October date for Cumbria coal mine legal challenge

Press release
Hearing will challenge "significant climate-related errors" in allowing mine to proceed
  Published:  31 May 2023    |      1 minute read

Two legal challenges to the government’s decision to grant planning permission for a controversial new coal mine in West Cumbria will be heard 24-26 October, the High Court has said.

The challenges by Friends of the Earth and South Lakes Action on Climate Change (SLACC) will take place over three days in a ‘rolled up’ hearing. In practice this is the same as a trial, in that the court is expected to allow each claimant to argue its case in full.

Friends of the Earth lawyer, Niall Toru, said:

“We have a strong case against the decision to grant planning permission for this coal mine and look forward to setting it out before the court in October. The Secretary of State made a number of significant climate-related errors in allowing this mine to proceed which we believe makes his decision unlawful.“

Carole Wood, Chair of SLACC, said:

“I am very glad that the court has decided to set aside three days in October for this hearing. Michael Gove's rationale for approving a new UK coal mine, that would extract and export coal until 2050, was seriously flawed, and involves issues of national and international importance that must be examined.”


Notes to editors

  1. Permission for the “rolled up” hearing was granted earlier this month, but the date for the case has only just been decided. A joint press release issued by SLACC and Friends of the Earth – after permission to hear the case was granted - is here: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/climate/high-court-agrees-hear-coal-mine-legal-challenge
  2. The court’s guidance explains the process for a ‘rolled up hearing’ (para 
  3. Read a short summary of SLACC's case.
  4. View a Friends of the Earth briefing on its legal challenge.
  5. SLACC is represented on this case by Matthew McFeeley of Richard Buxton Solicitors and by Estelle Dehon KC and Rowan Clapp of Cornerstone Barristers.
  6. Friends of the Earth is represented by Rowan Smith at Leigh Day solicitors, and by Paul Brown KC, Alex Shattock (both Landmark Chambers) and Toby Fisher (Matrix Chambers). Friends of the Earth’s lead in-house lawyer on the case is Niall Toru.