Cumbrian coal mine decision slammed

Press release
The approval of the mine is a costly and harmful mistake for the climate, the economy and the steel industry
  Published:  07 Dec 2022    |      2 minute read

The government’s decision to grant planning permission for a new coal mine in Cumbria has been slammed by Friends of the Earth.

Today’s decision by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, follows a Planning Inquiry in September 2021.

Friends of the Earth was one of the two main parties opposing the application for planning permission at the Planning Inquiry along with local campaign group SLACC (South Lakes Action on Climate Change).

Friends of the Earth’s lawyers will now study the detail of the decision and will consider our legal options.

Friends of the Earth campaigner, Tony Bosworth, said:

“This is an appalling decision. Approving this mine is a misguided and deeply damaging mistake that flies in the face of all the evidence. The mine isn’t needed, will add to global climate emissions, and won’t replace Russian coal.

“Scientists are clear that new fossil fuel projects are not compatible with meeting global climate goals to limit warming to 1.5C. 

“The market for this coal is rapidly disappearing as UK and European steelmakers recognise that green steel is the future, and this mine risks becoming an expensive stranded asset.

“West Cumbria deserves far better than this. Investing in cheap renewables and energy efficiency would put the region at the forefront of growing a clean, affordable and energy secure future – creating thousands of green jobs and opportunities locally.

“Last month’s decision to postpone an announcement on the mine now looks little more than a cynical ploy to try and avoid the embarrassment of approving it while the Prime Minister was trying to portray himself as a climate leader at the UN climate summit.

“Coal must be consigned to history books, along with this government’s harmful and outdated addiction to fossil fuels.”

Dr Ruth Balogh, co-ordinator of West Cumbria Friends of the Earth, said:

“This short-sighted decision is bad news for the climate and the region's long-term well-being. West Cumbria needs sustainable green jobs for the future – not a dirty coal mine. This will contribute to the planet-warming emissions that are causing extreme weather events all over the world, such as the intense flooding which we now experience more frequently across Cumbria.”

Rally on Saturday

Opponents of the mine will hold a protest against the decision at the site of the proposed mine on Saturday 10 December. Local spokespeople will be available for interview from 11.20am.

Rally meeting point will be at Marchon site, Whitehaven, on Wilson Pit Road, near junction with High Road. Google map pin drop:,-3.5906557,16z


Notes to editors

1. Cumbrian coal mine: Why the government should say no | Friends of the Earth press release:

2. Cumbria coal mine proposal is indefensible, says UK climate chief | BBC news online: