Secretary of State Robert Jenrick has given the go-ahead to a controversial new coal mine in Cumbria.
The mine, which will be situated in Whitehaven, West Cumbria will remove coking coal from beneath the Irish Sea for the production of steel in Europe and the UK.
Cumbria County Council approved the £165m mine in October, but the government could have called in plans for an inquiry, however, they have chosen not to.
In September 2020, Robert Jenrick rejected plans for an opencast coal mine at Druridge Bay in Northumberland, saving there is ‘limited objective evidence that the demand for coal for industrial purposes will remain at current levels beyond the very short term.’
Campaigners hoped that a similar decision would be made over the Cumbrian coal mine.
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.’
In related news, according to a report published in January last year by charity and think tank Green Alliance, any plans to develop new coal mines in the UK are ‘incompatible’ with the current legally-binding climate ambition for net-zero emissions by 2050.
The report outlines four ways that governing bodies can reduce the climate impact of steelmaking.
- Use less steel
- Recycle more steel
- Improve the efficiency of steel production in the blast furnace
- Produce steel without coal
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