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West Cumbria Mining plan for Whitehaven will not be scrutinised by Government

Aerial CGI of Woodhouse Colliery mine site

Plans for a mine off the coast of Whitehaven will not be scrutinised by the Government.

Cumbria County Council gave the go-ahead to West Cumbria Mining to create the mine, off Kells, last year.

But the Government had the option to ‘call-in’ that decision and campaigners pressed for it to happen.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron asked the Government to call it in.

Mike Starkie, mayor of Copeland, said he had been formally notified today that the Government would not be calling it in.

He said: “I am thrilled with the news that the Secretary of State will not be calling-in Cumbria County Council’s decision to approve the West Cumbria Mining application for Whitehaven.

“In the letter I have received today following my support of the mining application, the Minister of State for Housing writes that the Government has decided that this a decision best taken locally – and I wholeheartedly agree.

“The case has now been referred back to Cumbria County Council to complete the legal requirements on the decision their planning panel took in October, and I look forward to this process being completed as quickly as possible so this key project can finally get under way.

“This is a significant employment and new skills opportunity for Copeland and West Cumbria at this extremely challenging time, and will play a significant role in our economic recovery.

“It will supply the domestic and European steel industry with high quality metallurgical coal, thereby representing an important new export-led industrial project.

“This project has had my support since day one, as well as that of Copeland Council, our community and businesses, and it is extremely welcome news that it has taken this significant step forward today.”

Mr Farron said: “This decision is a complete disaster for our children’s future – an almighty backwards step in the fight against climate change.

“It’s utter and rank hypocrisy for this Conservative Government to claim one minute that they care about protecting our environment, and in the next give the green light to a deep coal mine.”

Dr Ruth Balogh, of West Cumbria and 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 Cumbia 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.”