Promising signs as planned new Cumbrian coal mine is reconsidered

9th February 2021

Following pressure from CPRE and other charities and organisations, the Cumbrian council overseeing the plans for a new mine have said that they will now review the decision.

Cumbria County Council is revisiting their decision to approve a new coal mine in the Whitehaven area following outcry from environmental bodies including CPRE.

We were pleased to hear today that the council, citing new information that had come from the government’s advisors in climate change in December 2019, have said they’ll review the coal mine proposal in the light of commitments to the climate emergency.

Here at CPRE, the countryside charity, we’ve been arguing that the climate crisis isn’t new – and for that reason, plans to create the UK’s first deep coal mine in 30 years flew in the face of the government’s claimed commitment to improving carbon emissions.

Promising news: what next?

We see the council’s review of the coal mine decision as a step in the right direction for people – but a small one.

Commenting on the news, Tom Fyans, our campaigns and policy director, said: ‘For the UK to host an international climate conference in November 2021 while simultaneously approving a coal mine in Cumbria just doesn’t add up’.

We welcome the new development, with Tom saying it’s ‘only a chink of light, but it’s a first step towards a major win for the environment, climate and the UK’s credentials as a world leader on climate change’ – but warning that much more needs to change before the climate catastrophe that a new coal mine would cause can be averted.

Tom urges:

‘It’s crucial that Cumbria County Council considers the significant concerns and compelling evidence raised by key experts on the coal mine and reverses its earlier decision.

‘And in terms of leadership from central government, ministers must begin to consistently prioritise clean energy and green jobs, and resign coal to the dustbin of history.’

We know that jobs and growth will be a key focus as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic – something that we’ve long been calling for. And so we’re urging that the government prioritise clean, green industries and build back better.

Your voice and ours

Were you one of the thousands of people who have already mobilised to flood the Secretary of State’s office with emails expressing alarm at the plans for a mine? If so, thank you for your support – there’s no doubt that public pressure from across the country has played a major part in the decision to reconsider.

Become a CPRE member now to support on ongoing campaigning for a clean, healthy countryside – now and forever.

A quiet harbour front
The harbour at Whitehaven, the small Cumbrian town where the new mine would be Roland Turner / Flickr: CC-BY SA 2.0

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The legacy of Ethel’s vision and determination lives on thanks to the continued efforts of the Friends of the Peak District, and she remains an inspiration to everyone within CPRE