Dalelorenzo's GDI Blog
10Mar/210

Cumbria Council to reconsider controversial coal mine approval over climate concerns

Cumbria Council to reconsider controversial coal mine approval over climate concerns

West Cumbria Mining's plan to open UK's first coal mine in 30 years to be reviewed 'in light of new information', says committee

Cumbria County Council is reconsidering its contentious decision to approve plans for the UK's firstly brand-new coal mine in 30 years "in light of new information", it has announced that, citing greenhouse gas radiations projections published by the Climate Change Committee late last year.

Plans to build a metallurgical coal mine on the Cumbrian coast near Whitehaven have been the subject of intense debate in recent weeks after the government opted against bar the project in spite of widespread very concerned about an influence on the UK's climate goals.

Cumbria councillors initially granted permission for West Cumbria Mining's plan last-place October, insisting coal was still needed for steelmaking in the UK, and that it could still go ahead within the UK's carbon budgets while also creating jobs in the region.

However, environment activists have long disagreed a new coal excavation will generate significant greenhouse gas releases while eroding the UK's climate leadership credentials as the co-host of the crucial COP2 6 global UN climate change summit in Glasgow last-minute this year.

The project looked to have progressed the final impediment after Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick decided against calling-in the council's planning decision for its consideration in January, debating the matter should be decided upon locally - a decision that inspired irritable commentary from dark-green groups and consternation within the government's COP2 6 team.

The UK's independent advisory body the Climate Change Committee( CCC) also wrote to the government last-place month setting out its concerns about the Cumbria coking coal project, reckoning the project wold release more emissions than all of the UK's existing coal pits developed in partnership through to 2050. It too told standing the coal pit to go ahead risked creating a "negative impression" of the UK's climate priorities in the run up to COP2 6.

But in a scandalize announcement today, Cumbria Council said it now plans to review its initial meaning decision last-place October "after the receipt and consideration of new information" published by the CCC in December as part of its most recent report on how to deliver the UK's net zero target.

"This decision has been taken because in December 2020, the government's Climate Change Committee released its report on its recommendations for the Sixth Carbon Budget, a requirement under the Climate Change Act, " Cumbria County Council's statement today reads.

The statement suggestions at concern that emissions generated by the Cumbria coal mine project could blow a pit in the UK's statutory climate change targets for the mid-2 030 s.

"The report, among other things, sets out a number of the publication of greenhouse gases the UK aims to emit during 2033 -2 037, " the statement continues. "This new information has been received prior to the issue of the formal decision notice on the employment. In light of this the council has decided that the planning application should be reconsidered by DC& R[ Development Control and Regulation Committee ]. "

The tale has threatened to become increasingly embarrassing for the government, which is simultaneously seeking to persuade countries around the world to commit to phasing out coal power in order to help meet international targets agreed for the purposes of the Paris Agreement.

The Minister of Housing, Communities and Local Government was considering BusinessGreen's request for remark at the time of writing of going to press.

The CCC, meanwhile, declined to comment on today's announcement. However, lettuce radicals warmly welcomed the Council's statement, which follows increasing pressure from campaigners and scientists, as well as significant media coverage over the issue.

Just last week, more than 70 of the UK's largest environmental groups wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging the government to reverse its decision not to call-in Cumbria council's proposing approval.

Greenpeace UK's chief scientist Doug Parr said that should the Council end up blocking the coking coal mine after all it would be a "very welcome" U-turn.

"It's absolutely right that the county should reconsider a blueprint for a new coal pit in light of evidence demonstrating how damaging this would be for our environment, and for the UK's international reputation, " he said. "Any such switch does not let the government off the hook though. Ministers should be ashamed of their failure to step in on an issue of obvious international significance. Even if the coal quarry is canned by Cumbria, "thats still" a world-wide shame for the UK in a year when we were supposed to be setting an example on climate war for the world to follow."

Labour's Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband also welcomed Cumbria Council's decision to review the coal pit project , noting that this now generated the authorities concerned another opportunity to block the project.

"The government now has a second chance to do the right thing and call it in, " he said. "The UK cannot claim to be a climate leader whilst opening a brand-new coal quarry and Ministers must realise that by doing so they subvert our credibility both at home and abroad."

Miliband, an instrumental figure in getting the Climate Change Act into ordinance when he was Energy and Climate Change Secretary in 2008, too argued that the proposed mine was not needed to support UK's iron and steel industry , mention 85 per cent of coal product from the project is earmarked for export.

"Labour is determined to safeguard the UK's primary steelmaking capacity and provide the industry with a stick long-term future through the kind of financial support that other countries are offering, including support steel make a fair transition to a dark-green future which precautions jobs, " he said. "People in Cumbria deserve good, lock jobs and there are so many crying out to be done in the dark-green manufactures of the future."

West Cumbria Mining, the company behind the coking coal quarry propose, has been contacted for criticism. Preaches of the mine have consistently argued that it would change imported coal used for steel-making and as such could result in lower radiations overall. Nonetheless, antagonists of the mine have raced this analysis, arguing the UK needs to transition away from the use of coking coal if it is to meet its long term emissions targets.

Read more: businessgreen.com