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:
SLACCtt Cumbria Coal Mine Campaign https://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).
KCCH – Keep 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.
SLACCtt posts re coal mine: http://slacc.org.uk/campaigns/cumbria-coal-mine/ & This is a list of relevant news posts:
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
Global Energy Monitor brief summary here: www.gem.wiki/Woodhouse_Colliery
Global Energy Monitor summary here: www.gem.wiki/Woodhouse_Colliery
NEWS – in reverse chronological order, most recent at top
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.
21aug20 20th August Demonstration – XR 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:
Aim: 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:
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:
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 @imliamwaite – News&Star with The Cumberland News.
13aug20 Debate over controversial new coal mine continues ahead of key decision By Liam Waite @imliamwaite 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 @GreeneTommy 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 Tim Deere-Jones briefing report commissioned by KCCH: WEST CUMBRIA MINING: WOODHOUSE COLLIERY PROPOSAL RADIOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS of POTENTIAL SEABED SUBSIDENCE SEISMICITY & “FAULT RE-ACTIVATION” beneath The CUMBRIAN MUD PATCH: INDUCED BY “MASS REMOVAL”, RAPID EXTRACTION & VOID SPACE CREATION
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
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. Lisa Holland Climate change correspondent @LisaatSky 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’ 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 @nwem_t 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.
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 scrapped’ Joe 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’
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
More links to add here
20mar19 Backing for new deep coal mine development sparks row Video report by ITV News Science Editor
19mar19 Deep coal mine gets go ahead in Cumbria despite protests Environmental campaigners say backing for Woodhouse colliery cannot be justified – Phillip Inman in The Guardian. @phillipinman
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.