Cumbria County Council officers have to submit their “Statement of Case” for the Public Inquiry on the coal mine by the 6th May. What position will they take? Will they accept that net zero steel making by 2035 in the UK means that there is no future for West Cumbria Mining? Or that the sulphur content of WCM Coal means that it will not replace imports of coal into the UK (and possibly into Europe) so there is no need for it, even now? If so, there is no exceptional reason to justify the loss to Ancient Woodland, or the conflict with Copeland’s Local Plan commitment to develop the tourism economy, and to protect the tranquillity of the rural section of Pow Beck Valley. The mine should neither be given permission to extract coal until 2070, nor to 2049, nor any other date.
County Councillors no longer have a direct power to decide this planning application, but they do have an influence on the Council’s position at the Inquiry. If you are a resident you can email your County Councillor and let them know you do not believe this would be a “Carbon Neutral Coal Mine, the Council should not “side with” West Cumbria Mining in the Public Inquiry. Instead they should support green jobs, protect the environment and develop a good quality of life for the people of Cumbria .
You can find your Councillors email address here. There are some tips and more explanation here. SLACC will be using expert witnesses to explain our case, but you can see an initial assessment of why WCM coking coal is not needed here. If you want to quote Lord Deben’s letter about the need to decarbonise steel making, view it here.
The Council has argued before that WCM will close the mine if the coal is not needed . SLACC will be arguing strongly against this position. Little or no coal of this particular specification is needed in the UK even now, and use of coking coal in the UK and Europe can be replaced by other methods by 2035. A new source of coking coal in Europe will dump coal on the global market, depress prices and slow decarbonisation of steel making. There is no way of stopping it being exported anywhere in the world, and being used for other purposes than steel making.