Coal mine rejection urged as Public Inquiry ends

Government must invest in green jobs for Cumbria
  Published:  01 Oct 2021    |      2 minute read

Proposals for a new coal mine near Whitehaven in Cumbria must be rejected, said Friends of the Earth and SLACC (South Lakes Action on Climate Change). The groups say the expert evidence presented against the mine has been overwhelming.

Friends of the Earth and SLACC are the two main parties opposing the application at the Public Inquiry which began on 7 September.

The inquiry has heard:

An expert witness for West Cumbria Mining (Jim Truman, a director of global energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie) accept that the case presented by the company showing a long-term demand for its coal relies on nations failing to meet their commitments for reducing climate emissions.

John Ashton, formerly the UK’s leading climate change diplomat, say that the mine is threatening prospects for critical global climate talks that the UK government is hosting next month. Mr Ashton said that while the mine remains a possibility “We will be doing serious damage to our ability through diplomacy to push up ambition anywhere else, not just on coal but on climate generally”. These views were echoed by another witness, Sir Robert Watson, former chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Rebekah Diski, from the New Economics Foundation, showed that most employees at the mine would be non-local and that the mine risks becoming a stranded asset as the push for green solutions to climate change across all sectors intensifies.

Friends of the Earth coal campaigner, Tony Bosworth, said:

“The inquiry has heard from experts that the climate case against the mine is overwhelming, the steel industry is moving away from coal use fast, and that the mine is affecting the prospect of success at critical climate talks next month. Boris Johnson said last month that it is easy being green – Michael Gove must show that this is right by rejecting the mine and investing in green jobs in West Cumbria.”

SLACC chair of trustees, Carole Wood, said:

“It’s taken us four years, with the help of many people around the world, to get to this point. Over the last four weeks under public scrutiny of its plans, this mining giant has struggled to respond to expert challenge of its evidence and claims. Ultimately coal from this mine would delay the end of coking coal use in steel making, increase emissions, and help push global temperature rise beyond 1.5 degrees. It must be stopped.”


Friends of the Earth has been represented at the inquiry by Paul Brown QC and Alex Shattock, both of Landmark Chambers.