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County Council re-think on controversial mine PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Walsh   
Tuesday, 09 February 2021

woodhouse mine.pngPlans for a new coal mine in Cumbria have been thrown into doubt after Cumbria County Council said it would think again about the move following widespread criticism.

The local authority had previously approved the application for the UK's first deep coal mine operation in 30 years.

On the basis it was a local decision Government ministers had declined to intervene in the go-ahead for the mine.

Cumbria County Council said it would reconsider the planning application by West Cumbria Mining for the project near Whitehaven after new information had come to light.

A spokesperson said: "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.

"The report, among other things, sets out the volume of greenhouse gases the UK aims to emit during 2033-2037.

"This new information has been received prior to the issue of the formal decision notice on the application.

"In light of this the council has decided that the planning application should be reconsidered by the Development Control and Regulation (DC&R) Committee."

Cumbrian MP and former Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron tweeted: "The very fact that this application is going back to the planning committee because it might not meet the requirements of the Climate Change Act shows exactly why this mine shouldn't be going a head.

"The government now need to step in, show some leadership and stop this mine."

Local pressure group Radiation Free Lakeland have been running a campaign Keep the Coal in the Hole and they have expressed their pleasure at the latest announcement.

They believe this is down to the fact that there has been significant developments since the Cumbria County Council discussed the revised application.

Much is made of the fact that those in favour of the new mining venture think only of the jobs and positive spin-offs they will bring to the area without addressing the concerns of the opponents.

Most of the worries centre around interference with climate change but of equal concern, although not aired half as much, is geological issues under the sea.

Mainly it centres around Sellafield’s lack of taking responsibility for radioactive wastes on the seabed directly above the coal mine while there’s new awareness of lack of testing by the British Geological Society (hydrology/geology/seismicity).

It would just be good, perhaps even enlightening if an expert on the pro-mining side came out with a view to allay the fears of those concerned about the seabed drilling.



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