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Government allows Cumbrian coal mine to go ahead

Decision undermines UK government claims of global leadership on climate crisis
  Published:  06 Jan 2021    |      2 minute read

Secretary of State Robert Jenrick’s decision to allow a controversial new coal mine in Cumbria to go ahead hugely undermines UK government claims of global leadership on the climate crisis, says Friends of the Earth.

Crucial UN climate talks are taking place in Glasgow later this year, hosted by the UK government.

Campaigners had hoped that the government would "call in" Cumbria County Council’s decision in October to give planning permission to the controversial new coal mine – leading to a public inquiry.

In September 2020, Mr Jenrick rejected plans for an opencast coal mine at Druridge Bay in Northumberland, saying there is “limited objective evidence that the demand for coal for industrial purposes will remain at current levels beyond the very short term”.

Friends of the Earth coal campaigner Tony Bosworth said:

“Mr Jenrick’s refusal to ‘call in’ this unnecessary and climate-wrecking coal mine shows jaw-dropping inconsistency.

“Only a few short months ago, the government cast real doubts over industry’s demand for coal, beyond the short-term, when rejecting an opencast mine at Druridge Bay in Northumberland. And last month the government said it would no longer support fossil fuel projects overseas.

“Allowing coal to be extracted from this proposed mine for over a quarter of a century completely undermines the government’s credibility on the climate crisis – especially ahead of the crucial UN summit later this year, which the UK is hosting.

“Global leadership on the climate emergency means leaving coal in the ground, where it belongs.”

Dr Ruth Balogh of West Cumbria & North Lakes Friends of the Earth said:

“It’s astonishing and desperately disappointing that the government isn’t calling in this damaging coal mine.

“West Cumbria badly needs local jobs – but these should be generated by investing in clean energy and building a greener future, not industries that threaten the planet.

“The region has already experienced the effects of the climate crisis from recent flooding. Unless we say no to fossil fuels this will only get worse.”

The climate crisis is already here.

Notes to editors:

  1. Friends of the Earth says there are numerous reasons why a new, deep, coal mine off the coast at St Bees in Cumbria should be rejected, including:
    • Coal must be left in the ground to help the UK play its part in avoiding catastrophic climate change
    • A new coal mine means more climate-wrecking emissions
    • There are huge doubts over a market for the mine’s coal beyond the very short-term, despite the 29-year life span proposed for the mine. These doubts were echoed by Mr Jenrick in September, when rejecting an opencast coal mine in Northumberland
    • Cumbria should invest in long-term, green jobs for the future
  2. Friends of the Earth reaction [2 October] to Cumbria County Council’s decision to give the go ahead to the new mine – plus more details on why Friends of the Earth doesn’t believe the mine should be allowed.
  3. Friends of the Earth reaction to Mr Jenrick’s decision in September to reject an application for an open cast coal mine at Druridge Bay in Northumberland.