Decision delayed until after COP27

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) issued a new deadline for their decision on the coal mine proposed at Whitehaven. It will now be “on or before 8th December”. It is possible but unlikely that Michael Gove, back in the job as Minister for DLUHC, is seriously considering refusal. However this morning on Radio Cumbria Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland seemed very sure that the planning application would be approved. So stand by for a decision any time after COP27 closes on the 18th November !

Individuals may like to spread the word about this coal mine, and how the UK Government seems to be promoting a global “coal phase down” while quietly preparing to permit a new coal mine to run until 2050? Even if there were an exception for coking coal, any consent with the 1.6% max sulphur condition would not limit mine production to the high quality coking coal WCM claim. In any case there should no exception. Steel-making can and should switch to green hydrogen, with Electric Arc Furnaces to recycle as much steel as possible. The climate crisis is accelerating, and fossil fuels must stay in the ground, and Cumbrians, and our other supporters have information to share about coal.

However the key task at COP27 is to establish real “loss and damage” finance. Global North companies and governments need to pay for adaptation and repair in the Global South. Pakistan and small island states nations have done little to cause the floods, heatwaves and droughts that are now destroying lives and livelihoods. If Michael Gove is planning to approve the Cumbria coal mine after COP27, in addition to all the oil and gas wells being given licences by other parts of the UK Government, the UK is abandoning climate leadership and will continue to extract and export fossil fuels around the world. Just for the money!

If the mine is approved, SLACC has just enough funds to pay for a “Counsels Opinion” to advise Trustees as to whether Gove’s decision can be legally challenged on procedural grounds. Follow us on @slacctt for up to date info.