Whitehaven coal mine: Links to relevant news items & publications

Collated by Dr Henry Adams. List started in 2020 but will add more 2019, 2018, 2017 items when time permits. Scroll down for NEWS section.


Other locations for relevant news:

NB: Since starting this news collation, SLACCtt have significantly increased information re WCM issue on its web-pages, and I recommend this as the core web location to go to for the latest key information on the mine:
SLACCtt Cumbria Coal Mine Campaign – SLACC http://slacc.org.uk/campaigns/cumbria-coal-mine/

Link to my hub page about the proposed mine:
The Whitehaven coalmine proposal will result in huge CO2e emissions (9 Mt pa for up to 5 decades). This is a hub page with some relevant links on this and related matters

Link to my page: Steel-making news in 2020, focusing on its decarbonisation Relevant because WCM state that their coal will metallurgical coal for Europe (87%) and the UK (13%) blast furnaces (though request CumbriaCC not to put a condition on its end-use).

KCCHKeep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole (Marianne Birkby) also collates news items on the coal mine application. MB also runs Radiation Free Lakeland group and “proximity to Sellafield” is important to her. Leigh Day are acting for her/KCCH.

XR South Lakes here at xrsl.earth provides useful punchy key points.
Coal Action Network: 11jun20 Object to a new 50-year coking coal mine in Cumbria and other more recent web-pages.

Also see: tweets by e.g. CAN Coal Action Network UK @CoalActionUK

Global Energy Monitor brief summary here: www.gem.wiki/Woodhouse_Colliery

PETITION: To: Robert Jenrick: Stop the Cumbria Coal Mine! – Campaign created by Anne Harris of Coal Action Network.

Note that although I am part of the SLACC team against the coal mine (and started the SLACC team), any views I express here are my own personal views, and must not be taken as representing position views of the SLACC team.


NEWS – in reverse chronological order, most recent at top

19jan21 Business secretary admits ‘tension’ between UK’s climate commitments and plans for coal mine | The Independent – Daisy Dunne – ‘Giving the go-ahead to a new coal mine does more than create a “slight tension” with climate policy, it drives a coach and horses through it,’ a campaigner said.
Henry Adams on Twitter: “By @daisydunnesci re COAL MINE Q&A’s by MPs & with strong responses by @tonybosworth & @doug_parr Good to see coverage of this. I hope pressure continues for a re-think by Jenrick. @slacctt’s solicitor has emailed this to @mhclg

19jan21 Today in a BEIS Select Committee discussion, 2 Ministers were questioned on the Cumbria Coal mine Alok Sharma (COP26 President) and Kwasi Kwarteng (SoS BEIS) [BTW: KK has received big donations from fossil fuel co.s]. See e.g. next post by Daisy Dunne…

19jan21 Teenage climate campaigners on hunger strike over plan for new UK deep coal mine | The Independent Jane Dalton. Two teenage climate activists are five days into a hunger strike in protest at the government giving the go-ahead to a new coal mine. Elijah Mckenzie-Jackson, 17, and Lissy Green, 15, have been refusing all food in the hope of convincing ministers to rethink what they call an “insane” and “immoral” decision. …

19jan21 Government defends approval of UK’s first deep coal mine in 30 years despite climate outcry | The Independent – Jane Dalton. Britain will be a ‘laughing stock’ as ministers try to persuade other nations to cut carbon emissions, say critics.
The government has defended its decision to allow the UK’s first deep coal mine in decades despite its policy of phasing out fossil fuels.
Joanna Averley, chief planning officer at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, said the mine in Cumbria had been given the go-ahead as it was deemed a “local” issue. … … …
… … …
Henry Adams, a consultant ecologist, expressed dismay at the view that the controversial mine was a “local” issue, saying the carbon dioxide from the mine would be “of national importance in scale”. And the emissions would be of international importance for the UK’s credibility as host of the COP26 climate talks, he said. …

19jan21 Government Urged to Review Coal Mine Approval in Light of New Climate Targets | DeSmog UK Caitlin Tilley.    Lawyers acting on behalf of environmental campaigners have written to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick arguing a proposed new coal mine in Cumbria would blow a hole in the UK’s recently announced Sixth Carbon Budget, and a decision on the project should be made at the national level.    The government’s refusal to “‘call in”’ the planning application for the first new deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years, which would have led to a public inquiry, has caused widespread outrage.     South Lakes Action on Climate Change (SLACC), a Cumbrian charity, is urging Jenrick to reconsider his decision not to block the development of a new coal mine in Cumbria, which risks undermining the UK’s image as a climate leader ahead of the COP26 UN summit.    Jenrick has the authority to override local planning authorities, but has refused a request to do so.    Richard Buxton Solicitors have sent a letter to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) on behalf of SLACC “respectfully requesting” that Jenrick reconsider his decision not to review the Whitehaven coal mine after the government’s Committee on Climate Change released its Sixth Carbon Budget last month.     The Whitehaven coal mine would emit 3.7 times more carbon dioxide per year than the “available emission space” set out in the Sixth Carbon Budget. From 2026, only 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions are available for the operation of all UK coal mines, while the annual operational emissions from the Cumbrian mine are expected to total over 366,000 tonnes.    The letter also notes estimates from the government’s climate advisers suggesting coal use in steel-making will decrease significantly in the coming decades, conflicting with figures Cumbria County Council used to approve the project. … … …
15jan21 Coal mine opponents threaten legal action (theecologist.org) Catherine Early. Campaigners are infuriated that a deep coal mine in Cumbria has been permitted, and are fighting back.     
A crowdfund campaign to finance legal action against the approval of a deep coal mine in Cumbria has passed its initial target of £10,000 just two days after it was launched.
South Lakes Action on Climate Change (SLACC) wants to challenge a decision by Cumbria County Council to give the go-ahead to the project through judicial review. More than £16,300 had already been donated to the campaign at the time of publication. …

7&10jan21 SLACC presents new evidence to CCC – SLACCexcellent work by SLACC’s solicitor. Well worth reading. Or access via SLACC’s hub page re the coal mine: Cumbria Coal Mine Campaign – SLACC

c.7jan21 Tim Farron speaks strongly on BBC Look North: BBC iPlayer – Look North (North East and Cumbria) – Late News: 07/01/2021 Go to 6:40 (2.5mins long). 

7jan21 UK net zero commitment questioned, as government allows new coal mine (climatechangenews.com) The UK government has been accused of “rank hypocrisy” for letting a new coal mine go ahead while seeking to lead on climate as hosts of Cop26 summit. By 
The UK government will not block the controversial opening of the UK’s first deep coal mine in 30 years, despite major environmental objections. … Includes statements by Rebecca Willis and Tim Farron.

6,7,8jan21 Greta Thunberg weighs in on UK Government not calling in plans for west Cumbrian mine | Border | ITV News 18 year old Amy Bray speaks very well (in Lewis Warner’s video report). So too do Maggie Mason and Mike Berners-Lee (in Sam Parker’s video report).

6jan21 Government will NOT call in west Cumbrian mine plans | Border | ITV News

6jan21 Today the SoS MHC&LG Robert Jenrick made known his decision not to call in WCM’s application for the coal mine but to leave it to the local decision-makers at Cumbria County Council – despite this being of not just national importance but also international importance because of UK hosting COP26.
Maggie Mason who leads the SLACC team against the coal mine (which includes me) has written this on the SLACC website: Coal Mine Campaign Update 6/01/2021 – SLACC

6jan21 Whitehaven coal mine: Government refuses to call in plans – BBC News

26oct20 Minister and Friends of the Earth join legal challenge over Horse Hill oil production BY  A government minister and an environmental organisation are to participate in a legal challenge over the climate effects of oil production at a site in Surrey.
Interesting parallels with our case against the coal mine e.g. consideration of indirect emissions from end-use, Paris Agreement/Heathrow…

14oct20 Labour is opposing the UK’s first new deep coal mine in 30 years. Now Robert Jenrick must do the same It would signal to the world that the UK is utterly duplicitous when claiming to be tackling the carbon emissions which are causing horrific impacts across the globe, writes Donnachadh McCarthy in The Independent.

9oct20 SLACC emails call-in request letter to Robert Jenrick SoS MHCLG (pdf). Or get to via https://slacc.org.uk/call-in-request/
I strongly recommend this letter is read. 

9oct20 Lessons from the coalface: what the Cumbria coal mine story tells us about UK climate strategy by Rebecca Willis in Inside Track – Green Alliance blog. Another insightful piece by Rebecca Willis.

3oct20 onwards SUBSTITUTION – 101 ISSUES. SAY WHAT? Posted on in climate change Notes on Cumbria Councty Council’s (CCC) October 2,2020 Meeting. Application 4/17/9007 – West Cumbria Mining (WCM) – Woodhouse Colliery By Ciara Shannon.

oct20 PETITION: To: Robert Jenrick: Stop the Cumbria Coal Mine! – Campaign petition created by Anne Harris of Coal Action Network to put pressure on the SoS MHCLG to call in the application for a public planning inquiry.

2oct20 Plans for controversial coal mine in West Cumbria approved By Jenny Brown  Reporter, News & Star with The Cumberland News. Thank you Jenny for quoting from my 5 minute talk.

2oct20 Cumbrian Councillors go against climate consensus and approve coking coal mine – Coal Action Network.

2oct20 CumbriaCC’s DC&R ctte as expected voted with a big majority to approve planning permission for the mine but cannot implement pp unless SoS MHCLG Robert Jenrick allows them: We hope he calls in the application for a public planning inquiry, and SLACC will be submitting a call-in request letter.

(Above continued) DC&R ctte voting results: 12 for, 3 against, 2 abstained, 1 didn’t vote. On both previous occasions the vote was unanimous in favour of approving WCM’s application (subject to conditions etc). Today the 3 against were from all 3 Parties on the ctte, and included the Chair and Vice-Chair. BBC’s Robert Cooper tweeted that “The ones who voted against were Hilary Carrick, Geoff Cook and Alan McGuckin. The abstentions were Roger Bingham and Mark Wilson, while Kevin Hamilton didn’t vote. Everyone else voted for”.
One of those against did not accept the substitution argument, arguing that the US coal mines would try and sell elsewhere what coal they are stopped from selling to Europe if outcompeted by WCM.
The proposer of the motion to approve, with regards climate science, said that scientists make mistakes, and we mustn’t put faith in their climate change “theory” (clearly not accepting the increasing evidence of what has already happened). Another voting to approve admitted his decision was from a local not global remit.
My own personal view of this meeting and the Officers Report the week before is that they are helpful in providing us with additional errors and highlights of system-failures that we can use in the next stage, whether it be inquiry or Judicial Review.

Re 2oct20 CumbriaCC Agenda and minutes: Agenda [and minutes] for Development Control and Regulation Committee on Friday, 2nd October, 2020, 9.00 am | Cumbria County Council
The 2 Microsoft Teams videos of the proceedings are linked to in the ‘Agenda frontsheet’ pdf which is linked to from the Agenda and minutes page.
Other related links: Development Control and Regulation CommitteeFriday, 2nd October, 2020 9.00 am LINK

2oct20 Dr Henry Adams 5 minute talk for DC&R ctte mtg on Friday 2oct20 re WCM application (pdf) as read out at c.1:52:00 in the 1st of the 2 Microsoft Teams video recordings (see link above). Text for other speakers can be read in the minutes (also link above).

2oct20 Cumbrian coal mine: SGR objection – links to Dr Stuart Parkinson’s objection letter on behalf of SGR of 14june20. He also spoke at the DCR online mtg on 2oct20 and attacked the substitution claim.

1oct20 Revealed: Government may intervene in Cumbria coal mine application – Tommy Greene
The council is set to approve the mine – but government could over-rule them.

MHCLG send a Holding Direction to CumbriaCC not to proceed with implementing planning permission for the mine if they decide to approve it, as the SoS MHCLG Robert Jenrick is to decide whether to call in the application or not. If called in, a public planning inquiry is likely to be set up to provide recommendation via a Planning Inspector to the SoS on which way to decide. This is good news – as an inquiry would be the best route now available for us to stop the mine, and would allow us to have expert witnesses speaking on the important relevant subjects. 

1oct20 The economics of coal and steel, as relating to the proposal for a mine at Woodhouse Colliery, Cumbria – pdf of letter by Professor Paul Ekins, Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy, Director, UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources.

1oct20 SLACC: Latest Objection to Coal Mine proposals 1st October pdf of letter emailed by Maggie Mason on behalf of SLACC. SLACC has today submitted this letter to Paul Haggin, the manager of development control handling this case, supported by a new letter from Professor Paul Ekins. See the summary blog…“. Also links to Professor Paul Ekins 1 October letter. I strongly recommend this web-page & 2 linked-to pdf’s are read. Subtitles:
SLACC’s Second Objection – Woodhouse Colliery – Development of a new underground metallurgical coal mine. Planning Application 4/17/9007
Some points of our Second Objection included: [vg summary]

30sep20 Statement on the proposed 2049 end-date for this development [pdf of letter to Angela Jones, Minerals and Waste Planning, Cumbria County Council by Professor Paul Ekins and other signatories, mostly Professors and Doctors in relevant fields of science]
“As independent experts with specialist knowledge in this area (listed at the end of this statement), we write to express our concern about your recommendation that the Planning Committee approve this proposal.
In particular, we do not agree that placing a condition on development, requiring the mine to cease operation in 2049, complies with the UK’s legal obligations on climate change, namely the Climate Change Act and the Paris Agreement. …”

30sep20 The climate context and timeline: a 2 page summary briefing for Councillors by Dr Henry Adams (pdf) – as emailed to cllr members of CumbriaCC’s DC&R ctte who will vote this Friday on the coal mine. 

24sep20 CumbriaCC upload their Planning Officers Report onto their website today and as expected it recommends the DC&R ctte on 2nd October to approve WCM’s amended application, though adds changes. Again it mentions but in effect ignores the huge end-use emissions of the coal that would be extracted.

22sep20 SLACC post re: Last minute response to SLACC objections Cumbria Coal Mine Campaign I quote: On 21 September The County Council  informed SLACC’s coal mine team  about a “Response to Objections document” that West Cumbria Mining had submitted to them 10 days before. It is 90 pages long and can be found here on the CCC planning site or alternatively use our links below.
Notifying us so close to the Committee on 2 October gives objectors very little time to study it and respond. Why did they hold on to it for 10 days before telling us?  See bottom of this post for our latest response to this. …
[The SLACC web-page links to the main WCM response document and its 4 appendices].

21aug20 20th August DemonstrationXR South Lakes. On 20th August XRSL joined with other campaigners to hold a demonstration at New Road Common, Kendal. We were opposing West Cumbria Mining’s plans to extract nearly 3 million tonnes of coal a year (until 2074) from their proposed mine near Whitehaven, Cumbria. …

20aug20 Protest demo in Kendal against the coal mine:
P1090774(4)LBsAim: to keep up pressure on CumbriaCC while they finalise their Planning Officers Report to the DC&R ctte which will recommend either approval (most likely with conditions & subject to a legal agreement) or rejection. Link to press release (pdf).

20aug20 In Westmorland Gazette:
WCM WestGaz 20aug20

9sep20 Victory for environmentalists as plans for major North East coal mine rejected  Tommy Greene in Left Foot Forward.

19aug20 The end of coal in County Durham Isobel Tarr (Coal Action Network UK) in The Ecologist.

18aug20 Cumbria: protests build before coal mine decision By rs21 members rs21 members report on a showdown between coal mining developers in Cumbria and local communities demanding a break with fossil fuel extraction and its ecological damages.

18aug20 update of Presentation on our case against the proposed Coal Mine – SLACC links to update of Maggie Mason’s powerpoint presentation on the coal mine.

18aug20 Climate crisis: County Durham’s last coal mine closes, following successful campaign by locals and environmental activists Protests and thousands of objections were lodged against extension of Bradley open cast mine before government rejected planning application Harry Cockburn The Independent.
NB: read Maggie Mason’s comment beneath it:
WCM Maggie comment below Independent piece re end of Bradley opencast

16aug20 One of England’s last coalmines to close near Durham Bradley site to extract last coal two months after sister site in Northumberland ended production- Jillian Ambrose in The Guardian. This otherwise vg article is out-of-date re the deep coal mine in Cumbria. I have now updated JA and Phillip Inman re news since 1nov20.

13aug20 Decision on new £165million coal mine plans delayed again By Liam Waite  – News&Star with The Cumberland News.

13aug20 Debate over controversial new coal mine continues ahead of key decision By Liam Waite  News&Star with The Cumberland News.

13aug20 Climate campaigners share details of protests ahead of Cumbria coal mine decision Cumbria County Council will make the decision next Thursday (August 20) <<[update: decision postponed]. Luke Beardsworth-ACC in LancsLive. A good piece and including much of XRSL press release.

12aug20 ITV News Border: Campaigners began a week of protests today against a plans for a new coal mine near St Bees. It would be the first deep coal mine to be built in the UK for 30 years but those against it say the company’s assessment of its effects on climate change are flawed. Tweet with video of Maggie Mason (SLACC & XRSL) being interviewed

12aug20: 20 August 2020 was to be date for Cumbria County Council’s Development Control and Regulation Committee meeting to decide on WCM’s amended proposal – but this decision meeting postponed on 12aug20 to provisionally 2oct20. Reason: failure to finalise Planning Officers Report to the ctte. But XR-SLACC joint demo in Kendal to go ahead on 20aug to maintain pressure on CumbriaCC and increase publicity and media attention.

August – XRSL & SLACC joint press release re the coal mine (pdf)

21jul20 South Cumbria MPs at odds over county’s controversial coal mine plans By Tommy Greene  in Westmorland Gazette.

12july20 £165m West Cumbria mine plans may have to be decided ‘in person’ By Liam Waite  @imliamwaite News and Star. On news from CumbriaCC’s Paul Haggin.

13jul20 British coal’s last stand Two Australian-owned companies are among the miners trying to resuscitate a dying industry in one of its historic heartlands. By Hans van Leeuwen Europe correspondent of AFR – Australian Financial Review. Behind paywall but CAN have text. A very interesting insightful take on the political narrative. But it omits some key points: I tweet some of these to HvanL.

9july20 Coal culture wars are generated by money and power – Professor Rebecca Willis in The Times Red Box. She has also posted Coal culture wars are generated by money and power on her website – a version with references. That’s 2 pieces published by our SLACC team on the mine on the same day. Mine:

9july20 My ‘Steel without coal‘ letter appeared in today’s issue of the Westmorland Gazette.

2july20 NEW CALL IN REQUEST FROM KEEP CUMBRIAN COAL IN THE HOLE TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE. by Marianne/KCCH: Her call-in request focuses on 1. WCM’s request for relaxation of conditions on coal quality and end-use, 2. subsidence risks, 3. ground liquefaction risk. For 2. she refers to Tim Deere-Jones’s briefing report  title see 11jun20 below.

Excellent news and with helpful implications re Cumbria:
1july20 Banks Group’s bid to extend Bradley site, at Dipton, denied The Northern Echo.
1july20 Banks Group’s Bradley West coal mine expansion plan rejected BBC.

29jun20 Video: Prof. Paul Ekins: New U.K. coal mines do not ‘save’ CO2 – on Coal Action Network website. 

24jun20 I/we receive email from CumbriaCC that “Due to unprecedented numbers of representations being received on this application, including some received after the Consultation deadline and some that have contained new evidence, the Council has decided to postpone taking this application to the Development Control and Regulation Committee for a decision on 8th July in order to properly consider all representations and documentation received. The Council will now look to provide an alternative date. Please check our website on www.cumbria.gov.uk for further information”. The legally powerful SLACCtt submission must have played a major part in this:

22jun20 SLACCtt submits its objection letter with associated documents from experts, to CumbriaCC. For links to these documents, and other significant objections, visit SLACCtt Cumbria Coal Mine Campaign. Maggie Mason applied her planning expertise, together with help from SLACCtt’s legal team, to write a very thorough and comprehensive letter, described as “forensic” by CAN, that highlights failures to follow due planning process within WCM’s amended application. We hope these failures by WCM are not again parroted by CumbriaCC Planning Officers.
My rushed letter submitted by the end of the 15 June deadline, examined WCM’s application from a climate science viewpoint (also linked to on the SLACCtt web-page, together with some important other objections).
Also uploaded were e.g.:
5-page Report by the MPI – the Materials Processing Institute (‘UKs centre for innovation in the steel and metals industry’) on the feasibility and timeline for decarbonisation of the steel-making industry (dated 11june20) put online by SLACCtt – who commissioned the report.

19jun20 WWF submits  a new request to the SoS MHCLG Robert Jenrick to call-in WCM’s amended application: uploaded onto SLACCtt website

15jun20 was the closing date for submissions of objections to Cumbria County Council against WCM’s amended proposals for a coal mine at Whitehaven. The SLACCtt link here gave help to people to add objections. XR-SL also provided help. So too Marianne/KCCH:
OBJECT!!! To the New Plan for the Coal Mine Before 15th June
SLACCtt gained an extension for our submission.

14jun20 Response to West Cumbria Mining from authors of
Green Alliance report Professor Rebecca Willis, Professor Mike Berners-Lee, Rosie Watson, Mike Elm

4jun20 Good objection letter by Martin Kendall now on KCCH website.


11jun20 Nant Helen opencast mine to close after licence rejected over climate Welsh ministers refuse a licence for coal extraction, on climate grounds. v encouraging because: 1) clear statement that further investment in fossil fuel extraction is incompatible with UK climate objectives 2) focuses on jobs and just transition”

2jun20 UK coalmines operator Hargreaves Services to end mining next month Durham-based firm says decision has been made because coal has ‘limited future’ in UK – Jillian Ambrose, Guardian. … “… British power plants and steelworks with coal imports via the ports of Immingham and Newport.
The company does not intend to mine coal elsewhere as it is clear that coal has a limited future, as is reflected in the government’s policy statement. … … British Steel, one of its key customers.” …

20may20 Leigh Day: Vindication for campaigner fighting plan for deep coal mine in West Cumbria “A campaigner, who issued a legal case against a proposed deep coal mine in West Cumbria on grounds that the climate change impact had not been properly taken into account, says she has been vindicated by the latest development in plans for the scheme. …”

18may20 Great News! Green Light for Coal Mine is Now Amber, Thanks to You! – posted by Marianne on KCCH blog. My response: Congratulations Marianne Birkby (KCCH) and Leigh Day!

13may20 Today Cumbria County Council (Development Control) made available on their website numerous documents from WCM showing WCM’s Amended Proposals and Other Information (submitted in May 2020). “… The main amendments to the proposal include the following:
· An amendment to the Coal Processing process so that it produces only coking coal with no middlings coal as a by-product;
· A Green House Gas Assessment for the construction, operation, and decommissioning of the mine;
· An updated Planning Statement;
· Updated drawings. and Statement of response to the Green Alliance Report” …

28apr20 UCL Economist Prof Paul Ekins O.B.E refutes coal company greenwash – Coal Action Network UK. A very useful statement by an authority in this field. He debunks the ‘substitution’ argument used by Banks Group, WCM and CumbriaCC, and by supporters of fossil fuel extraction worldwide (e.g. in Australia).

21apr20 Coal Action Network @CoalActionUK tweet: EDF are considering closing West Burton coal power station when the governmental handouts end in September 2021. @The_Banks_Group supplies coal to the power station, alongside imported coal. @EurBeyondCoal #ditchcoal #endcoal https://bit.ly/2RVOAPG Links to:
20apr20 EDF to review UK coal plant West Burton’s future after Sep 2021 S&P Global Platts.

16apr20 BBC Inside Science – Lockdown lessons for climate change and the carbon neutral Cumbrian coal mine – The coal mine piece starts 15:30 onwards and is well worth listening to, as Lancaster University Professors Rebecca Willis and Mike Berners-Lee are interviewed. CumbriaCC and WCM did not wish to participate. Jonathan Church from Client Earth is then interviewed on the legal aspects on carbon accounting and coal extraction.
(In the first piece George Monbiot is asked what we can learn from the COV-19 lockdown that’s relevant to tackling climate change.)

15apr20 re Banks Group and Druridge Bay planning decision – Interesting twitter thread started by Leo Roberts of E3G: (link here then follow this thread-branch)
Leo Roberts @leonickroberts Apr 15 Whether the planning decision is imminent or delayed, it’s worth noting the deeply cynical opportunism of the @The_Banks_Group, who are trying to use the #COVID19 to wrongly justify a new coal mine at #Druridge Bay.
[links to the 1apr20 Northern Echo piece – see below]

10apr20 Spring Watch at St Bees & July Date for Coal Mine Challenge – by Marianne on KCCH website. “… PRESS NOTICE. 8th April 2020 POSSIBLE JULY DATE FOR CUMBRIAN COAL MINE LEGAL CHALLENGE Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole are challenging the decision by Cumbria County Council to allow the first phase of a major new coking coal mine deep under the Irish Sea.  The date for the Judicial Review is planned for the week commencing the 20th July (dependent on the situation with Covid19 restrictions) and will be heard at the High Court in Manchester. …”
Also read about interesting developments such as “WEST CUMBRIAN MINING ‘U-TURN’ ON MIDDLINGS COAL ? …”

1apr20 Government set to decide on new opencast coal mine near Druridge Bay – By Gavin Engelbrecht  gavinengelecho Chief Reporter (Stanley) in The Northern Echo.
Isobel Tarr of the Coal Action Network provides useful info debunking the claims by Banks Group for a need for the UK to extract its own coal instead of importing it.

1apr20 Government set to make decision on UK’s largest coalmine
Verdict expected after four years of protracted talks as production of the fossil fuel fell to record lows of 2.9m tonnes – Jillian Ambrose in The Guardian. Re Banks Group‘s proposed Highthorn open cast project near Druridge Bay, Northumberland.
I quote from Professor Mike Berners-Lee in his tweet: If Covid 19 were used as an opportunity to push decisions like this through while no-one is looking and while protest is not possible, it would be an unthinkable abuse of the lockdown.

31mar20 Fiddler’s Ferry and Aberthaw plants shut as firms ditch coal Shutdown of SSE and RWE plants comes before UK ban on coal-fired power from 2025 – Jillian Ambrose in The Guardian. Another 2 down, 4 to go!

24mar20 Coal mines emit more methane than oil-and-gas sector, study finds Josh Gabbatiss, Carbon Brief.
The fossil-fuel industry is understood to be one of the biggest sources of atmospheric methane, primarily due to leaks from the production of oil and gas.
However, a new paper published in the Journal of Cleaner Production suggests that coal mining may actually be a bigger contributor to levels of the greenhouse gas, with emissions set to grow considerably in the coming years.
This is even more pronounced when accounting for the impact of old coal mines that continue to seep methane long after they have been abandoned. To date, attempts to curb methane emissions from mines have been limited.
The authors of the new study say there are considerable gaps in the available data, and their results are based on extrapolations from the only nations for which sufficient information was available.
Nevertheless, their findings are the latest in a string of papers to suggest methane emissions from the fossil-fuel industry have been “severely underestimated”. … Links to:
19mar20 Methane emissions from fossil fuels ‘severely underestimated’ Robert McSweeney, Carbon Brief.

19mar20 What the Heathrow ruling means for future government decisions with a climate impact Posted on  by 
This post is by Katie de Kauwe, lawyer at Friends of the Earth.
This post has implications of relevance to UK’s coal extraction sites, and examples occur twice in its text.

28feb20 Several US coking coal mines cut output in 4Q – Argus Media

22feb20 Government ‘failing to show leadership’ over plans for new coal mines – Lisa Holland, Sky News
Some residents in Northumberland are against plans to open a new site near Druridge Bay, which has a rich history of coal mining. Climate change correspondent  Includes Professor Phil Taylor (Newcastle Uni. Engineering) debunking false claims by Banks’s spokesperson – claims similar to those by WCM Ltd and CumbriaCC wrt the Whitehaven coal mine:
But that is disputed by Professor Phil Taylor, who was the chief energy expert witness at a public inquiry.
Evidence was presented to the inquiry that emissions created by transportation are insignificant compared to the emissions from burning coal.
Professor Taylor argues that coal from existing global coal mines should be used first as those are “committed emissions”.
He said: “If we want to make cement and steel we can do that with coal from other places. We can get that from coal mines that have already opened.”
He added: “If we don’t open Druridge bay coal mine then we’re not adding additional emissions from coal. So at some point, you’ve got to stop opening coal mines. Keep it in the ground.
“Every time we refuse to open a coal mine, global CO2 emissions are kept under control. Every time we open one global CO2 emissions increase – that’s the basic fundamental truth about this.
“The government, if it really is declaring a climate emergency and really wants to hit net zero by 2050, have to say no to a commercial project that is in direct conflict with dealing with climate change.” …                  YouTube video of Sky news clip

20feb20 West Cumbria coal mine protest: Copeland Mayor Mike Starkie calls mine activists ‘wasters’ By Rebecca Henrys Reporter, News&Star with The Cumberland News.
Useful statements by Maggie Mason. I have added a comment beneath RH’s article, and have copied the comment into a comment appended to this blogpost.

15feb20 Using Australian coal in Port Talbot ‘needs to stop’ www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-51407137 Includes errors of assumption by the local XR there. They should have consulted XR Cumbria.

14feb20 XR Furness take part in protest against new Cumbria coal mine By Tommy Greene    www.nwemail.co.uk/news/18235186.xr-furness-take-part-protest-new-cumbria-coal-mine/

13feb20 Whitehaven coal mine opponents stage demonstration – BBC

13feb20 Extinction Rebellion protest against west Cumbrian coal mine – ITV Border News.

12feb20 ‘It’s a Huge Step Backwards’: Teenagers Hunger Striking to Stop the UK’s Newest Coal Mine by Phoebe Cooke DesmogUK. Includes e.g. Lissy Green’s protest as well as a summary of current state-of-play.

11feb20 New coal subject to ‘full legal scrutiny’ – The Ecologist. 

8feb20 Legal review into coal west Cumbria mine decision By Rebecca Henrys News&Star with The Cumberland News

6feb20 Cumbrian campaign group granted permission for judicial review of County Council’s approval of coal mine – Leigh Day Press release
Campaign group, Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, have been granted permission for a judicial review of Cumbria County Council’s decision to allow the first deep coal mine in 30 years in the UK to be built.

5feb20 Exclusive: Coal mine approval faces judicial review over climate impact – ‘Environmental campaigners are launching a judicial review against Cumbria CC for giving the go ahead to what would be the UK’s only deep coal mine. Cumbria CC voted unanimously to resolve planning application for the project to build a deep coal mine in Whitehaven, West…’ – LGC Local Government Chronicle

5feb20 Council approves plans to build first deep coal mine for 30 years – Alex Thomson, Chief Correspondent, Channel 4 News www.channel4.com/news/council-approves-plans-to-build-first-deep-coal-mine-for-30-years – links to video of news item challenging CumbriaCC’s claim that the coal mine at Whitehaven will be “carbon neutral”.

30jan20 Schoolboy on climate hunger strike ‘won’t eat until new coal mine is scrappedJoe Roberts METRO

15jan20 Cumbria deserves better than this proposed coal mine – by Professor Rebecca Willis and Professor Mike Berners-Lee of Lancaster University, co-authors of The case against new coal mines in the UK in Insidetrack – Green Alliance blog 

More links to add here, e.g. yet to add Sophie Yeo’s articles.

6nov19 The dirty shame of the UK government’s addiction to coal By Lottie Limb ecohustler ‘A proposed new coal mine reveals this government’s deep commitment to out-dated, polluting technology’ 

3nov19 UK’s first deep coal mine in decades given approval in ‘kick in teeth in fight to tackle climate change’ | The Independent | The Independent


1 nov 19 (Friday) The SoS for MHCLG Robert Jenrick quietly announced his decision not to call in the application by WCM Ltd for a coal mine at Whitehaven. His argument was to leave it to the local planning authority to decide (which they have) [despite the fact that the size of the total CO2e emissions will be nationally significant, and our reasons for a gov call-in still apply but have been ignored]
1/11/19 Decision letter issued by SoS MHCLG is available on CumbriaCC website here (see under heading “Decision” – to the right): https://planning.cumbria.gov.uk/Planning/Display/4/17/9007

31oct19 (Thursday) CumbriaCC mtg of DC&R ctte in which cllrs members of the ctte voted unanimously to approve the ratification of their 19mar19 decision, again unanimous, to approve WCM Ltd’s planning application for the land-based part of their Woodhouse Colliery project, despite our objections.

12sep19 Make Cumbria Carbon Neutral – Motion to CCC 11 September 2019
Cllr Rebecca Hanson – and see my appended comments on how CumbriaCC’s approval of the coal mine makes a mockery of CumbriaCC’s motion [unless CumbriaCC at least admit its big mistake]. The cllr’s response shows that the motion is in large part a PR greenwash, because she opts to ignore the huge CumbriaCC-caused emissions resulting from the mine because they will largely occur outside of Cumbria’s county boundary. I hope she will change her mind on this…

30aug19 Sir David Attenborough’s dismay over west Cumbria coal mine Exclusive by Rebecca Henrys www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/17870274.attenboroughs-dismay-mine/ – also has comments by me below – with some facts to correct erroneous comments

More links to add here – re call-in request letters – see my hub-page re the coal mine for links.

12jun19 Net Zero by 2050 amendment to the CCA2008 “On 12 June 2019 the Government laid the draft Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment) Order 2019 to amend the Climate Change Act 2008 by introducing a target for at least a 100% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (compared to 1990 levels) in the UK by 2050. This is otherwise known as a net zero target because some emissions can remain if they are offset by removal from the atmosphere and/or by trading in carbon units. The Order came into force on 27 June 2019. …” – House of Commons Library ‘Net Zero in the UK’

1may19 MPs make history by passing Commons motion to declare ‘environment and climate change emergency’ Ashley Cowburn Political Correspondent @ashcowburn Independent. UK becomes first country to declare a ‘climate emergency’ – reaction by a Prof of Earth Science and Climate Change in Australia.

More links to add here

20mar19 Backing for new deep coal mine development sparks row Video report by ITV News Science Editor Tom Clarke

19mar19 Deep coal mine gets go ahead in Cumbria despite protests Environmental campaigners say backing for Woodhouse colliery cannot be justified –   @phillipinman in The Guardian.

19mar19 (Tuesday) CumbriaCC mtg of DC&R ctte in which cllrs members of the ctte voted unanimously to approve WCM Ltd’s planning application for the land-based part of their Woodhouse Colliery project, despite our objections.

More links to add here

18feb18 SLACCtt submitted its first objection letter to CumbriaCC against WCM coal mine application www.bit.ly/SLACCttNOtoCOAL1

2017 More links to add here e.g. re objection letters from Marianne Birkby (KCCH), FoE and others.

31may17 Cumbria County Council received the planning application from West Cumbria Mining (WCM). Available here:

2017 Note that opposition to the mine project was building up before 31may17 such as by Marianne Birkby and others.


  1. If West Cumbria Mining’s coal mine project at Whitehaven goes ahead it will result in total carbon emissions of around 9 million tonnes CO2e per annum, most of which is end-use emissions, and will have the same impact on climate where-ever emitted.
    This figure is huge! More than the emissions of a million British citizens (only half that number reside in Cumbria).
    It is equal to 2% of the UK’s annual territorial (production) emissions in 2018 of 448.5 Mt CO2e, and this figure will increase as a percentage as UK’s emissions are reduced over the coming years (if our government complies with UK’s emissions reduction targets).
    The figure 9 Mt CO2e is also over double the emissions of Cumbria in 2017 (3.8 Mt CO2) as stated in the 2019 BEIS ‘UK local authority and regional carbon dioxide emissions national statistics: 2005 to 2017’ This holds true even if we only consider the mine’s CO2 end-use emissions (not just total CO2e emissions).

    If the mine proceeds to full production, CumbriaCC will in effect “own” the emissions of 9 million tonnes CO2e per year (in the meaning of being responsible for the consequences), because their decision determined whether the coal will be extracted or not, and thus used, or not.
    These emissions will be Cumbria-caused emissions, or CumbriaCC-caused emissions.
    Their decision will thus – from the calculations above, mean that they have hugely increased Cumbria-caused emissions.
    So Starkie’s “way ahead” claim (from where?) will be made very obviously untenable.

    And by the way – not all steel is made using coking coal …
    And the steel industry has shown that it is already keen to reduce the % of steel made using coking coal …
    For example – Teeside plans to have a new Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) to make steel (UK exports much of its scrap) – which will significantly reduce the CO2e per tonne of steel as compared with using coking coal, especially if the electricity comes from wind turbines in the North Sea.
    And not just that …

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