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South Lakes MP calls on Government to ditch plans for West Cumbria coal mine

Aerial CGI of Woodhouse Colliery mine site

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling on the Government to ditch plans for a new deep coal mine in Cumbria.

A proposal for an undersea coking coal mine, off the coast of Whitehaven, by West Cumbria Mining, was approved by Cumbria County Council in October.

However, the authority suspended the approval earlier this month, because, it said, of ‘new information’ from the Government regarding action on climate change.

It said at the time: “This decision has been taken because in December 2020, the Government’s Climate Change Committee released its report on its recommendations for the Sixth Carbon Budget, a requirement under the Climate Change Act.

“The report, among other things, sets out the volume of greenhouse gases the UK aims to emit during 2033-2037.

The Early Day Motion  claims that the building of the new mine jeopardises the UK’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and implores the Government to incentivise steel manufacturers to adopt and innovate low-carbon production methods, including hydrogen direct reduction and electric arc technology.

The motion, which has attracted cross-party support so far from Liberal Democrat, Green, SNP and Plaid Cyrmu MPs, also urges the Government “to utilise Cumbria’s boundless renewable resources of water, wind and solar to generate sustainable jobs and sustainable energy as part of a Green Industrial Revolution”.

Mr Farron, who represents Westmorland and Lonsdale, had a previous approval of the planning application for the mine called in to the Government, which said it would take no action as it was a local issue’.

He said: “The building of this new coal mine here in Cumbria is an almighty backwards step in our fight against climate change.

“The Government’s Committee on Climate Change has warned that the mine will undermine the UK’s carbon reduction targets, and Boris Johnson’s own climate tsar Alok Sharma is said to be ‘apoplectic’ that the Government have given this the go ahead.

“Opening a coal mine which produces eight million tonnes of CO2 every year is a betrayal of younger and future generations who will have to live with the devastating environmental effects of it for decades to come.

“If the Government cares about protecting the environment and showing international climate leadership in the year that Britain hosts COP26, it must stop the building of this mine.”