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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter – @beisgovuk
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP. Minister of State for Business, Energy and Strategy
Dear Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
WEST CUMBRIA MINING: WOODHOUSE COLLIERY
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 https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/cumbria-coal-mine-kwasi-kwarteng-b1789458.html
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 (http://www.csrld.org.uk/), 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.