Coal mine planning permission refused due to climate concerns

| 23rd March 2018

Druridge Bay

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Plans for an open-cast coal mine beside a stretch of coast in Northumberland have been overturned. Local councillors had previously approved the controversial plans for the site at Druridge Bay despite protests from environmentalists. CATHERINE HARTE reports

It's the first time ministers have blocked a project on climate change grounds...we expect authorities to take a similar approach from now on when considering fossil fuel developments in the UK.

Plans for a huge opencast coal mine at Druridge Bay were today formally rejected by Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, on the basis that the environmental impact would be too significant.

This is the first time the  government has rejected a planning application on the grounds of climate change. 

Environmental lawyers have strongly welcomed the decision, which gave “very considerable weight” to the effect of greenhouse gas emissions in assessing whether to approve the mine.

Controversial development

The long-contested development has been in the pipeline for years, with campaigners railing against it and pointing out the government’s obligations under the Climate Change Act, and its own 2025 coal phaseout plans.

Sam Bright, ClientEarth energy lawyer,  said: "We congratulate the government for taking the only thinkable decision and blocking this new coal mine because of its huge future climate impacts.

"It's the first time ministers have blocked a project on climate change grounds. The tone is set - we expect authorities to take a similar approach from now on when considering fossil fuel developments in the UK.

"Coal is the dirtiest fuel - for the climate and for people's health. It's vital that governments around the world follow Westminster's lead and block new coal projects, to speed the move to a cleaner energy economy."

ClientEarth has previously called for a National Policy Statement to make it clearer that local councils need to take climate change into account in assessing projects for approval.

This Author

Catherine Harte is a contributing editor to The Ecologist. This story is based on a news release from ClientEarth. 

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