Key achievements emerging from the SLACC case at the Public Enquiry

Despite being a very small charity, SLACC connected with a number of academics and experts on climate change, and with FILE’s help, engaged a first-class legal team to challenge the case for the mine put forward by West Cumbria Mining (WCM).

Our expert witnesses, and the witnesses Friends of the Earth (FOE) used to address complementary points, were able to present evidence about the true nature of this mine, and the harm it would cause to the Planning Inspector appointed by the UK Government.

Whilst we would be unwise to predict what the Inspector will recommend in his report to Michael Gove (Secretary of State for Levelling up, Housing and Communities), or Mr Gove’s final decision on the mine, we are confident that our input to the inquiry, and the media discussion it has instigated, have made a significant contribution to both national and global opposition to new fossil fuel development.

Even if SLACC’s intervention “only” achieves a modified coal mine with lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, both scope 3 and operational, which the Inspector has to recommend due to currently ambiguous UK planning law, SLACC, supported by FOE, will have made some powerful points which are likely to precipitate stronger legal provisions to stop future coal mines, and, we hope, effective decarbonisation of the steel industry.