Great News! Green Light for Coal Mine is Now Amber, Thanks to You!

Whitehaven to St Bees

Image: Wild honeysuckle and Irish Sea 

There is great news!

The unanimous green light that Cumbria County Council had given the developers, West Cumbria Mining,  has now effectively turned back to amber.   Cumbria County Council has confirmed that it will no longer rely on the resolution decision that we were challenging.

This turn around would not have happened without youramazing support for the Judicial Review (which had been granted full approval to go ahead and challenge the County Council’s decision). 

West Cumbria Mining has now submitted a revised planning application to Cumbria County Council.  This revised plan seeks to answer the legal challenges which were to be brought by us in the Judicial Review.

We believe the true reason why West Cumbria Mining has submitted a revised planning application is to try to defeat our legal challenge.

For example the middlings coal will now, say West Cumbria Mining, with this new plan be magically transformed into coking coal!

Our brilliant lawyers at Leigh Day will now seek costs from Cumbria County Council and WCM, because we have in effect achieved what we set out to do, which was to overturn the council’s unanimous decision to approve the coal mine.

We are seeking legal costs in order to keep our fighting fund for another day.  This is should we need the fighting fund after the council’s planning meeting to decide whether or not to approve WCM’s new and improved cunning plan!
So, there is now an opportunity to firstly lobby the council so they do not, yet again, say yes to this revised planning application for the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades.

Should Cumbria County Council say yes again, Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole will challenge that, again!

But first things first – the revised plan can be seen Online via the County Council’s website at: planning.cumbria.gov.uk.   Application Ref No: 4/17/9007

Even if you have written in opposition to the plan before please do write again…this is in effect a new plan.

I will send out info soon to help people challenge this revised planning application with your own letters of opposition to Cumbria County Council.   We have not got long – the (first) official deadline is June 15th. 

We can Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole !! 

“Last Coal Mine” ? But it would last 50 years!

A colleague has just alerted us to this interview with CEO of West Cumbria Mining.

Full interview on New Civil Engineer 

Cumbria coal mine could be ‘the last one’ in the UK

The proposed £165M Woodhouse colliery in Cumbria could be “the last [coal mine] ever [built] in the UK”, according to West Cumbria Mining chief executive Mark Kirkbride.

Plans for the coal mine have been called into question amid fears that the facility could hinder the UK’s goal to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

And Kirkbride believes that the changes to planning regulations means that the Cumbrian facility could be the last coal mine ever constructed in the UK.

“If you asked me to get planning for another one, I would say it would be impossible right now unless something significantly changed,” Kirkbride said at a British Tunnelling Society lecture.

“When we applied for planning it was a different set of planning rules. Now if you were to submit planning you’d have to try and do whole life greenhouse gas assessments.”

However, Kirkbride believes it is unfair for the mine to be accountable for carbon emissions from coal once it leaves the mine.

He added: “The analogy I use is if you build a car factory you look at what the greenhouse impact is of the factory, what you don’t have to do is the life cycle emissions from the cars that you make. That doesn’t apply to the natural resources.

“People think we can determine how much CO2 for the life of the coal we’re producing. The challenge is that populist noise would make it impossible to get it past a planning committee.”

Kirkbride’s comments come amid a government push towards renewables.

This month Boris Johnson announced that the deadline for the phase out of coal from Britain’s energy system would be brought forward a year to 1 October 2024. The last five coal-fired power stations stations – Ratcliffe on Soar, West Burton, Fiddlers Ferry, Kilroot and Drax – are all expected to close.

Meanwhile, domestic coal and certain types of wood are also to be banned from sale from next year in a bid to cut air pollution.

However, the Woodhouse colliery would be excavating coal for use mainly in steel production – a key distinction, according to Kirkbride, who “fully supports” the phase out of coal for electricity.

The proposed development is for a large underground metallurgical, or ‘coking coal’, coal mine.

Coking coal is used exclusively in the manufacture of over 70% of the world’s steel, with more than 1.2bn.t used in global steel production around the world every year.

The coal is ‘baked’ in a coke oven which forces out impurities to produce coke. Modern steel plants include gas treatment and capture to reduce emissions. The steel produced is used in the likes of cars, kettles and trains, as well as in the manufacture of wind turbines and nuclear power stations.

Around 250t of coking coal is required to build an offshore wind turbine, which uses around 325t of steel.

West Cumbria Mining’s website describes these as “key alternatives to historical coal-powered energy generation”.

It adds that coking coal is “very different to thermal coal which is used to create steam to power turbines for creating electricity”.

However a report, published in January by independent thinktank Green Alliance, claims the coal mine is “incompatible” with the UK’s net zero goals.

It concludes that when burnt, the coal extracted from the mine would produce more than 8M.t of carbon dioxide per year – and identifies ways that the amount of coal used in steel production could actually be reduced.

These include using less steel, using recycled steel, improving the efficiency of steel production with conventional blast furnaces, and producing steel with new processes using renewable energy.

The report says opening a new coal mine will hinder this strategy by ensuring the continued availability of cheap coal.

As such, it contests Cumbria County Council’s claim that the mine will be carbon neutral.

Earlier this month environmental campaigners appealed for a judicial review against Cumbria County Council for giving the go ahead to the mine.

Campaign group Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole – run by the group Radiation Free Lakeland – filed the paperwork to launch the judicial review through the solicitors Leigh Day. They are now awaiting the court’s approval for a full hearing.

The mine was granted cross-party backing in March 2019.

 

 

Todays BBC Podcast about the “Carbon Neutral” Coal Mine

This BBC podcast today makes some good points but leaves much out. It is a far cry from 2018 when  we made a complaint to the BBC about their promotion of the mine as a ‘good thing’ on the 27th Dec 2018 Radio 4 PM program….Following that program in 2018 green minded folk told us they felt “reassured” that the mine was environmentally sound.     The program today was much more critical of the plan. However, no mention of the legal challenge or the close proximity to Sellafield.

Untitled
Listen here from 16.00

 

 

 

Methane Shock

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Dear Friends,

Big Thank You to All – We are keeping the CrowdJustice page open a while longer to keep folk updated and to keep on raising awareness about the insanity of this coal mine.Cumbria would be the ONLY place in the UK to have ANY deep mining going on. West Cumbria Mining plan to mine for coking and industrial coal in the “gassiest pit in the kingdom”. West Cumbria is the place where the Davey Lamp was tested out because methane is so prevalent under the Irish Sea bed.

A recent article in The Ecologist explains why methane – always known to be a dangerous gas is more dangerous than we thought. Stopping the Coal Mine in Cumbria just got a whole lot more urgent.

Extract

“Scientists have been vastly underestimating the amount of methane humans are emitting into the atmosphere through fossil fuels, according to research.

Analysis published in the journal Nature shows methane emissions from fossil fuels owing to human activity is around 25 percent to 40 percent higher than thought.

But researchers believe their findings offer hope, saying stricter regulations to curb methane emissions could help reduce future global warming to “a larger extent than previously thought”.

Ice core

Benjamin Hmiel, a professor of earth and environmental science at the University of Rochester and one of the study authors, said: “I don’t want to get too hopeless on this because my data does have a positive implication: most of the methane emissions are anthropogenic, so we have more control.

“If we can reduce our emissions, it’s going to have more of an impact.”

Read the Full Article HERE

Walk and Spring Wildlife Watch – date tbc

Walk and Spring Wildlife Watch – date to be confirmed

Dear Friends,

Thank you So Much for keeping on sharing and donating to the CrowdJustice page –everything put in the hat will go direct to the legal fund to take our case to Judicial Review.  We are still waiting for a date for our case to be heard – but it will be in Manchester!

Will let you know just as soon as we hear.

In the meantime we are planning a walk along the beautiful (but a bit challenging) cliff top from Whitehaven to St Bees.  The walk will include wildlife watching and maybe a bit of drawing too!

Seabirds, guillemots, gulls, ravens and more are all descending on the cliffs to nest so it is an exciting time.  This is the only nesting place in England of the black guillemot and the coal mine threatens that , as well as much else!   What is left of our wildlife is increasingly important.  A date for the walk is yet to be set but watch this space!

All Best Wishes

Marianne

Opposition Grows!

OPPOSITION GROWS!

Dear Friends,

The Opposition to this Coal mine is GROWING!

Last week there were demonstrations from Cumbria to London. Demonstrations of opposition to the plan to open the first deep coal mine in decades.

Thank you to everyone who is opposing this coal mine whether it is by actively demonstrating opposition, contributing to the crowdfunder for the legal challenge or sharing the information.  It is all important and it all sends out the strong and growing message that this coal mine is totally unacceptable.

Please keep on sharing this crowd justice page and let folk know that we can stop this mine – it is NOT a done deal.

Here are a few links to the growing opposition…

Children should not have to go on hunger strike to stop this mine  ‘It’s a Huge Step Backwards’: Teenagers Hunger Striking to Stop the UK’s Newest Coal Mine By Phoebe Cooke • Wednesday, February 12, 2020 – 09:15

In the News…

cropped-keep-cumbrian-coal-in-the-hole.jpg

Dear Friends,

Thank you to all who are donating and sharing in order that we can challenge the outrageous decision by Cumbria County Council to approve the first deep coal mine in decades.

In case  you missed the Channel 4 programme this evening – here is a link to the page.  

Will update soon with news of the legal challenge

All best wishes

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

“Incompatible” (Yes and Much more besides ..)

 

A new report by the Green Alliance (these interviews Jan 17, 2020) says West Cumbria’s new mine will emit the equivalent of a million homes worth of carbon and is incompatible with UK climate ambition.

This report is welcome (if a tad late) and it reiterates some of what Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole have been saying about this coal mine since 2017.

The report of course does not detail the impacts that this mine could have on nearby Sellafield – the most dangerous nuclear waste site in the world.  It is a very welcome report nevertheless and well worth reading.

EXTRACT below

“Jobs and carbon

“West Cumbria Mining estimates that around 518 jobs will be created (of which 80 per cent will be within 20 miles of Whitehaven). Using the company’s breakdown of job types and industry standard salaries, it is possible to estimate the annual salary remuneration for the entire workforce, including management, at £11.8 million per year. 35 This is less than three per cent (2.87 per cent) of the commodity value of the coal that would be extracted, which we estimate to be £411 million per year, using commodity prices for coking and middling coal.36 The carbon emissions would be around 16,000 tonnes CO2e per year per job for the lifetime of the mine. This compares with under seven tonnes of CO2e emissions per person per year in the UK at present, a figure which must fall to net zero by 2050.37 The carbon footprint of the salaries paid would be almost three quarters of a tonne of CO2 per £1 earned by the workforce (700kg CO2e per £).”

PDF of the report here 

Meet at the Workington Clock Next Saturday 5th January to show Opposition to the West Cumbrian Coal Mine

We hope that more folk will join those already opposing the plan and look forward to seeing you next Saturday 5th Jan from 10.30 till approx 12.30.  If you cannot come along on Saturday please contact me at :    wastwater @ protonmail.com for petition sheets/offers of help.
Poster small
(financial help to print leaflets etc would be fab- we are all volunteers.  Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole is a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign so our very limited resources are stretched)

COAL!! BBC & Magical Thinking

ash background beautiful blaze
Ashes and Dust

The BBC’s latest Christmas Cracker is to promote the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years like there is no tomorrow.

Yesterday’s Radio 4 PM programme treated listeners to the most highly sweetened, sickening concoction of greenwash promoting a coal mine.  The plan for Woodhouse Colliery under the Irish Sea extending over 50 years towards Sellafield  seems to be enjoying the most magical of magical thinking.

It is an enigma wrapped up in coal dust.  Where is George Monbiot?  Where is David Attenborough?   Where is the Extreme Energy Network?  Where are Extinction Rebellion? Where is Everyone?  What is the BBC’s Game?

COMPLAINT TO THE BBC

I was interested to hear the PM broadcast about the proposed first deep coal mine in over 30 years. We heard from the mining developers, the Mayor of Copeland and former miners, all of whom expressed delight with the proposal. There were no dissenting voices. The reporter’s questions were superficial and too easily satisfied by the developers cynical reassurances that the steel would be used for wind turbines. This is nonsense to hoodwink the public, they could just as well have pointed out that the biggest steel structure in the world is nuclear related -over Chernobyl. This bias from PM is shocking given that the West Cumbrian coal mine is the most methane rich in the country. Despite false assurances from the developers on the programme, it proposes to produce middlings, (thermal coal) as well as coking coal, the majority of which is for export. The DEFRA Emission Factors for Company Reporting, 2017 give upstream emissions from coking coal supply as 442kg CO2e per tonne of coal. The mine will extend closer to Sellafield than ever before with the attendant risk of earthquake from such huge abstraction of coal. I expected to hear from at least one of those opposing the mine to point out the cumulative dangers, but the programme ended in a congratulatory tone. This is shocking bias from the BBC given that this is a development which is due to go before Cumbria County Council maybe as soon as February.

Complaint to the BBC Woodhouse Colliery 27,12,18