The Secretary of State has decided NOT to “call in” the planning application! We are extremely disappointed (but not surprised) that Robert Jenrick is insisting that West Cumbria Mining’s plan to extract nearly 3 million tonnes of coal a year is not considered to be of national importance, and can be simply a local decision. Even though Cumbria County Council restricted the permission to the end of 2049, rather than 2070 this is still an outrageous decision that flies in the face of the UK’s promises to address climate change and their claim to leadership through this year’s COP 26. Very little of this coal will be suitable for the UK steel industry, and it will be exported with no enforceable control on where or how it is used. It will give rise to around 9 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year for the next 30 years, and is likely to undermine both the decarbonisation of the steel industry and also the emerging pledges to reduce emissions strongly by 2030. However this is not the end of the struggle. Even before County Council issues the Decision Notice, SLACC’s legal team at Richard Buxtons Solicitors will be assessing the options for taking further legal action. SLACC already has some initial funding to pay for this and will launch a CrowdJustice Fundraising Campaign for the rest of the funds needed soon. The link will be posted on the SLACC website and sent out through social media.