‘Beggars belief’ – we comment on third Cumbria coal mine delay
Just days before COP27, the government has once again delayed its decision on whether to open the coal mine at the Whitehaven site in Cumbria.
Commenting on the government delaying this decision for the third time this year, Tom Fyans, interim CEO at CPRE said:
‘Nothing says out of touch like a government that refuses to ban the first new deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years. It beggars belief that other world leaders are about to meet to hammer out the details for a zero carbon future, while the UK ponders whether to recommit to the pollution of the past.
‘There are no ifs or buts. Coal must be consigned to the dustbin of history where it belongs. Steelmakers across Europe are already investing in new technologies for ‘green steel’, making coking coal of the type that would be dug from Whitehaven redundant. Now is the moment to emulate the great industrialists, by using science, technology and abundant renewable energy to help power a cleaner, better, more prosperous future.
‘The people of Cumbria are crying out for good jobs and a stable future. Like other rural communities up and down the country, they have suffered years of neglect and underinvestment. That’s why it’s vital the government keeps to its promise of levelling up by training and supporting people to work in green industries with good, long-term prospects, not consigning them to the disappointment of a dangerous job that will soon be obsolete.’
Keeping coal in the hole
With COP27 rapidly approaching, and the UN finding no credible pathway to limiting temperatures by 1.5 degrees, CPRE is applying pressure on the government to ensure it does not revert to unsustainable and polluting methods of steel production. The climate crisis is the biggest threat to our countryside. Opening the first coal mine in 30 years would be a regressive, damaging move. It contradicts the government’s own pledge to invest in green infrastructure and achieve net zero and their COP26 commitments to phase out coal.
Our 2020 report puts forward a number of solutions to the climate crisis, and the countryside is central to many of them.