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MPs welcome Government decision over West Cumbria Mining’s plans

Entrance to Woodhouse Colliery CGI

Copeland MP Trudy Harrison has welcomed the Government’s decision to reject calling in the £165 million West Cumbria Mining project for the second time.

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.

But minister Robert Jenrick, who previously rejected calls for the project to be called in in November 2019 said: “It is now for Cumbria County Council to determine the application.”

The project is supported unanimously by Cumbria’s Conservative MPs who  described today’s announcement as ‘great day for West Cumbria’.

Mrs Harrison said: “I have consistently fully supported the West Cumbria Mining Project which will bring considerable investment, hundreds of well-paid permanent jobs, apprenticeship opportunities, skills training for young people, opportunities for local suppliers and Woodhouse Colliery will be sited in an area which has been one of Copeland’s more deprived areas.

“I very much welcome that West Cumbria Mining have indicated that 80 per cent of jobs will be sourced locally and that is good news for Copeland.

“West Cumbria Mining will be an innovative leader in coking coal extraction. I welcome the news that the government has decided not to call in the original planning decision.

“I would now urge West Cumbria Mining and Cumbria County Council to work closely together on the remaining legal planning obligations to get this project over the line.”

The proposal for the mine to produce British metallurgical coal, used specifically to make steel, has received county council planning approval three times.

When operational the mine will supply metallurgical coal to the UK and international steel industry, deliver hundreds of local jobs and support a first-class supply chain across the county.

Mark Kirkbride, chief executive of West Cumbria Mining, said: “I am delighted that the holding direction has been lifted following what has been an extremely rigorous planning process.

“My team and I are now looking forward to concluding planning sign-off and then being able to commence preparatory steps to begin site work later this year.

“WCM would like to thank all those people and organisations, both in the local community and further afield, who have supported the project over the past six years with particular thanks to Copeland MP Trudy Harrison, Workington MP Mark Jenkinson, Copeland mayor Mike Starkie and Allerdale deputy leader Mike Johnson.”

 

 

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