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Cumbrian coal mine inquiry begins tomorrow

A public inquiry into the controversial Cumbrian coal mine will begin tomorrow (September 7). 

An application for the coal mine was first submitted in 2017 and in 2019 Cumbria County Council approved the plans for the first time. 

However, in February 2021, Lord Deben, chairman of the Climate Change Committee (CCC) said that the government’s inaction over the proposals gave a ‘negative impression of the UK’s climate priorities.’ 

Since then, Cumbria County Council said it would reconsider the planning application and in March 2021, Mr Jenrick, the communities secretary, decided to ‘call-in’ the controversial application, trigging a public inquiry. 

black and gray stones during daytime

Friends of the Earth will be one of the two main parties opposing the application. 

The organisation opposes the mine for a number of reasons, namely because the mine will increase global carbon emissions. 

They also highlight that the steel industry is already taking steps to decarbonise and is moving away from coal, they, therefore, state that a new mine is no longer necessary. 

The inquiry – which will be conducted online – is expected to last around four weeks. The planning inspector will make a recommendation to Mr Jenrick, with a final decision expected by Spring 2022.

In related news, ‘blue’ hydrogen may be worse for the environment than coal, say researchers at Cornell University.

Photo by Nikolay Kovalenko

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