine itself would be adjacent to the area being promoted as a “possible” Geological Disposal Facility for heat generating nuclear wastes under the Irish Sea. The CEO of the coal mine Mark Kirkbride has been appointed to the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management to advise government on “Delivery” of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). The proposed coal mine would make a void of 136 million square metres. Would this handy hole be used to dump mountains of rock spoil excavated for a GDF from neighboring rocks? What destabilising impact would this have on the neighbouring rocks? Is there a massive unresolvable conflict of interest at the heart of the forthcoming coal mine public inquiry? The final decision about the climate and nuclear dump-wrecking mine will rest with the government – the same government who have appointed the coal mine boss to position of top government nuclear dump advisor (for highly active wastes).
FARCICAL PUBLIC INQUIRY?
These questions (and more) should, but are not likely to be within the remit of a forthcoming public inquiry focussing on planning rather than key issues of governance and nuclear safety.
The public have already paid out £millions for this coal mine, to be precise, £2.5 Million in Heritage Lottery Funds for the Haig Colliery Museum which was then handed over to the developers for £1.
This is a coal mine that the public would keep paying for in more than money and climate impacts – the many headed hydra of both a slow burn and immediate nuclear catastrophe are overwhelming.
There is no credible case for this mine either on the basis of Finance (no market ), Climate (flies in face of COP26) or arguably the most serious concern, Nuclear safety (the mine would be under decades of “low level” nuclear waste, also undermining the geology near the world’s riskiest high level nuclear waste site Sellafield).
BLOCK WEST CUMBRIA MINING’S LICENCE TO DRILL!
DO IT NOW
BEIS Ministerial Responsibility for the Coal Authority
“Ministerial responsibility 11. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is accountable to Parliament for the activities and performance of the (Coal) Authority …
Sellafield Radioactive Discharge on the Irish Sea Bed directly beneath the coal mine plan and question of ‘Who is Responsible for Safety of the Discharged Nuclear Wastes?’ is subject to complaint being dealt with by the Information Commissioner
Poor beleaguered Cumbria County Council – first we (Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole) issue legal proceedings against them for giving the green light to the faux “environmentally friendly” “carbon neutral” coal mine and now West Cumbria Mining plan to start legal action against the council because the council quite rightly once again wants to review the decision it made to approve the coal mine plan. This new review of the plan follows the latest threat of legal action, (this time by South Lakes Action on Climate Change who are looking to challenge Secretary of State Robert Jenrick’s decision not to call the Council’s approval in for a public inquiry). West Cumbria Mining have issued a rather huffy statement which repeats all the old myths including that 90% of Cumbrians want this coal mine and that it would be a financial boon to Cumbria. Don’t make me laugh! West Cumbria Mining have already stole the Haig Mining Museum and lands from the Cumbrian public for less than the price of a bottle of pop.
From West Cumbria Mining’s statement “As a result of the actions taken by Cumbria CC, WCM concluded that the only course of action was to explore legal actions to secure the future of the project. Subsequently, WCM has instructed Hogan Lovells, a highly recognised and reputable international law firm, to take legal action on concerns that CCCs decision making process is robust and in accordance with the established framework. As the next step in this process, we have today (5th March 2021) lodged formal proceedings in respect of Cumbria CC’s decision to refer the matter back once again to the Committee.”
West Cumbria Mining are ruthless operators. If this mine does goes ahead below the decades of Sellafield’s nuclear waste discharges and just five miles from the most dangerous nuclear site in the world the radiation damage would be way beyond any remediation. It is sickening that this mine has the backing of government with key appointments of personnel including WCM’s CEO being made to the government’s ‘Delivery of a Deep Geological Disposal Facility” . The area in the frame is the Irish Sea adjacent to the mine. This should send shivers down the spine of every County Councillor – Councillors need to find their spines now more than ever and refuse permission for this mine to open. If the climate arguments are overwhelming (which they are) the nuclear impacts are even more so. It would take just 2-4 years for the plutonium wastes now in the silts of the Irish Sea, having been remobilised by the coal mine’s “expected subsidence” to reach the Arctic. Rather less time to reach our shores and that of our neighbours in the Isle of Man, Ireland and Scotland.
Roger Harrabin the BBC’s Environment correspondent continues to studiously ignore the nuclear impacts and complicity of our pro nuclear government in the employment of two top executives (one former, one existing) of the coal mine to the public bodies pushing the plan for Geological Disposal of Nuclear Wastes in the UK. The same government department responsible for the Coal Authority, the Climate Change Committee and the Government bodies pushing for a deep nuclear waste dump have appointed top executives from West Cumbria Mining. But all Roger Harrabin the BBC’s top environment correspondent can harp on about is climate and jobs. The Government are very happy with that focus. Just don’t mention the NUCLEAR CRAPOLA!
The below is a letter to our MP Tim Farron asking for answers on some of the issues that our myopic BBC and other correspondents and NGOs SHOULD be asking. How long will the deafening silence continue ?
Thank you for continued opposition to the Cumbrian coal mine. Our investigations found that West Cumbria Mining have applied to renew two lapsed licenses (the licenses were issued 8 years ago over the heads of the public and councillors) . I just wanted to write and let you know that over two weeks ago we asked the Coal Authority the following and have as yet received no reply.
We asked: We would like to have sight as soon as possible of
A copy of WCM’s applications, and
An opportunity to make submissions on the applications before a decision is made
We are very shocked that there appear to be no plans by BEIS/Coal Authority to hold a public consultation on this issue which is of national interest
We note that BEIS appoints the Committee on Climate Change AND has responsibility for the Coal Authority as well as CoRWM/RWM (Geological Disposal of nuclear wastes in the UK). CoRWM/RWM have appointed one existing and one former top executive from West Cumbria Mining .
I am sure you would agree the Coal Authority/BEIS should not be quietly rubber stamping renewal/extension of licenses for what is already the most controversial coal mine in UK history – a coal mine with enormous nuclear implications which have been brushed aside by our pro nuclear government. Parliament must hold government to account over this coal mine and a spotlight on the underhand issuing of renewed/extended licenses would be a good place to start.
With best wishes
Marianne Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole – a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign
We are a volunteer nuclear safety group in Cumbria. We have been opposing the proposed coal mine under the Irish Sea since 2017 on both climate and nuclear impacts. We are very concerned that Unite is supporting this plan.
The mine would be directly beneath the decades worth of reprocessing radioactive wastes on the Irish Sea bed, discharged from Sellafield.
The County Council in approving the mine said that subsidence of the sea bed would be “unavoidable” but that they thought it could be suitably mitigated for. We agree that subsidence of the Irish Sea bed would be “unavoidable” however we do not agree that it would be possible to mitigate against the resuspension of plutonium and other radioactive wastes from the Irish sea bed into the water column and back to the beaches.
Research has shown that dried resuspended radioactive particles can travel at least 10 miles inland. Its worth repeating that the coal mine would be highly likely to cause resuspension of decades worth of radioactive wastes. While UNITE members who work at Sellafield have to accept the known risk of radiation linked diseases from their occupation at least they have a Compensation Scheme for occupational radiation damage.
The public which includes the family members of UNITE would have no such Compensation scheme to “compensate” from radiation damage resulting from the resuspension of decades of Sellafield discharges which are now on the Irish Sea bed. Children and women are most at risk from radiation damage.
Included here are recent relevant reports including:
“Conclusions: We found strong evidence for associations between low doses from alpha-emitters and lung cancer risk. The excess OR/Gy was greater for plutonium than uranium, though confidence intervals overlap. Risk estimates were similar to those estimated previously in plutonium workers, and in uranium miners exposed to radon and its progeny. Expressed as risk/equivalent dose in sieverts (Sv), our estimates are somewhat larger than but consistent with those for atomic bomb survivors.”
A briefing paper by Tim Deere-Jones. WEST CUMBRIA MINING: WOODHOUSE COLLIERY PROPOSAL RADIOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS of POTENTIAL SEABED SUBSIDENCE SEISMICITY & “FAULT RE-ACTIVATION” beneath The CUMBRIAN MUD PATCH: INDUCED BY “MASS REMOVAL”, RAPID EXTRACTION & VOID SPACE CREATION.
Radiation Free Lakeland very much hope that UNITE will oppose this coal mine which would cause damage to public health way beyond the more talked about climate change concerns. The burden on the NHS with regard radiation linked diseases would be increased manyfold should this coal mine go ahead – the most affected are the most vulnerable.
Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole – a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign
A Nuclear Safety group based in the South Lakes have sent a ‘Nuclear Issues’ call In letter to the Secretary of State over the proposed Cumbrian coal mine.
Radiation Free Lakeland’s Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole campaign has repeatedly delayed the start date of the coal mine at Whitehaven.
This delay has, say the nuclear safety group, been achieved by legal challenge with the help of lawyers Leigh Day. The nuclear safety group continue to challenge Cumbria County Council’s approval for the development which would see the first deep coal mine in the UK for decades.
The letter to the Secretary of State Robert Jenrick says: “We have written to you repeatedly on this and ask that you take all our previous representations and petitions into account when making your decision (to call the Council’s decision in for a public inquiry).
“We are writing to you now to remind you of our primary and most visceral concerns which relate to the close proximity of the coal mine to Sellafield and Long Lived “Historic” Nuclear Wastes.”
A spokesperson for Radiation Free Lakeland added: “Our concerns are that no-one is taking adequate notice of, or responsibility for the impact this mine would have both on the wastes at Sellafield and also on the reprocessing wastes that have been discharged over many decades and are now sitting on the Irish Sea bed directly under the area that West Cumbria Mining propose to mine out.
“A massive void, the size of Wastwater lake is proposed under the Cumbrian Mud Patch, which would lead to likely collapse of the Irish Sea bed.
“Our own commissioned report by Tim Deere-Jones has been vindicated with another report published more recently in Science of the Total Environment which includes findings from the Centre for Radiochemistry Research -The University of Manchester and Radiochemistry Unit -The University of Helsinki, Finland.
“Findings are that up to 90% of the plutonium discharged from Sellafield are likely to be sitting in the silts on the Cumbrian Mud patch along with a cocktail of other radionuclides. To mine underneath this area for any reason, let alone for unneeded coal, knowing that this is the case, an act of premeditated murder no less than letting off a series of nuclear bombs.”
WCM: WOODHOUSE COLLIERY PROPOSAL RADIOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS of POTENTIAL SEABED SUBSIDENCE,SEISMICITY
Published on Jun 11, 2020
A briefing paper by Tim Deere-Jones. WEST CUMBRIA MINING: WOODHOUSE COLLIERY PROPOSAL RADIOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS of POTENTIAL SEABED SUBSIDENCE SEISMICITY & “FAULT RE-ACTIVATION” beneath The CUMBRIAN MUD PATCH: INDUCED BY “MASS REMOVAL”, RAPID EXTRACTION & VOID SPACE CREATION.
Discharges to the environment from the Sellafield site, 1951-1992. J Gray, S R Jones, A D Smith
Office for Nuclear Regulation remit extends to 7.4km from Sellafield – the coal mine would be 8km i.e. 600 metres outside the ONRs ‘remit’.
Cumbria County Council – Subsidence/Seismic Conditions on West Cumbria Mining Planning Application. There is no mention of mitigation of resuspension of nuclear wastes from the Cumbrian Mud Patch or induced Seismicity near Sellafield. West Cumbria Mining would “self monitor’
Nuclear and Climate Concerns Brushed Under the Carpet in Officers Recommendation to Approve Cumbrian Coal Plan
Nuclear Safety Campaigners at Radiation Free Lakeland are shocked at the report published yesterday by Angela Jones Executive Director of Economy and Infrastructure to Cumbria County Council. In advising Councillors who will take the decision on October 2nd whether or not to grant permission, the report concludes that “I am persuaded that the risks are manageable and that the benefits overall clearly outweigh those likely impacts identified”.
A spokesperson from Radiation Free Lakeland said: “we are horrified that Officers have completely brushed aside our detailed report from marine expert Tim Deere Jones on the potential for radiological impacts. They have used a comment from South Lakes Action on Climate Change that : ‘the above issues would raise even greater concern should Underground Coal Gasification be proposed which has potential for large scale subsidence that is harder to control.”
The nuclear safety campaigners say “The report by Tim Deere Jones is specific to this planning application and specific to its unique position. The report details the intolerable consequences of massive new voids caused by coal mining in this specific area which includes the dangers of induced siesmicity near Sellafield as well as likely subsidence of the Cumbrian Mud Patch. To brush this serious nuclear issue under the carpet in this way by using the SLACC comment is utterly contemptous of what is arguably the most serious aspect of this coal mine.
Radiation Free Lakeland note also that the Officers report does not in any way attempt to address West Cumbria Mining’s repeated contempt for climate concerns “WCM does not consider that there is a requirement to assess the emissions caused by the end use of coal which is extracted from the Development”.
Nuclear Safety Campaigners will be reading the full report in detail and will comment further but in the meantime urge people to lobby their own councillors to urge the Development Control and Regulation Committee members to defy the dangerous Officers report and vote NO on 2nd October. They can also be contacted direct here.
A Briefing Paper on radiological implications of West Cumbria Mining’s plan has been sent to councillors ahead of their coming decision on whether to allow the plan for the first deep coal mine in 30 years to continue.
The author of the paper, 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.
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
Here are a few Videos from the Council Meeting on 31st October at which Cumbria County Council voted unanimously to ratify the outrageous plan to mine under the Irish Sea just 5 miles from Sellafield.
A day later, buried under the front page euphoria that fracking is to be halted, the Secretary of State made the announcement that he would not call in the flawed (putting it euphemistically) decision by Cumbria County Council.
Justifying the Unjustifiable. The video shows Cumbria County Council’s reply to Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole’s letter written by top lawyers Leigh Day, asking for evidence of the developer’s (and the council’s) “carbon neutral” coal mine claims. The developers also say that 15% of the output from the mine would be “middlings coal” (ie not coking coal) and disingenuously describe this as a “byproduct” when it could be a fossil fuel development in its own right.
“There is no evidence that coal will not be produced elsewhere because this mine has opened.” “The middlings coal reveals the lie”. “Disingenuous forecasting.” Misleading to suggest this will create jobs over the long term.” This video shows the Leader of South Lakeland District Council, Giles Archibald making strong objections to the coal mine – all ignored
The moment of unanimous ratification of the Cumbria Coal Mine “Shame on You” “Disgusting”