The “first skirmish” in the Coal Mine Public Inquiry played out at the (virtual) Case Conference on Monday 7th June. The Planning Inspector, Mr Stephen Normington, listened to the views of the main parties on procedures and main issues for the Inquiry. One key “takeaway” from a SLACC perspective is that we are lucky to have our “Counsel” Estelle Dehon speaking on our behalf, and our solicitor Matthew McFeeley ready to write any necessary follow up letters. Their knowledge of the detail of the case, gathered from working with us on our submissions sine 2019, is unparalleled. Friends of the Earth (FOE) also had a barrister speaking on their behalf, which was great.
West Cumbria Mining (WCM) would clearly like the Council to “agree” over certain issues, but the County Council has a barrister to “hold their corner” on their neutral position. Those of you who wrote to their County Councillors in the last few months may have had an impact here! The Inquiry may be “virtual” but hopefully with some face to face sessions – preferably in West Cumbria if Covid-19 allows. SLACC also needs more funding, do publicise our CrowdJustice fundraising if you can.