SLACC has now challenged the Secretary of State’s ongoing refusal to reconsider whether to “call in” the Cumbria Coal Mine application. Early this morning (25th February) a “pre-action” letter has been sent on our behalf by Richard Buxton solicitors, as the first step towards a Judicial Review. Read the letter here
We are hoping that Robert Jenrick will issue a “Holding Direction“ to prevent Cumbria County Council approving the application, and then properly act on SLACC’s request that the decision be called-in by considering the information that SLACC and the Committee on Climate Change has drawn to his attention. We are confident that, once the Secretary of State actually engages with that information, he will see that the application is of national and international importance, and will appoint a Planning Inspector to consider the issues.
Cumbria CC have claimed this is a “broadly carbon neutral” coal mine, based on an assumption that “the need for coking coal in the UK will not significantly decrease over the coming decades prior to 2050”. This is not compatible with the latest expert evidence provided by the Climate Change Committee in its Sixth Carbon Budget, or with Lord Deben’s January letter to the Secretary of State. Yet it seems that Jenrick has declined to consider exercising his call-in power.
The letter argues that this is an error of law, fails to take material considerations and the SoS’ own policy into account, and is procedurally unfair. Mr Jenrick has been asked to respond by 4th March. The next step would be for SLACC’s lawyers to apply to the Court for permission to proceed with a Judicial Review.