County council to reconsider Cumbria coalmine application

The future of a proposed coalmine in Cumbria has actually been tossed into doubt after an abrupt U-turn by the county council, which will now reassess planning authorization for the mine in the light of the federal government’s greenhouse gas targets.

Cumbria county council approved preparation consent to the mine last October, and last month the neighborhoods and local government secretary, Robert Jenrick, decided not to “hire” the mine for a central government decision. That set the phase for West Cumbria Mining to push ahead with plans for the UK’s first brand-new deep coalmine in 3 decades, at Woodhouse Colliery, near Whitehaven.

But on Tuesday the county council announced that brand-new info on the federal government’s carbon budget plans had actually forced a rethink. The Committee on Environment Modification released suggestions to the government in December on how to reach the legally binding target of net absolutely no emissions by 2050.

Ten days ago, the committee also wrote to Jenrick to caution that the mine would produce more emissions than any other in the UK, and would provide “an unfavorable impression of the UK’s environment priorities” as the government prepares to host a crucial UN environment top, Cop26, this November in Glasgow.

The decision by the county council to reassess the mine was cheered by ecological campaigners, who have actually highly opposed the mine. Doug Parr, the chief scientist at Greenpeace UK, said: “If Cumbria county council chooses it ought to change its mind, it’s a U-turn that would be very welcome. It’s absolutely right that the county needs to reconsider prepare for a brand-new coalmine because of proof showing how damaging this would be for our environment, and for the UK’s international credibility.”

Last week, the noteworthy environment scientist James Hansen wrote to the prime minister, Boris Johnson, saying that pressing ahead with the mine would reveal “contemptuous disregard for the future of youths”. Developing nation specialists likewise said that for the UK to open a new coalmine would be “stunning”, and would damage its trustworthiness as host of the Cop26 summit.

Researchers have grown significantly worried about the mine. Ed Gemmell, the managing director of Scientists Warning Europe, said:” [It] would be disastrous for the net zero prepare for the UK and send a dreadful signal to the remainder of the world in this vital year for the environment. Numerous top researchers now concern even 2050 as recklessly far too late [to reach net absolutely no emissions] if there is to be any opportunity of keeping the world under 1.5 C. The majority of councils in the UK have actually made environment emergency situation statements– Cumbria county council dangers being the black sheep of the household if it allows this coalmine to proceed.”

Cumbria’s county councillors are now most likely to come under pressure both from green campaigners and researchers, and from supporters of the mine, unless the government chooses to contact the decision.

The proposed ₤ 165m mine would produce 2.7 m tonnes a year of coking coal, for use in industrial applications such as steel-making, instead of thermal coal for burning in power stations. Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, told MPs last month that this meant the mine ought to be allowed to go ahead, as it fell outside federal government promises to phase out coal for electricity.

However green specialists explained that steel-makers would be forced to minimize their emissions too under the UK’s net absolutely no targets, by using brand-new innovation, such as hydrogen. About 85% of the coking coal from the mine was planned for export, and there is no scarcity of such coal worldwide.

Proponents also said the mine would create approximately 500 brand-new jobs in the economically depressed location. “There are substantial levels of deprivation here,” stated John Kane, a former GMB union leader, citing numerous wards in the location, including the one he represents, Kells, and the Woodhouse estate, as amongst the most deprived in England. “We have a happy history of mining in this area, going back centuries– so it’s natural people in Copeland would wish to see it return.”

The federal government has consistently stated the choice on the mine is a local matter. Nevertheless, Ed Miliband, the shadow organization secretary, urged Jenrick to reclaim control of the procedure, which is within his powers. “The government now has a 2nd opportunity to do the best thing and call it in,” he said. “The UK can not declare to be an environment leader while opening a new coalmine, and ministers should understand that by doing so they weaken our trustworthiness both in your home and abroad.”

The former leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron, the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale in Cumbria, said: “The federal government now needs to step in, reveal some climate leadership and stop this mine at last. The federal government also now require to deal with seriousness with the steel industry to advance the innovations to make steel without ecologically damaging fossil fuels.”

Parr said: “Any shift [by Cumbria county council] does not let the government off the hook. Ministers should be ashamed of their failure to step in on a problem of apparent international significance. Even if the coal mine is canned by Cumbria, this is still a global embarrassment for the UK in a year when we were expected to be setting an example on climate action for the world to follow.”

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