The campaign group Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole is launching a new fight against Cumbria County Council’s decision to approve West Cumbria Mining’s planning application for a new deep coal mine.
The plans were ratified by the Development Control and Regulation Committee of Cumbria County Council on 31 October in Kendal to shouts of 'disgusting, shame on you' from the public gallery.
The group has been opposing the mine since 2017 and says it wants to 'up the ante' and raise enough funds for a full legal challenge against the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades.
Lawyers Leigh Day are acting on behalf of the group. A Pre-Action Protocol letter is due to be sent to Cumbria County Council by Leigh Day outlining the grounds of challenge which include failing to consider the green house gas emissions of the mining operations.
Marianne Birkby from KCCH said: “The unjustifiable climate impacts alone should have been enough to stop this mine dead in its tracks never mind the close proximity to Sellafield.
"Fracking has just been halted because of earthquake fears. So to engage in literally undermining the Irish Sea near the most dangerous nuclear site in the world is reckless beyond belief.”
The Crowd Justice page went live yesterday. It says: "Cumbria County Council have brushed away questions asked on our behalf by lawyers Leigh Day on emissions and the ‘need’ for coking coal for steel.
"As well as coking coal the mine’s output would include up to 15 percent of ‘middlings’ coal, this could be regarded as a development in itself but the developers have got away with calling it a ‘byproduct’ and ignoring all emissions including carbon, methane and radon.
"Cumbria County Council cannot be allowed to get away with replying to questions about carbon emissions by claiming that this mine would be “carbon neutral" and even make “carbon savings.’
"Their flawed logic is directly taken from the developers' script which states that the nearly three million tonne output yearly of the mine would substitute for coal extracted elsewhere. In other words they claim that a coal mine in China or America would stop producing 3 million tonnes of coal a year because of this “substitute” mine in West Cumbria.”
Marianne Brooker is The Ecologist's content editor. This article is based on a press release from Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole.