You have probably heard that the “rolled up” hearing of our legal challenge of Michael Gove’s decision to approve the new coal mine at Whitehaven is scheduled for 3 days in October. It will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. There are 3 possibilities: a) the Court will decide there is no case for a challenge, and Planning Permission for the mine will stand; b) they will decide there is a case to consider, but re-affirm Michael Gove’s approval ; or c) the Court will agree with SLACC and/or Friends of the Earth (FoE) and strike down the planning permission.
Even option c) (the most successful for SLACC, FoE and our allies) would not be the end of the road for WCM, because it is perfectly possible for the Government to reissue the same decision with slightly different reasoning. The eventual outcome could also be affected by the recent court case about the oil well at Horse Hill, Surrey ( Finch v Surrey County Council), which concerns similar issues, but the “Finch” decision might come after our case is heard. SLACC’s legal team are currently finalising a response to the “Detailed Grounds of Defence” submitted a few weeks ago by the Government and West Cumbria Mining. It has to be submitted tomorrow!!