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 page: Steel-making news 2020 onwards, 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).

On WCM’s CO2e emissions: WCM’s half-truth diversionary tactic re shorter shipping distances meaning savings in emissions | henryadamsblog (wordpress.com)

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

Cumbria County Council re re 4/17/9007: Minerals, Waste and County Council Planning Applications | Cumbria County Council 

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

7may21 Support for Cumbria coal mine dwindles as council sits on the fence | New Civil Engineer Rob Horgan.

6may21 Council reveals latest stance on Cumbrian coal mine | The Mail (nwemail.co.uk) George Lythgoe Estelle Worthington, North West campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “Once again, we see support for this controversial coal mine continue to fall by the wayside.”      “This only strengthens our position that it should never have been in the pipeline in the first place. We can fight both the climate crisis and unemployment by directing support to industries such as renewable energy. Now, as the time for public comments draws to a close, the case for dirty coal is at its weakest, both locally and nationally. Let’s put an to end this climate hypocrisy once and for all and leave Cumbrian coal in the ground.”’
6may21 Council reveals latest stance on Cumbrian coal mine | The Westmorland Gazette – Lythgoe. Same article as above and with same comments, including some by me.
6may21 Cumbria County Council withdraws support for coal mine | Times and Star James Robinson 
6may21 Climate change: Cumbria Council announces it is ‘neutral’ on fate of controversial Whitehaven coal mine (inews.co.uk) Will Hazell Education Correspondent.

6may21 This is the deadline for submitting statements to the Planning Inspectorate (except for Expert Wintesses – August)

13apr21 Coal: Can Britain open a mine while going green? It’s complicated. – CSMonitor.com Includes quotes from both sides including Karen Mitchell & other people worth reading.

12apr21 Boris Johnson told to get grip of UK climate strategy before Cop26 | Environment | The Guardian Fiona Harvey. The Cumbria coal mine referred to several times. Comments from people in other countries eg Christiana Figueres, Mar Robinson, Rachel Kyte, Jeffrey Sachs.

mar21 The public inquiry on WCM’s application is to start on 7 September Reference: APP/H0900/V/21/3271069 (planninginspectorate.gov.uk)

18mar21 Stop the Cumbria coal mine | Green World – here Maggie Mason summarizes the state of play now that Robert Jenrick (SoS MHCLG) has called in the coal mine for a public inquiry. Maggie Mason is lead for SLACC’s team against the coal mine. A “must read

17mar21 ‘Compelling reasons’ not to open Cumbrian coal mine, says Kwasi Kwarteng | Coal | The Guardian Damian Carrington. Links to BBC video of KK speaking 

12mar21 Cumbria coal mine: Public inquiry after government U-turn – BBC News

12mar21 Green jobs in Cumbria could far surpass posts in coalmine, report says | Coal | The Guardian

12mar21 Green industries could bring 9,000 jobs to county, report suggests (cumbriacrack.com)

12mar21 The Potential for Green Jobs in Cumbria – CAfS

11mar21 MHCLG letter to Cumbria County Council concerning West Cumbria Coal Mine, Whitehaven, Cumbria (publishing.service.gov.uk)

11mar21 Decision to call-in: West Cumbria Coal Mine – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

11mar21 20210311-FINAL-Call-in-decision-letter-lpa.pdf (slacc.org.uk)

10mar21 Cumbria is one place that could really benefit from a green recovery plan | Inside track (greenallianceblog.org.uk) post is by Nick Robins, professor in practice for sustainable finance at the LSE’s Grantham Research Institute, and Ciara Shannon, director of EdenWorks.

9mar21 US climate envoy John Kerry warns UK government coal has ‘no future’ amid growing concern over Cumbria mine | The Independent I thanked Emily Maitlis of BBC Newsnight for asking John Kerry his views on the mine.

8mar21 WCM launch legal challenge against Cumbria CC ! – SLACC

7mar21 Whitehaven coal mine firm seeks judicial review of council U-turn – BBC News

6mar21 STEPHEN BLEASE: We don’t need West Cumbria coal mine for jobs | News and Star 

5mar21 West-Cumbria-Mining-Statement-5th-March-2021.pdf – towards a JR against CumbriaCC! I hope that bullying of their “partner” backfires on them.

1mar21 Cumbria mine: is there a technical need for new coal mines in the UK? – CREDS via Valentin Vogl tweet: Valentin Vogl @valenvogl strong case made for a shift to material efficiency and low carbon steelmaking in the UK by @CREDS_UK

1mar21 Exclusive: Case for Cumbrian mine undermined by doubt over UK market for coking coal (telegraph.co.uk) Emma Gatten (with contributions from Maggie Mason). Not new news for us (we knew this last year) – but news for journalists and readers. 

1mar21 Cumbria coal mine plan ‘damaging PM’s reputation’ – BBC News Roger Harrabin.   Boris Johnson has been warned by some of his foreign ambassadors that a planned coal mine in Cumbria is damaging his reputation.   The PM wants to lead the world on climate change, but the ambassadors say his tacit support for the mine is bringing accusations of hypocrisy.   The issue has flared as the UK co-hosts a coalition of nations pledging to phase out coal in power generation.   The Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA) was initiated by the UK.  Supporters of the Cumbria mine argue it should be encouraged because it will produce special coking coal for steel making, not thermal coal for power.   But that’s too fine a distinction for some developing nations. They have accused the UK of hypocrisy for shunning one type of coal while backing another.   I understand some of the UK’s ambassadors have told the government the Cumbria controversy is making it harder for them to persuade other nations to contribute fully to the UN climate summit Mr Johnson will host in November.   Opponents of the mine say the government must support clean technologies to make steel without using coking coal. …

Cumbrian campaigners warn minister of legal action over coalmine | Cumbria | The Guardian Tommy Greene writes: Group tells Robert Jenrick it intends to contest his decision not to challenge plans for new deep mine.   A Cumbrian campaign group has given notice to the communities secretary that it intends to seek a legal challenge of his controversial decision to allow a new deep coalmine in the west of the county to go ahead.    Legal representatives acting on behalf of the South Lakeland Action on Climate Change (SLACC) group have written to Robert Jenrick’s office to notify him of the group’s intention to contest his “ongoing refusal” to call in the mining plans.    The pre-action protocol letter states that, if the secretary of state does not respond to the group’s arguments by 4 March, the campaigners will file for judicial review proceedings. …

25feb21 SLACC Challenges Robert Jenrick Decision – SLACC SLACC has now challenged the Secretary of State’s ongoing refusal to reconsider whether to “call in” the Cumbria Coal Mine application. Early this morning (25th February) a “pre-action” letter has been sent on our behalf by Richard Buxton solicitors, as the first step towards a Judicial Review. Read the letter here
We are hoping that Robert Jenrick will issue a “Holding Direction“ to prevent Cumbria County Council approving the application, and then properly act on SLACC’s request that the decision be called-in by considering the information that SLACC and the Committee on Climate Change has drawn to his attention. We are confident that, once the Secretary of State actually engages with that information, he will see that the application is of national and international importance, and will appoint a Planning Inspector to consider the issues. … Links to 2021_02_25-Pre-Action-Letter-to-SoS-MHCLG.pdf (slacc.org.uk)

24feb21 Steel firms announce plans for commercial scale hydrogen-based coal-free steel this decade. The largest collaboration being H2GS in Sweden: “Production will begin in 2024 and by 2030, H2GS will have annual production capacity of five million tons of high quality steel” [using H-DRI method]. Liberty Steel & partners also announces a MoU to build an H-DRI plant and electrolyser for hydrogen at Dunkerque. More information on both these and more at www.bit.ly/steelnews or Steel-making news 2020 onwards, focusing on its decarbonisation | henryadamsblog (wordpress.com)

20feb21 ‘Absolutely ridiculous’: top scientist slams UK government over coalmine | Coal | The Guardian Damian Carrington. Exclusive: Prof Sir Robert Watson says backing of Cumbrian mine refutes claims of climate leadership.
One of the UK’s most eminent environmental scientists has called the government’s failure to block a new coalmine in Cumbria “absolutely ridiculous”.    Prof Sir Robert Watson said the UK’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 to tackle the climate crisis was “wonderful”, but that there had to be a focus on immediate actions. The UK is hosting a UN climate summit, Cop26, in November and Boris Johnson has pledged to lead a green industrial revolution.   “The British government says, ‘We’re going to lead Cop26 in Glasgow, we really care about climate change. But, by the way, we won’t override the council in Cumbria, and we’ll have a new coalmine.’ Absolutely ridiculous!” Watson said. “You get these wonderful statements by governments and then they have an action that goes completely against it.”
Watson has led the UN’s scientific organisations for climate and biodiversity, is a former chief scientific adviser at the UK’s environment department and worked for Bill Clinton when he was US president. He has also held senior positions at Nasa and the World Bank. … Watson said decisions to stop carbon emissions were needed immediately: “We need action now. A lot of governments have said, ‘We’ll be zero carbon by 2050’. That’s wonderful [but] it’s 30 years away. The key message on climate is we need to have a 50% reduction of emissions by 2030. We’ve got to focus on short-term actions, not [just] long-term targets and goals.” …

20feb21 Date for county council rethink on controversial plans for coal mine due ‘shortly’ | News and Star A SENIOR Cumbria County Councillor has confirmed a date will be set soon for the reconsideration of the proposals for a new coal mine in West Cumbria.    Celia Tibble, the county council’s cabinet member for the environment, addressed fellow council members on the proposed coking coal mine at Thursday’s full council meeting.    Coun. Tibble, who is also a Labour councillor for the Seaton division, said that the decision to reconsider the planning application from West Cumbria Mining was taken in light of the report on the sixth carbon budget from the Government’s climate change committee.   “The recommendations of the report have yet to be considered or ratified by UK Government, but may have implications for the planning merits of this case,” she said.  “Legal and technical planning advice regarding this new information was considered before the decision to return to the council’s development control and regulation committee was reached.   “Officers will confirm a date for the [committee] to consider the application shortly.”    Coun. Tibble was pressed by Conservative councillor for Egremont North and St Bees, Chris Whiteside for more details – in particular whether there was any other reason for the decision “besides the advisory committee recommendation on the sixth carbon budget referenced in the challenge from Richard Buxton [Solicitors] on behalf of South Lakes Action on Climate Change, which he shared on Facebook?”    Coun. Tibble responded that she had been advised that any question asked on the West Cumbria Mining, because of the sensitivity of the issue, would have to be responded to in writing.    “I know that will be disappointing to you, but that is the legal advice I have received,” she said.

19feb21 2 things:
Tim Farron MP has tabled an EDM against the coal mine: South Lakes MP calls on Government to ditch plans for West Cumbria coal mine (cumbriacrack.com). West Cumbria Coal Mine – Early Day Motions – UK Parliament We do need to maintain pressure on government to not just call in the coal mine application but also to help provide green or non-coal jobs and/or jobs training (the false climate vs jobs dichotomy needs to be removed).
Another reason for both these priorities is that we’ve heard the CumbriaCC’s DC&R mtg to decide on the coal mine probably won’t be until June, which will prolong resolution of the mine issue so increasing the damage to UK’s COP26 credibility and thus the effectiveness of COP26. The knock-on impact of this on international emissions reductions commitments could be significant.

18feb21 It is disingenuous to claim that the UK is a ‘climate leader’ – the facts prove otherwise | The Independent An excellent opinion-piece by Tim Crosland Director of Plan B Earth in which he uses the Cumbria coal mine as his main example (among others) of the major dishonest flaws in UK government’s hypocritical pretence at being a ‘climate leader’. He also repeats his criticism of the false jobs vs climate dichotomy used to justify the mine.

18feb21 Cumbria coal mine: What is the controversy about? – BBC News – Harrabin. Appears to be an update of his balanced summary giving parts of both sides to the argument. He has some very useful concise bits for quoting e.g. “… the European steel industry, Eurofer, told me clean steel technologies might be available by then [the climate committee’s 2035 deadline] – so long as governments support research and development, and block unfair competition from dirty steel imports.” and “Does the UK steel industry need Cumbrian coal? This is a controversial issue and few in the industry are prepared to speak publicly. One said a supply of Cumbrian coal would allow his firm to save some cash by making more flexible orders. But he, and other industry figures I approached, said there were reliable supplies of suitable coal on the world market, and that Cumbrian coal was not essential for their business. They also think investors will want to put money into clean steel production in future.

9feb21 Cumbria County Council to reconsider coal mine decisionSLACC 

9feb21 Cumbria coal mine planning application to be reconsidered – Channel 4 News

9feb21 County council to reconsider Cumbria coalmine application | Mining | The Guardian Fiona Harvey & Tommy Greene. … But on Tuesday the county council announced that new information on the government’s carbon budgets had forced a rethink. The Committee on Climate Change published advice to the government in December on how to reach the legally binding target of net zero emissions by 2050. … … … Scientists have grown increasingly concerned about the mine. Ed Gemmell, the managing director of Scientists Warning Europe, said: “[It] would be disastrous for the net zero plans for the UK and send an appalling signal to the rest of the world in this critical year for the climate. Many top scientists now regard even 2050 as recklessly too late [to reach net zero emissions] if there is to be any chance of keeping the world under 1.5C. The majority of councils in the UK have made climate emergency declarations – Cumbria county council risks being the black sheep of the family if it allows this coalmine to go ahead.” …
9feb21 Controversial new coal mine plan to be reconsidered by Cumbria council | The Independent Daisy Dunne.

9feb21 £165 million Cumbrian coal mine decision to be reconsidered by county council – Cumberland and Westmorland Herald (cwherald.com) 

9feb21 Half of Britons think Cumbria coal mine would harm UK’s climate agenda | The Independent … A survey by YouGov found 47 per cent of people think the mine will have a negative impact on the UK – with just 9 per cent believing it will be positive. …

9feb21 Can we rescue Cop26 from destruction after Boris Johnson’s blundering hypocrisy? | The Independent Donnachadh McCarthy – strong-to-the-point words.

8feb21 Teen climate activists deliver petition to government over Cumbria coal mine | The Independent

9feb21 Why Europe doesn’t need Cumbria’s coking coal | Inside track (greenallianceblog.org.uk) By one of our contacts in Sweden – Valentin Vogl from Lund University (who is working on the decarbonisation of the steel industry) and a very helpful twitter thread by Valentin Vogl here: Good to have a perspective from Sweden: https://twitter.com/valenvogl/status/1359057107560124416

8feb21 Rebecca Willis @Bankfieldbecky today tweets: Together w 12 other academics, experts in resource economics, industrial decarbonisation & climate strategy, I’ve written to @BorisJohnson saying that the Cumbrian mine is incompatible with UK climate objectives. The letter’s here letter to the Prime Minister re Woodhouse Colliery FINAL (rebeccawillis.co.uk) and article referring to it here: Cumbria coal mine could break Paris Agreement, leading climate scientists tell Boris Johnson (telegraph.co.uk) Emma Gatten, 8feb21.

7feb21 Coalmine plans in Cumbria and a false dilemma | Fossil fuels | The Guardian Tim Crosland of Plan B Earth. Gaby Hinsliff’s piece (Plans for a Cumbrian coalmine illustrate the Tory dilemma: green policies or jobs?, 4 February), propagates an illusion advanced principally by vested fossil fuel interests: that we have to choose between green policies or jobs. In reality, no such dilemma exists.
The International Energy Agency and Oxford University’s Smith School of Enterprise have published reports which conclude that renewable energy infrastructure projects deliver far more jobs than economic stimulus for business as usual.
Nowhere is the false dichotomy of “prosperity versus the environment” more evident than in Cumbria, where so many families are the victims of devastating flooding, attributable to the fossil fuel induced climate crisis, leading to the collapse in the value of their homes. Precarious jobs in industries which increase the vulnerability of people in the region have nothing to do with levelling up.
Finally, the article implies that a carbon tax would hurt those on low wages. Under Prof James Hansen’s proposal for a “fee and dividend” approach to taxation, the opposite would be true. Since the wealthy consume more carbon, they pay more carbon tax, while low consumers earn the dividend and end up better off. Tim Crosland Director, Plan B

4feb21 We join more than 70 organisations in saying no to new Cumbrian coal mine – CPRE links to letter to Boris Johnson.
Our letter to the Prime Minister: stop the new Cumbrian coal mine – CPRE

4feb21 Top climate scientist warns PM over ‘contemptuous’ Cumbria coalmine plan | James Hansen | The Guardian Fiona Harvey. Exclusive: James Hansen calls on Johnson to stop support for fossil fuels in letter ahead of UN climate summit Read Hansen’s full letter here

3feb21 Mayor hits back at international criticism levelled at proposed west Cumbria mine | News and Star Tom Coleman.

3feb21 A New Coal Mine Undercuts U.K.’s Claim to Climate Leadership – Bloomberg The government’s defense of the new mine is a good case study of the doublespeak rife in climate diplomacy. By With quotes from Rebecca Willis, Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Paul Ekins, Doug Parr.
Trevelyan speaks half-truth misinformation to deceive.         Also here:
A New Coal Mine Undercuts U.K.’s Claim to Climate Leadership (msn.com)
A New Coal Mine Undercuts U.K.’s Claim to Climate Leadership | Financial Post
Trevelyan spoke against the Druridge Bay opencast link. The consistency here is that she is supporting other ministers.

2feb21 SLACC’s solicitor today sends another letter to SoS MHCLG: Jenrick still not re-considering coal mine, and still dodging climate impacts, so SLACC’s solicitor sends him another letter requesting he give ‘substantive’ answers including re Lord Deben CCCuk’s letter:
SLACC tweets @slacctt We have given SoS 14 days to reply or we are likely to send “a further letter in accordance with the pre-action protocol for judicial review”. #cumbriacoal #nonewcoal Dear Mr Jenrick. More thinking needed ! – SLACC which links to pdf of letter: Letter-to-Robert-Jenrick-2-February-2021.pdf (slacc.org.uk)

1feb21 To have any climate credibility, Britain must cancel its new coal mine (newstatesman.com) Catherine Bourke. The UK is still failing to demonstrate the environmental leadership needed ahead of this year’s COP summit. … Yet the fact Jenrick did not consider the matter of sufficient national importance to intervene suggests a worrying lack of climate awareness at the government’s heart. … [Concludes:] But even if this green coalition forces the government to review the mine’s approval, the reputational and symbolic damage to the UK must also be undone. The contrasting message sent by Joe Biden’s slew of executive orders on climate change demonstrates a better way forward. These orders formally enshrined the climate cause across every level of federal government. Britain must now urgently do the same.

29jan21 Letter: Deep Coal Mining in the UK – Climate Change Committee (theccc.org.uk) 
1. Outline
This is a letter from Lord Deben, Chairman of the CCC to Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government about the decision not to call in, or review, the recent decision of Cumbria County Council to grant planning permission to a new Cumbrian coal mine.
2. Key messages
The opening of a new deep coking coal mine in Cumbria will increase global emissions and have an appreciable impact on the UK’s legally binding carbon budgets. The mine is projected to increase UK emissions by 0.4Mt CO2e per year. This is greater than the level of annual emissions we have projected from all open UK coal mines to 2050.
The decision to award planning permission to 2049 will commit the UK to emissions from coking coal, for which there may be no domestic use after 2035. 85% of the coal is planned for export to Europe.
It is not the CCC’s role to act as a regulator or a planning authority, but we would urge you to consider further the UK’s policy towards all new coal developments, for whatever purpose.
This decision also highlights the critical importance of local councillors and planning authorities considering fully the implications of their decisions on climate targets. In this regard, I would ask that we discuss the provision of guidance to local authorities.
It is for Ministers to decide how the effort to reach Net Zero should be allocated across the economy, but it is also important to note that this decision gives a negative impression of the UK’s climate priorities in the year of COP26.
pdf of Deben’s letter also here

29jan21 The government’s reasons for not stopping the Cumbria coal mine are nonsense | Global Justice Now by Maggie Mason.

29jan21 MHCLG letter to Paul Haggin CumbriaCC – maybe sent just before letter from CCCuk’s letter to Jenrick/MHCLG? Hard to tell which came first. Here via Tory Workington MP and mine supporter.

25jan21 Tim Farron MP writes another letter against the coal mine, this one to COP26 President Alok Sharma.

24jan21 Climate change tsar Alok Sharma seethes at Robert Jenrick over Cumbria coalmine | News | The Sunday Times (thetimes.co.uk) Gabriel Pogrund, Sunday Times Whitehall Correspondent.     Boris Johnson’s climate change tsar is “apopletic” with a cabinet minister for approving Britain’s first new deep coalmine in decades.     Alok Sharma, who quit as business secretary this month to devote himself full-time to the presidency of the COP26 summit, is said to be furious with Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, for not stopping the mine in Cumbria.     On January 6, Jenrick formally refused to intervene in the £165m Whitehaven project to remove coking coal from beneath the Irish Sea for steel-making. Jenrick, 39, decided not to use his powers to call in the scheme, which would have given him the right to block it, instead telling councillors he was “content” for the decision to be made locally. A government source said Jenrick did not …
Gabriel Pogrund tweets:
@Gabriel_Pogrund I don’t think this is going away soon – decision to open a coal mine in Boris Johnson’s PPS’s constituency (first deep coal mine in 30 years) deeply complicates UK leadership at COP26 and our efforts to get other states to phase out coal/ go carbon neutral.

23jan21 Climate change: Six questions about the Cumbria coal controversy – BBC News Roger Harrabin. The bad example UK govt is showing has spread abroad to meet strong criticism. 

21jan21 Plans for new coal mine in west Cumbria are ‘disastrous’ says senior Labour MP | In Cumbria (in-cumbria.com) Tom Coleman.   A LABOUR shadow cabinet member has described plans for a new coal mine in Cumbria as “disastrous”, and hit out at the Local Government Secretary’s decision not to intervene on the decision-making over its future.     Naz Shah, the Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion and MP for Bradford West, levelled criticism at Conservative Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick on Monday for what she described as an “extraordinary decision” not to make an intervention in the decision-making process on whether or not proposals for the Whitehaven coking coal mine should go ahead. …

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 Coal mine go-ahead ‘undermines climate summit’ – BBC News Roger Harrabin.

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. …

14jan21 Government defends Cumbria coal mine green light – BBC News Roger Harrabin.

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

9dec20 Sixth Carbon Budget – Climate Change Committee (theccc.org.uk) published today

26oct20 A coal mine, trust, and just transition in Cumbria | New Economics Foundation … There are hundreds and thousands of green jobs that can be created in the local area. The Local Government Association published a conservative estimate of roughly 600 green jobs that could be created in Copeland up to 2030, while another estimate from Green House for the entire region of Cumbria puts the figure at 5,820. …

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

Minerals, Waste and County Council Planning Applications | Cumbria County Council re 4/17/9007

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

25mar19 Revealed: Planned Cumbria coal mine ultimately owned in Cayman Islands | Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate Jo Lo. The company has been criticised by the Tax Justice Network. … West Cumbria Mining Limited says it is 100% owned by West Cumbria Mining (Holdings) Limited. West Cumbria Mining (Holdings) Limited is 82% owned by EMR Capital Investment Limited (No. 3B PTE Ltd) – which is registered in Singapore. The ultimate parent entity of EMR Capital Investment Limited (No. 3B PTE Ltd) is EMR Capital Resources Fund 1, LP – which is registered in the Cayman Islands. …

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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