Promising coal mine news as government changes tack

12th March 2021

After previously refusing to intervene, calling the creation of a new deep coal mine a ‘local issue’, the government has changed course.

The decision about whether the country’s first deep coal mine in 30 years should go ahead, previously in the hands of the local council, will now be made following a public inquiry.

Robert Jenrick, the minister responsible for these decisions, has adjusted his position and now says the mine has raised issues of more than local importance.

CPRE pressure paying off

The change comes after months of pressure from us at CPRE and others including local groups such as Friends of the Lake District and Cumbria Action for Sustainability.

Far from accepting the mine as a local issue, we’ve been pressing the government to instead invest in green jobs in the area – jobs that will boost the economy following the coronavirus pandemic and be more sustainable than coal mine jobs, which were expected to last just 30 years – and so limit national and indeed global damage to the climate.

Naturally we’re delighted to hear the news of the rethink. Tom Fyans, our director of campaigns and policy at CPRE, says: ‘We warmly welcome this change of heart on the Cumbrian coal mine.’

And he points out that the UK is hosting COP26, the major international climate conference, in November and so it’s more timely than ever that our government take action.

‘Ahead of COP26 and with the looming threat of the climate emergency, we hope that this is the first of many decisions that show government can walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

‘We must prioritise clean, green industries and build back better. We now hope the government focus on creating on genuinely sustainable jobs for West Cumbria, but for now, this is a victory for common sense and local campaigning.’

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A dumper truck
Coal is dirty energy, and new mines will worsen the climate emergency redmal / iStock