Support our legal fight against a new coal mine in Cumbria

by Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

Support our legal fight against a new coal mine in Cumbria

by Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign
Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign
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Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole is a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign. We started campaigning against the coal mine back in 2017.
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Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole is a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign. We started campaigning against the coal mine back in 2017.
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Latest: June 24, 2020

WOW Council Receive "Unprecedented Numbers of Representations" COAL MINE PLAN

Cumbria County Council have received "Unprecedented Numbers of Representations.."  some of which include Startling New Evidence.

As a result of the numbers of representations and the ne…

Read more

We are raising funds to challenge the outrageous decision to open the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years. We've been fighting for years and we need your support now more than ever. 

Funds have previously been generously donated which has provided for expert advice and letters questioning Cumbria County Council's flawed decision from specialist law firm Leigh Day.  

Now we need to up the ante and raise enough funds to cover the costs of a full legal challenge. We can't do it without your help. If you believe that the UK doesn't need another coal mine will you contribute now and share this page with your friends, family and on social media? 

If this coal mine is not stopped the carbon emissions alone would be likely to result over its lifetime to one full year of UK national emissions.  This is crazy given that the UK government has declared a climate emergency.

Not only would this coal mine produce 9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions every year but the plan is to extend mining activity under the Irish Sea to within 5 miles of Sellafield.  

Fracking has just been halted because of earthquake fears. So to engage in literally undermining the Irish Sea near the most dangerous nuclear site in the world is reckless beyond belief. 

The results of induced seismic events of any magnitude at the worlds riskiest nuclear waste site could be catastrophic on a planetary scale.  

There are so many reasons to oppose this coal mine plan from climate catastrophe to nuclear catastrophe.  That is why we are campaigning hard to stop the plan.  

There are a million potential green jobs so what on earth does this coal mine think it is?  It  is a dangerous backwards step and that was said by an ex miner we met in Workington.


How much are we raising and why? 

Any money no matter how small you can give to help us achieve this will go direct to the legal challenge. We want to bring a judicial review which can spiral in costs so we are raising as much as we can. Starting with £5k to get the action started we then need to raise more. All donations will go direct to the legal challenge. 

If you cannot donate then please do share this call out and spread the word that the coal mine is very far from a done deal, we will not let this go.

THANK YOU to all those groups and individuals who have put their shoulders to the wheel in fighting this coal mine.  The battle continues...with YOUR help!   

Find out more about our campaign here 






CASE BACKGROUND

DOUBLE WHAMMY: The author of the widely read paper Deep Adaptation points to the very real danger of human extinction from nuclear catastrophes due to societal collapse as a result of climate chaos.  However nuclear catastrophes have all taken place in highly organised societies which have made bad decisions. This coal mine must rate as the worst decision yet.

QUESTIONS UNANSWERED:  Cumbria County Council have brushed away questions asked on our behalf by lawyers Leigh Day on emissions and the ‘need’ for coking coal for steel .  

'NEED' FOR COKING COAL FOR STEEL?   The UK government has just made a committment to decarbonse the steel industry.  There is no 'need' for coking coal and certainly no justification to open a new mine.

MIDDLINGS COAL:  As well as coking coal the mine’s output would include up to 15% of ‘middlings’ coal, this could be regarded as a development in itself but the developers have got away with calling it a ‘byproduct’ and ignoring all emissions including carbon, methane and radon.

MAGIC COAL MINE - ITS "CARBON NEUTRAL" !!  Cumbria County Council cannot be allowed to get away with replying to questions about carbon emissions by claiming that this mine would be “carbon neutral"  and even make “carbon savings.’   Their flawed logic is directly taken from the developers script which states that the nearly 3 million tonne output yearly of the mine would substitute for coal extracted elsewhere

In other words they claim that a coal mine in China or America would stop producing 3 million tonnes of coal a year because of this “substitute” mine in West Cumbria.  Utter nonsense

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:

"Extinction Rebellion West Cumbria is appalled at the recent decision by Cumbria County Council to ratify their decision to open a new deep coal mine.  The impacts of climate change are being felt by communities across the planet. Decisions such as this can no longer be seen in isolation and must be challenged."  XR West Cumbria

“If it proceeds, the mine is likely to result over its lifetime in greenhouse gas emissions amounting to something of the order of one year of UK national emissions.  The impacts of these emissions could include considerable ecological and economic damage, as well as human suffering and loss of life.”  Laurence Michaelis Expert Reviewer for the IPCC,

“Given that the UK steel industry imported 4.75 million tonnes of coking coal in 2015, mainly from the USA (44%) and Russia (27%) it seems perverse to be exporting coal to other countries, while importing it for UK steelworks. Exporting coal increases greenhouse gas emissions and producing more coal could displace lower quality coking coal to power station usage adding to greenhouse gas emissions and air quality issues. The UK government intends on phasing-out coal by 2025, but the whole world needs to stop burning this most polluting of all fossil fuels now. The application to mine is too close to the Sellafield nuclear site and the proposal for another nuclear power station at Moorside. Underground mining can have a significant impact on the surrounding areas, recently a coking coal mine in Russia triggered an earth quake. In addition to being dangerous for mining personnel this could cause a nuclear catastrophe.”   Coal Action Network

“The Sellafield area has been identified in a recent geological report as being at high risk of liquefaction (where the earth turns to mush). Liquefaction can result from earthquakes, and the only place in the UK to have had such an event is at Rampside near Barrow - it was a very small-magnitude earthquake. This March, when I stood shaking at the planning meeting in Kendal and spoke opposing the coal mine, the councillors laughed. They laughed about Sellafield being at high risk of liquefaction (as described in a recent geological report); they laughed as the last liquefaction event near Barrow was in 1865, pre Trident: the blink of an eye in geological terms.” Marianne Birkby on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, a Radiation Free Lakeland campaign

"Disturbance of nesting seabirds during construction and operation... The development has the potential to have an adverse effect upon the St Bees Head SSSI through disturbance to both breeding and wintering birds during construction and operation." RSPB

Much of the nuclear waste from nearby Sellafield is still on the Irish Sea bed which has led to many objectors pointing out that:

“Offshore Subsidence – resuspension and dispersal of radioactive contaminants. The documentation has confirmed to NWIFCA that a risk of subsidence exists and therefore there remains an overwhelming concern over the potential for disturbance and resuspension of radioactive contaminants and sediments.” North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority

The moment of ratification of the coal mine by Cumbria County Council's Development Control and Regulation committee - we have to challenge this!




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Update 27

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

June 24, 2020

WOW Council Receive "Unprecedented Numbers of Representations" COAL MINE PLAN

Cumbria County Council have received "Unprecedented Numbers of Representations.."  some of which include Startling New Evidence.

As a result of the numbers of representations and the new evidence contained in them, the scheduled date for the planning meeting of 8th July to discuss the Developer's 'amended' plan has been postponed. 

A BIG Well Done to Everyone who has written in Opposition - please keep writing and opposing in every way you can.
https://keepcumbriancoalinthehole.wordpress.com/2020/06/24/unprecedented-numbers-of-representations-on-cumbrian-coal-mine-plan/

New Evidence Presented to the Council includes not only the overwhelming climate considerations and the "need" for coking coal for steel but also a startling new briefing for the Council which concludes that this development should be abandoned.  

NEW BRIEFING - WCM: WOODHOUSE COLLIERY PROPOSAL RADIOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS of POTENTIAL SEABED SUBSIDENCE, SEISMICITY & “FAULT RE-ACTIVATION” beneath The CUMBRIAN MUD PATCH: INDUCED BY “MASS REMOVAL”, RAPID EXTRACTION & VOID SPACE CREATION

Tim Deere-Jones is an Independent & non-aligned Marine Pollution Researcher & Consultant whose clients include: WWF, The UK Wildlife Trusts, European Climate Foundation, Greenpeace International, European Coastal Local Authorities and many others.

The introduction and Major Conclusions are reproduced below…..

Introduction:                                                                                                                                                        This Briefing offers a review of the possible seabed morphological changes and marine pollution implications of the sub-sea coal mining venture proposed by West Cumbria Mining (WCM) at their Woodhouse Colliery site near St Bees Head.

WCM have designated and identified a sub-sea mining zone of the Irish Sea lying to the west of St Bees Head and extending at least 8kms offshore and southwards to within about 8km of the Sellafield site.

The WCM extraction proposals, using continuous mining methods, predict the extraction of approximately 3 million tonnes of coal per year over a 50 year period. This extraction rate will eventually generate a huge subterranean void space of approximately 136 million cubic metres (a volume greater than that of Wastwater Lake).

This briefing considers the impact of the creation of such a sub-sea void space on the possibility of sea bed subsidence in the area of the WCM designated sub-sea mining zone, and the subsequent potential for marine radiological pollution as a result of the subsidence induced re-suspension of the heavily radioactively contaminated sea bed sediments of the Cumbrian Mud Patch and surrounding sea bed areas.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….  

Major Conclusions

It is noted that there is a lack of data about the status of the existing historical galleries and workings of the West Cumbrian Coalfield. 

It is noted that there is a lack of accurate data about the history and status of any subsidence seismicity in the coalfield.  

It is noted that the BGS have concluded that the coalfield is heavily faulted and has a long history of subsidence and that it appears that there are no plans to monitor for any subsidence prior to, during the operational phase or in the post operational phase of the Woodhouse Colliery.  

It is noted that sub-sea monitoring equipment is available and could be deployed in the region in order to monitor for any subsidence effects arising as a result of the proposed Woodhouse Colliery “mass removal” extraction.

It is concluded that there is a real potential for subsidence to occur as a result of the “mass removal” and the creation of extensive sub-sea void spaces, and it is noted that such subsidence could generate earthquake and liquefaction effects which may extend onshore as far as the Sellafield/Moorside sites.

It is concluded that any seabed subsidence in the WCM designated sub-sea mining zone would generate re-suspension of Cumbrian Mud Patch heavily radioactive seabed sediments. It is noted that such an event would generate elevated doses of man-made radioactivity to coastal zone populations and sea users along both the Cumbrian coast and at “downstream” regions further afield.

Given the potential for such a radiological effect and the delivery of increased doses of radioactivity to relevant coastal zone communities, some of which have already been identified by the authorities as Coastal Critical Groups, the Woodhouse Colliery proposal (especially in the absence of any precautionary mandatory subsidence monitoring) is strongly contra-indicated and should be abandoned”

CONCLUSION

The weight of evidence is overwhelmingly clear that this application should be unequivocally refused.  We urge Cumbria County Council to take eagerly with both hands this new opportunity, via the amended planning application, to turn down this dangerous coal mine plan, for Whitehaven, for Cumbria, and for the Planet.  

The Briefing can be read online here: https://issuu.com/wildart/docs/west_cumbria_mining_-_radiological_implications_of 


Update 26

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

June 9, 2020

Postcards from Cumbria - Thank You!

Dear Friends, Thank you to everyone who continues to contribute to the crowdfunder ensuring we can keep on challenging the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades! Because of these challenges the decision has gone back to Cumbria County Council and I know many of you have written already - but please please do write again to oppose the plan. There are more details on how to do that here 

https://keepcumbriancoalinthehole.wordpress.com/2020/06/06/useful-bullet-points-for-letter-writing/ 

To see the beauty, geology and wildlife of the area under threat you can visit the online exhibition 'Postcards from Cumbria.' exhibitors include the internationally celebrated artist Julian Cooper with his monumental painting 'Towards the Sea, Scafell'. 

https://postcardfromcumbria.wordpress.com

Update 25

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

June 6, 2020

NEW PETITION : TELL CUMBRIA COUNCIL TO SAY NO!

Dear Friends,

I know many people are already writing to Cumbria County Council to tell them to turn down the Coal Mine plan but here is a PETITION to share with friends and family to get the message out.  There has been little press about the fact that this Coal Mine decision is being looked at again by Cumbria County Council in Kendal on July 8th.  This petition aims to get that message out (we can put more info on dates when we get more signatures!)

Please do sign and share widely!

MANY THANKS!

Marianne

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/no-new-coal-mine-in-cumbria

"Keep the coal in the ground and do Whitehaven, Cumbria and the planet a favour. Turn down this coal mine!"

Why is this important?

Cumbria County Council had unanimously granted planning permission to West Cumbria Mining for exploitation of the reserves of "premium" coking coal mine up to 550 metres under the Irish Sea bed. But the developers, West Cumbria Mining, have now submitted an amended plan . In this new plan lower quality middlings coal would not now be a "by-product" but would be 'processed' on site into coking coal. 

Nowhere else in the UK has carried out deep mining in over 30 years.

The good news is that there is now a renewed opportunity for the County Council to overturn this terrible decision.

Granting permission for a new coking coal mine under the Irish Sea would fly in the face of the Council's own climate, environment and health commitments. 

What are people saying?

Wainwright's Coast to Coast Walk
This coal mine would be situated at the beginning of the world famous Coast to Coast walk at St Bees Head "I have the pleasure of enjoying the first small section of Wainwright’s coast to coast on my doorstep. A tourist asset that you should protect. I am appalled that Cumbria County Council (CCC) has allowed this green space in Pow Beck to come under threat with a large coal yard." Martin Kendall- Local Resident

High Costs of Production
"I was astonished to see a proposal to open a deep coal mine in a coalfield which had high costs of production and at a time when the climate emergency demands the phasing out of coal".
Robert Wharton. Operational Research Scientist with National Coal Board 1967 to 73. Former consultant with KPMG often advising clients on the viability of investment projects.

Sellafield is just 5 miles away.
"Jem Bendell, the author of the widely read paper Deep Adaptation points to the very real danger of human extinction from nuclear catastrophes, due to societal collapse as a result of climate chaos. However, to date, nuclear catastrophes have all taken place in highly organised societies which have made bad decisions. This proposed new coal mine so near Sellafield must rate as the worst decision yet". Marianne Birkby - Radiation Free Lakeland

Impacts of Climate Change
"Extinction Rebellion West Cumbria is appalled at the recent decision by Cumbria County Council to ratify their decision to open a new deep coal mine. The impacts of climate change are being felt by communities across the planet. Decisions such as this can no longer be seen in isolation and must be challenged." XR West Cumbria

Ecological and Economic Damage, Human Suffering and Loss of Life
“If it proceeds, the mine is likely to result over its lifetime in greenhouse gas emissions amounting to something of the order of one year of UK national emissions. The impacts of these emissions could include considerable ecological and economic damage, as well as human suffering and loss of life.” Laurence Michaelis Expert Reviewer for the IPCC

Adverse Effect on Nesting Seabirds
"Disturbance of nesting seabirds during construction and operation... The development has the potential to have an adverse effect upon the St Bees Head SSSI through disturbance to both breeding and wintering birds during construction and operation." RSPB

“Offshore Subsidence – resuspension and dispersal of radioactive contaminants. The documentation has confirmed to NWIFCA that a risk of subsidence exists and therefore there remains an overwhelming concern over the potential for disturbance and resuspension of radioactive contaminants and sediments.”
North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority

Update 24

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

June 5, 2020

Former Research Scientist with the National Coal Board Speaks Out Against Cumbri

The following letter is reproduced here with kind permission of the author.  Please do write your own letter of opposition to Cumbria County Council (before 15th June) email: developmentcontrol@cumbria.gov.uk

 Whitehaven - Coal Heritage or Coal Future?

3 June 2020

Dear Sir

Woodhouse Colliery, Application Number 4/17/9007 West Cumbria Mining (WCM)

I wish to object to the application

Why I am writing this letter

I was educated at Kendal Grammar School and then graduated in economics from the London School of Economics.  My first job, from 1967 to 1973 was as an operational research scientist with the National Coal Board.  Most of my work was on improving the transport of coal from the coal face to the surface and also on the surface.  I then worked as a transport consultant with the Economist Intelligence Unit and as an industrial economist with an engineering consultancy in the Middle East.  For thirty years up to my retirement I worked in the management consultancy practice of KPMG.  At KPMG I was often involved in advising clients on the viability of investment projects.

I am writing because I was astonished to see a proposal to open a deep coal mine in a coalfield which had high costs of production and at a time when the climate emergency demands the phasing out of coal.      

The market envisaged by WCM

WCM propose to sell coking quality coal to steel producers who use the blast furnace/basic oxygen furnace process in the UK and Europe.  This market is currently served mainly by coal from the United States.  WCM argue that their product would have a competitive advantage in Europe because of shorter transport distances and lower transport costs.  WCM argues that this leads to an advantage in terms of greenhouse gas emissions because of less fuel used in shipping.

There are other steel processes which do not require coking coal.  The scrap-based electric arc furnace process accounts for about 40% of EU production.  The direct reduction process usually uses natural gas and is widely used in the Middle East.

Getting finance for the project

WCM have already raised funding for project development (exploratory drilling, initial design and obtaining planning permission).  The company would next need to find investors willing to commit much greater sums to:

  • develop the access drifts to coal seam level;
  • equip the ventilation system; 
  • equip mine drainage systems;
  • equip the underground transport systems for coal extraction, and taking in workers and supplies;
  • provide the coal cutting and loading equipment;
  • build the coal preparation plant and other surface installations. 

This would be a major project.  The investors would spend several years paying out money in capital investment before there was any income from sales of coal.  The last big drift mine project in the UK was the Selby complex where development took four years before any coal was produced.  Deep mining has always been financially risky because, although you may have borehole information, you do not know for certain what lies underground.  

 In this case there are major market risks.  What will be the market for metallurgical coal in Europe when this project comes on stream, perhaps in the mid to late 2020s and, over the long operating life that WCM envisages?  Investors would do due diligence on:

  • potential customers in the United Kingdom and Europe (customers being steel producers using the blast furnace process) ;
  • competition for the market in Europe, and in particular steel imports from elsewhere (China, Russia, Turkey);
  • the impact of the coronavirus recession on steel demand;
  • technology in the steel industry;
  • environmental regulation in the UK and the European Union.  Investment institutions are increasingly concerned that climate change could undermine what now appear to be profitable activities and are under pressure to avoid investments in fossil fuels.

Investors would have to look very carefully at all these risks.  Would any serious investor put money into the WCM project?

Overall steel production in the Europe Union (EU28)

I refer to market conditions before the coronavirus pandemic.  The market prospects for most major industrial investments will be worse post-pandemic.

The Statistical Yearbook of the World Steel Association shows that steel production in the EU(28) fell at the time of the 2008 financial crisis and has not fully recovered.  Crude steel production was 199 million tonnes in 2008 and was down to 168 million tonnes in 2017.  This is not a growing market.  

Within this overall total UK crude steel output fell steeply from 13.5 million tonnes in 2008 to 7.5 million tonnes in 2017.  The major producing countries in the EU are Germany, followed by Italy, France and Spain.

The USA has taken anti-dumping action against imports of steel from China.  EU countries have not taken anti-dumping action.  The policy argument has been won by those who say that the benefits of cheap steel for steel-using industries outweigh any gains from protecting the domestic steel industry.  The UK, when a member of the EU, was against anti-dumping action.  So the steel industry is unlikely to be sheltered by protectionist policies.

Potential customers for coking coal in the UK

The UK has two steelworks with blast furnaces, at Scunthorpe and Port Talbot.  Until 2016 both were owned by Tata Steel of India.  In March 2016 Tata, facing financial losses, proposed to sell all or part of its UK steel assets.  The Scunthorpe plant and units making “long products” were sold for £1 to a private equity company Greybull Capital which renamed the business “British Steel”.  After the sale Tata  underwent a change of management and a change of heart.  In December 2016 Tata agreed to invest in Port Talbot and continue to operate blast furnaces there for five years.

In May 2019 British Steel went into insolvency.  The business was kept going by the Official Receiver until it was sold in March 2020 to a Chinese company, Jingye Group.  Commentators have suggested that the attractive part of the business with a longer-term future is not the blast furnace operation but the well-equipped rolling mills. The rolling mills could keep working using semi-finished steel brought in from elsewhere.

Tata Steel continued to make losses.  In January 2020 Nataranjan Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons Group told the Sunday Times that “the company can’t have a situation where India keeps funding losses” at Port Talbot.  In April 2020 the BBC reported that Tata was seeking £500 millions in government support for the Port Talbot operations.

Both UK blast furnace operations were in a financially precarious state even before the coronavirus recession.  Jingye and Tata Steel are likely to need to restructure, possibly by ceasing the blast furnace operations and concentrating on downstream processing of semi-finished steel from elsewhere.  No potential investor in Woodhouse Colliery could safely assume that they would be customers for coking coal by the time the mine opened.  The mine operator would need to seek customers in mainland Europe.  

The documents submitted by WCM envisage hauling some of the output by rail to Teesside for shipment.  This might still have cost advantages over US coal, but these would be less profitable than for the UK market because of port-related costs and costs of shipping coal to European ports.

The market in the EU – Environmental policy issues

In December 2019 the incoming European Commission published “The European Green Deal” which sets out a broad strategy for accelerating progress towards meeting a target of no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050.  It proposes increasing the EU’s climate ambition for 2030.  It describes a range of policy measures which can be used to achieve this, including:

  • the emissions trading system (ETS) which raises the financial costs of activities which emit greenhouse gases;
  • an emphasis on recycling, the “circular economy”;
  • co-ordinated action with other countries;
  • a “carbon border adjustment mechanism” which would penalize those who simply move polluting activity offshore to places with lax regulation;
  • the use of the EU budget to promote the reduction of emissions, including specifically “research and innovation on low-carbon steelmaking”.

Emissions from steel making are about 6% – 7% of total EU CO2 emissions, so the industry is a target for regulatory change.  The Commission published with “The European Green Deal” a brief related document entitled “Sustainable Industry” which has a highlighted statement “The Commission will make a proposal to support zero-carbon steel making by 2030.”  

There is ambiguity about whether this means the Commission means steel making to be actually zero-carbon by 2030, or whether by 2030  the Commission means to have a set of programmes to get to zero-carbon steelmaking.  Probably the latter because it would be unrealistic to make such rapid changes to production processes.  However, the EU steelmakers need to take this objective seriously, and potential investors would realise that a new investment in coking coal production would be swimming against the regulatory tide.

The major users of coking coal in the EU

 I have reviewed the climate change strategies of the three biggest steel producers in the EU (Arcelormittal, ThyssenKrupp and Tata Steel).  It is clear that they take seriously the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with internationally agreed targets.  Arcelormittal says “Our most substantial climate related policy risk is the EU ETS which applies to all our European plants.”  EU policy is pushing the producers to cut greenhouse gas emissions.  Arcelormittal stresses that the EU needs also to help the producers towards this objective by introducing a carbon border adjustment mechanism.  

Improved steelmaking technology can help. In recent years producers have made efficiencies by improving the tensile strength of steel, so that less steel is needed to achieve a given result (and therefore less coke needed).

The steel producers have participated in research and development projects partly funded by the EU.  Technologies proposed by the steel producers include:

  • in the short term modifying blast furnaces by injecting hydrogen as a reducing agent.  This would reduce the tonnage of coke required and reduce the CO2 emissions.  Arcelormittal has plants in operation;
  • Arcelormittal’s Torero progammme using waste carbon (for example, wood waste that would be unsuitable for burning in other circumstances) as a reducing agent.  A demonstration plant is being built in Belgium;
  • Modifications to the blast furnace process to produce an exhaust gas which is purer CO2.  This might be transformed into syngas and recycled into the furnace, reducing the need for coke.  Alternatively the purer  exhaust gas might be captured, pumped into underground reservoirs where these are available;
  • The use of hydrogen (rather than a hydrogen/carbon monoxide mix) as a reducing agent in a direct reduction plant.  Arcelormittal proposes to build a test installation in Hamburg;
  • Tata Steel has built pilot plants to test the Hlsarna concept.  This is a furnace operating at very high temperatures fueled by coal rather than coke;
  • In the longer term there are schemes for producing steel by electrolysis, similar to the way that aluminium has been produced since the nineteenth century. 

Hydrogen can be produced by electrolysis of water.  Improvements which require “green” hydrogen depend on the greater availability of electricity from solar or wind power.  These power sources are developing fast but it will take years before there is regular surplus electric power available for large scale electrolysis plants.  

There are few quick easy wins, but regulatory pressure will tend to reduce the demand for coke.

An example of a plant in transformation to lower carbon technology

The ILVA plant in Taranto, Italy, claimed to be the biggest iron and steel plant in the EU with a capacity of over 10 million tonnes of steel per year (though for some years it appears to have operated at well below full capacity).  There were concerns that emissions of dioxins were the cause of a high incidence of cancer in the area.  In 2012 there was an official investigation of environmental crimes.  The coke making plant has been blamed for the toxic emissions.  At one stage court ordered the blast furnaces to be closed down.  Government commissioners took over the plant from the private owners.  There are political tensions between local people concerned about health and those concerned about jobs.

The government sought a private company to take a lease on the plant and operate it.  Arcelormittal was selected as the operator.  The deal has still not been finalised because Arcelormittal will not take responsibility for lawsuits arising from the legacy operations.  In March 2020 Reuters reported that negotiations had progressed and there was a conditional agreement for Arcelormittal to take over and invest in steel production using direct reduction/electric arc furnace technology.  If this agreement is finalized there will no longer be a requirement for coal.

The impact of the coronavirus recession

The financial crisis of 2008 resulted in a reduction in steel output in Europe. Some steel producers are in a weak financial position.  The signs are that the coronovirus recession will be deeper and long lasting.  Marginal steel plants could close.

Potential investors in WCM may therefore hesitate until the outcome is clearer.  

Observations on methane drainage

I note that WCM’s consultants, AECOM, estimate that methane emissions from the mine would constitute 74% of the local greenhouse gas emissions.  In some comments there has been an assumption that methane drainage would solve this problem.  I also note that AECOM make no assumption about a reduction as a result of methane drainage.

When I worked for the National Coal Board fifty years ago the risks of climate change and the problems of methane in the atmosphere were not widely understood.  Mine operators were, however, very concerned about the risk of methane explosions underground. When coal is exposed it leaks methane. The NCB used methane drainage in a few particularly gassy mines in order to reduce the risk of underground explosions.  The technique involved drilling holes into the pillars of coal which were left to support the strata alongside access tunnels.  The holes were connected to pipework and the methane sucked out and used as fuel at the surface.

I understand from the WCM submissions that the coal will be worked by a partial extraction method, which involves leaving a high proportion of coal in pillars to support the roof.  Methane drainage could reduce leakage from these pillars.  I have never heard of it being used at the coalface where the coal is being broken up by coal cutting machinery (and thus emitting most).  Nor could it stop emissions from the broken coal being transported to the surface and onward to the customer.  Methane drainage would only be a partial solution to atmospheric pollution.

Local implications of a project that failed

I understand the need for jobs.  But job creation efforts should be directed towards projects with a better potential for success.  In my career I have seen too many cases where local authority efforts and money have been sucked into promoting ill-conceived projects. 

I would like to speak at the planning meeting.

Yours sincerely

Robert Wharton

Update 23

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

June 4, 2020

View on the Ground:'Do Whitehaven,Cumbria & the planet a favour, Turn it Down!'

Dear Friends,


Here is an excellent letter of objection from Martin – a resident living close to the proposed coal mine and associated infrastructure.

Please use Martin’s letter below as inspiration for your own letters of objection to Cumbria County Council (write before the 15th June) – also ask to speak at the meeting on 8th July  – There is  more information here.

PLANNING REFERENCE: 4/17/9007

I object to the building of the Wood House Colliery and the Train Load Facility (TLF), Pow Beck. 

Cumbria’s Statutory Development Plan (SDP)-Cumbria Minerals & Waste Local Plan; POLICY SP15 Environmental Assets. “Protect, maintaintain and enhance people’s overall quality of life and the natural, historic and other distinctive features that contribute to the environment of Cumbria and to the character of its landscapes and places

The leading paragraph of the same SDP reads “…It will always work proactively with applicants to find solutions that mean that proposals can be approved wherever possible, and to secure development that improves economic, social and environmental conditions in the area.

In my opinion the new mine does not meet those three criteria. The mine won’t be successful; environmental pressures will increase; coke is going to be replaced; other coking coal producers from Russia and Poland are already supplying Europe’s steel industry. As a result there are no economic or social gains. Pollution (air, water, noise, light, environmental) to the local area will be significant and as a consequence our quality of life will be affected.

With regard to greenhouse gasses (GHG), West Cumbria Mining (WCM) made it clear they dig out the coal. The GHG created from exporting the coal and the burning of the coal has nothing to do with them.  Another fossil fuel company that absolves itself from responsibility. Yet when it comes to creating an argument they are more than willing to express the saving in GHG from bulk cargo ships from across the Atlantic and the train miles of American coal to make comparisons with their own small coal mine. 

In your own policy DC13 criteria for Energy minerals, part c. “the impacts of the development have been considered in relation to impact on climate change;

In WCM planning statement (5.3.6) “The determination as to whether an impact is `unacceptable` inevitably involves a degree of judgement on the part of the decision maker”  It is my opinion the  environmental impact of this Cumbrian coal  is unacceptable in today’s global warming crisis and should and can be rejected in compliance with your own planning documents, particularly the impact Cumbrian coal will have on the environment.

May I also draw your attention to matters which could be of specific interest to committee.

  • Presently we have the peaceful enjoyment of our home here in High Walton, near St Bees. The air is clean, the valley beautiful and quiet. I have the pleasure of enjoying the first small section of Wainwright’s coast to coast on my doorstep. A tourist asset that you should protect. I am appalled that Cumbria County Council (CCC) has allowed this green space in Pow Beck to come under threat with a large coal yard. 
  • West Cumbria Mining’s preferred  freight operator does use some modern trains in its fleet, trains that will pull 21 coal wagons using diesel engine power. The facts are; a train over 400 metres long; carrying +1500 tonnes; emitting 25.3g CO2e per tonne km (1). Those wagons will need shunting to sidings. When diesel engines apply pulling power they emit plumes of diesel smoke. What are those pollution levels for six daily trains + 126 coal wagons when Frieghtliner begins shunting wagons here in Pow Beck?

 

  • The building may be high tech and aesthetic; but in my opinion still noisy in the quiet areas of Pow Beck and Seacliffe. I can’t imagine the Fan House being too quiet. 126 Coal wagons on sidings are hardly inconspicuous in our green landscape. More rhetoric at the expense of local residents. Our environmental assets will change for the worse.
  • Methane capture during coal crushing processing to provide gas energy (5.4.54).  Does the mine capture all this methane and utilize it? 

Methane is “…reduced and mitigated…”  “…with no atmospheric impact…” (P9: Para 29). Burning Methane produces C02; but this won’t happen until the fifth year of operation when the methane capture plant comes on line apparently. WCM planning statement (page 8-S18) “…methane and utilisation plant will potentially eliminate the majority of fugitive methane emissions”. Also, GHG surveyor remarks about methane capture with a statement that reads “…potentially eliminate fugitive emissions…” (P59: para 9.4). So WCM doesn’t actually know how much Methane will vent into the atmosphere, a number between 2m3 and 6m3 per tonne of coal. That seems quite a difference. 

  • My understanding is that the fan house sucks out air/gases from the mine and as a result clean air is drawn into the mine, diluting gases to safe non-combustible levels within the mine. What is not clear to me is where those gases are vented and captured.  Mined coal constantly gives off methane does it not.
  • GHG reports say the mine operation pollution is less than 1% of the UK’s carbon budget. So this small mine will emit less than 1% of the whole of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with all its cities, transport, power generation and people, just to put in some perspective. This tiny spot in Cumbria will add less than 1% to the UKs carbon budget(CB). According to the Government’s own advisory body the UK is not going to meet its targets for the next two CB (2), The implication is that the 2032 budget will have to be even more stringent and the government more decisive to keep on track for 2050 net zero. Indeed the GHG report states (Para 7,13) “Emissions from this Proposed Development are therefore likely to become significant without an emissions reduction strategy” The GHC report mentions (para 9,4) the assumed operation of methane capture & utilisation plant in 5th year of operation. so obviously under development. Is the technology, the burning of methane and offsetting going to be good enough to keep the mines emissions below 1%? 
  • WCM states that “This substitution of imported coal will result in significant carbon dioxide emissions savings from the shipping…” (Para 4.2.13) At maximum mine production, how many bulk cargo ships will it need to bring the equivalent 2.78million tonnes of coking coal to Europe from America per annum? Seven maybe each carrying 400,000 tonnes? 

Dr. Neil Bristow’s letter says “WCM’s place in the global market is small”. Conversely the emission saved by importing from abroad (America) will also be small. In my opinion the saving of seven Atlantic crossings is small in comparisons to the 300 millions tonnes globally. Lets not forget also that Europe uses coking coal from Russia and Poland. The Polish coal news article was an interesting read (3). European steel may source more coking coal from there.

  • WCM planning application did not give examples of companies using hydrogen for greening steel. In Germany they closed all their deep coal mines and import coking coal. Their economy and steel industry is much larger than the UKs. Already the Germans (Austrian and Swedish also ) have invested in hydrogen plants to produce the gas in abundance and replace coal; most notably ThyssenKrupp(4) and Voestalpine(5) . Clearly these two companies will be producing greener steel in the not too distant future and unburden themselves of coking coal dependency. Spending £65 million creating their hydrogen plant sounds like a pretty serious investment to me.
  • I am not convinced by WCM’s argument on weathering either. The coal suppliers and steel makers have been dealing with weathering for years. I doubt there is little advantage to having another small supplier nearby? WCM coal, like all the other coal heading for Rotterdam, will be piled on the quayside along with American, Russian, Polish, Australian and whoever else, ready to be distributed to Steelworks. Sure the coal has a `shelf life`, but this little coal mine won’t keep the furnaces of Europe going for long. 
  • WCM talks about the coal quality degrading once mined and transported yet In their new application it seems they are requesting a “relaxation” (Welsh Mining Forum-GB, 13th May 2020 @ 05:41pm)(6) to their metallurgical coal definition, , in effect manufacturing a slightly lower quality coal. Also (Planning Statement page 51) Why the removal of a condition that states “the coal is to be used for steel manufacturing only” This smacks of hypocrisy from WCM in my opinion or is that typo error there?
  • In my first letter of objection last year I asked you to refuse this planning application. I am asking again to turn down this coal mine. Coal is not an asset anymore, the planet is warming up and the weather system is more extreme. Fossils fuels have to stay in the ground if the countries that signed up to the Paris Agreement want to meet those global warming targets,
  • In your previous planning application the committee were under the impression that the mine is broadly carbon neutral. A fact denied by WCM and not substantiated by CCC. The mine is not broadly carbon neutral, you are misleading the general public. Therefore, I do not believe the rhetoric from the mine company or their expert; who can’t get his sums right  (page 25, para 8)  2.78mt is not 0.26% of 300mt. 

Local people’s environment is not enhanced in any way. Cumbrian people living beside the mine and the roads and railway that are used by the mine are in for big changes to their environment; There will be more pollution from diesel engines and the mine itself. The roads will be busier at rush hour; More light and noise pollution, and just because it is within regulation limits, it will still be intrusive.

 

  • I read this recently and it has many interesting points.

…Rapidly phasing out fossil fuels is critical to address the climate crisis because fossil fuels are the biggest driver of the climate crisis. Reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change based on the work of thousands of scientists have confirmed there are no scenarios in which we both keep digging out fossil fuels and keep the world from a climate disaster. We must act now, and decisively, to switch to alternative sources of energy”. NEW York Times” (7).

  • Global warming does not stop at Scafell Pike(8), Keep the coal in the ground and do Whitehaven, Cumbria and the planet a favour. Turn down this coal mine by putting your own policy in action and stand by your policy statement SP15 Environmental Assets.

I am happy to attend your committee meeting, Wednesday 8th July 2020 to elaborate on any of the issues I have raised. Please email me, in the first instance if you would like me to attend.

Yours sincerely,

Martin J Kendall

REFERENCES

 


Update 22

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

June 3, 2020

TAKE ACTION:WRITE TO STOP COAL MINE PLAN (even if you have written before!)

Dear Friends,

Thanks to our continued challenges the Developers of the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades have put forward an amended planning application.  The difference with this plan is that the developers propose to make the lower quality middlings coal (previously called a “by product”) into coking coal.

Even if  you have written previously to oppose the plan PLEASE PLEASE write and object again BEFORE 15th June – and ALSO ask to speak at the planning meeting (July 8th).

We have prepared a list of potential issues that you can object to – (this is not an exhaustive list – there are plenty more arguments you can make against this diabolic plan)

So please do use this as inspiration for your own letters of objection.  Even it you can write just a line or two saying that you strongly oppose this plan. – it is all valid and it all helps!!

Send your letters of objection to

developmentcontrol@cumbria.gov.uk

If you have time to write to all the members of the committee then the details are here 

You can tweet Cumbria County Council here ..  @CumbriaCC 

Please include:  West Cumbria Mining – amendment to Application Reference No. 4/17/9007. 

 

OPPOSITION LETTER TO THE COAL MINE

                              

Application Reference No. 4/17/9007. 

Proposal: Development of a new underground metallurgical coal mine and associated development including: the refurbishment of two existing drifts leading to two new underground drifts; coal storage and processing buildings; office and change building; access road; ventilation, power and water infrastructure; security fencing; lighting; outfall to sea; surface water management system and landscaping at the former Marchon site (High Road) Whitehaven; 

  • a new coal loading facility and railway sidings linked to the Cumbrian Coast Railway Line with adjoining office / welfare facilities; extension of railway underpass; security fencing; lighting; landscaping; construction of a temporary development compound, and associated permanent access on land off Mirehouse Road, Pow Beck Valley, south of Whitehaven; and
  • – a new underground coal conveyor to connect the coal processing buildings with the coal loading facility.

West Cumbria Mining have resubmitted this previously unanimously approved appliction with the change that high quality coking coal would now comprise up to 15% of middlings coal processed on site to render it into coking coal.   

OPPOSITION ON THE GROUNDS OF:

Cumbria County Council Minerals and Local Waste Policy DC13 15.16

This proposal will have unacceptable social and environmental impacts which cannot be mitigated against and would fly in the face of Cumbria County’s own Policy DC13   

a. Loss of Ancient Woodland and degradation of remaining woodland area by the proposed rail conveyor  to cut through two areas of woodland. 

b. Large Coal Yard Sidings and Trains Local residents are opposed to Pow Beck Valley hosting  a large coal yard with six daily coal trains “The facts are; a train over 400 metres long; weighing +1500 tonnes; emitting 25.3g CO2e per tonne km” “126 Coal wagons in their sidings are hardly inconspicuous in our green landscape. More WCM rhetoric at the expense of local residents”.  Local Resident.

c.  Methane Rich coal seams are now safely contained under the Irish Sea. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas.  The developers consultant AECOM has estimated that 74% of the on-site emissions would be the methane emitted from the exposed coal in the mine.  The developers say that “The installation of a methane capture and utilisation plant will potentially eliminate the majority of fugitive methane emissions.”

Methane would continue to be emitted from the broken up coal up till and including the point of use at a steel works.  Methane drainage would potentially only remove a small fraction of total methane.


d.  Zero Carbon Britain – The developers state “If the emissions are less than 1% of the relevant carbon budget, the level of significance is considered to be minor adverse”.   In the context of this long lived coal mine this is nonsensical.  The coal mine is set to continue over 70 years.  By peak production the wildly optimistic 1% of UK carbon emissions from this coal mine would be 5%, 10%  – 20% or even more of an otherwise decarbonised Britain.  In June 2019 the UK became the first major economy to pass net zero emissions law.  The new target will require the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

e. Carbon Neutral.  Cumbria County Council declared a climate emergency in September 2019 and says it is committed to becoming carbon neutral.  West Cumbria Mining have stated in their amended planning applicationand in response to theGreen Alliance Report, that the Coal Mine would NOT be carbon neutral (despite having previously led people including Cumbria County Council to believe that it would be).  In their amended planning statement West Cumbria Mining propose that they have ongoing monitoring requirements on the Development (from 2033 onwards) in order to stop operations past this date if the coal mine compromises the UK’s ability to meet its emissions targets.  This is disingenous.  Cumbria County Council should be brave enough to call a halt to this coal mine sooner rather than later.  

f.  Subsidence and Cement Paste.  The developers propose to fill the voids left by mining with a cement paste in an effort to avoid subsidence of the vulnerable Irish Sea bed and onshore area.  They say the cement backfill :  “will be primarily targeted to sensitive areas including all onshore panels and selected panels close to the Marine Conservation Zone.”  

The planned annual production after 5 years will reach a steady state and is estimated at 2,780,000 tonnes of metallurgical coal, and 



150,000 tonnes of reject. The reject will be blended with water and a binder (e.g. cement) and the resultant paste material will be pumped back underground and placed directly behind a working panel as it is mined. When used, the paste will fill an estimated 65 % of the void space behind a worked panel. The use of the paste backfill will significantly increase the stability of mined-out areas and subsidence over backfilled panels will be reduced by at least 65 %. This applies to both single panels and to groups of panels. For example, for a single panel with 65 % backfill the maximum vertical displacement will be reduced from 21 cm to 9 cm. There will be sufficient paste produced each year to fill two of the eight panels mined each year, i.e. 25 % of panels will be backfilled. Backfill will be primarily targeted to sensitive areas includ- ing all onshore panels and selected panels close to the MCZ.

(MCZ referee to Marine Conservation Zone – quote above from WCM Process Change_R10) 

Marine Conservation Zone Areas – Map by North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation

Cement Paste Backfill (of the “panels” – the voids left by the mining process)   is a relatively new and unstable process.  “many factors such as sulfate presence, geothermal factors, and rock pressure in a mine water context have significant effects on the properties of Cement Paste Backfill.”   The last thing needed near the Sellafield nuclear waste plant is a new coal mine with unstable ‘cement paste backfill.’

The Colourful Coast Partnership has noted that : “The impact of any level of subsidence upon the terrestrial or marine hertiage assets and designated sites and landscapes could be significant and permanent, therefore having a detrimental impact…the history of contamination of watercourses in the area raises concerns…”

The Irish Sea bed has been in reciept of Sellafield’s reprocessing wastes for many decades and any resuspension of those radioactive and chemical wastesis to be avoided.

Local planning authorities such as Cumbria County Council are required to have regard to the prevention of major accidents and limiting their consequences.They must also consider the long-term need for appropriate distances between hazardous establishments and population or environmentally sensitive areas. They must also consider whether additional measures for existing establishments are required so that risks to people in the area are not increased.   Sellafield is less than five miles from the area of mining proposed in the WCM development.  We have seen no detailed risk assessments for this.

g.  “Water is heavily used in coal processing”   Exactly how much Groundwater would the mine abstract daily from the Byerstead Fault at full peak production ?  West Cumbria Mining have not given any indication of fresh water abstraction. No research has been done on the hydrological and geological impact of this abstraction from the Byerstead Fault?   

“Water is heavily used in coal processing and would be obtained from the following sources:


    • Groundwater (Byerstead Fault)
    • Recycled from the CHPP
    • Mine water ingress
    • Moisture in the coal
    • Harvested rain-water “

(WCM presentation to CCC 19th March 2019)

h.  Blight from Construction and operation.  West Cumbria Mining’s own Environmental Assessement says “the construction and operational activities of the proposals ‘have the potential to generate a number of land contamination related adverse impacts on identified receptors.’ And that “the significance of residual effects related to potential geological and contamination related impacts associated with the Proposal during the construction and operation phases are likely to be minor or moderate adverse, and therefore not significant.”  The blight for  people living near the proposal would be Very Significant. The would experience the coal mine blight of toxic mine tailings, coal dust, chemical pollution,  rail wagons,  and associated noise.  The beginning of the first section of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk would be impacted by the noise and disturbance of the coal mine’s rail loading facility.  Should Cumbria County Council approve this plan they would be in contravention of Cumbria’s Statutory Development Plan (SDP)-Cumbria Minerals & Waste Local Plan; POLICY SP15 Environmental Assets. “Protect, maintaintain and enhance people’s overall quality of life and the natural, historic and other distinctive features that contribute to the environment of Cumbria and to the character of its landscapes and places”

 

 NOTE:

Cumbria County Council Minerals and Local Waste Policy DC13 15.16

“Planning applications for coal extraction will only be granted where; 

  •  the proposal would not have any unacceptable social or environmental impacts; or, if not 
  • it can be made so by planning conditions or obligations; or, if not 
  • it provides national, local or community benefits which clearly outweigh the likely impacts to justify the grant of planning permission. 
  • For underground coal mining, potential impacts to be considered and mitigated for will include the effects of subsidence including: the potential hazard of old mine workings; the treatment and pumping of underground water; monitoring and preventative measures for potential gas emissions; and the disposal of colliery spoil. Provision of sustainable transport will be encouraged, as will Coal Mine Methane capture and utilisation.”
Update 21

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

May 30, 2020

Send a Tweet to the Wildlife Trusts - Save Our Living Seas from Deep Coal Mine

Dear Friends,

We are getting together information to help people in writing their own letters of opposition to West Cumbria Mining's new plan.  Even if you have written before please do write again as this is in effect a new plan.

In the meantime it would be fantastic if we could persuade the Wildlife Trusts to write a strong letter of opposition and galvanise their members to oppose the plan for the first deep coal mine in decades under the Irish Sea.

Feel free to use this tweet below as inspiration ( I am not that tweet savvy) or write your own - there are many reasons to oppose the plan - the fact that St Bees is the last nesting place of the Black Guillemot is just one of a multitude.  

Wowee- with this public reach @WildlifeTrusts are uniquely placed to #KeepCumbrianCoalintheHole #StBees is the last breeding place in England of the #BlackGuillemot the #IrishSea is under threat Save our #LivingSeas and PLEASE @CraigBennett3 tell @CumbriaCC 2stop @WCumbriaMining….

The Wildlife Trusts feature the Black Guillemot – the same Black Guillemot that is under threat from the plan to mine for coal deep under the Irish Sea.  The damage done by this development is likely to be many layered from climate change to physical damage to Irish Sea bed and the nesting site at St Bees – the only nesting site in England left for the Black Guillemot.

This is what the Wildlife Trusts say:

“Did you know?

The black guillemot is also known as the ‘Tystie’ in the Scottish Isles, which was probably derived from the Norse name for the bird.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a Living Seas vision, where coastal and marine wildlife thrives alongside the sustainable use of the ocean’s resources. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.”


Send a Tweet to the Wildlife Trusts – Now it is the Wildlife Trusts turn to “Do Your Bit”  – and oppose the coal mine plan.  So far there has been silence.   

The revised plan can be seen Online via the County Council’s website at: planning.cumbria.gov.uk.   Application Ref No: 4/17/9007

Tweet the CEO of The Wildlife Trusts  @CraigBennett3

 The plan is scheduled to be discussed by Cumbria County Council on the 8th July - contact: developmentcontrol@cumbria.gov.uk


Update 20

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

May 18, 2020

Great News! Green Light for Coal Mine is Now Amber, Thanks to You!

Image: Wild Honeysuckle at St Bees

There is great news!  

The unanimous green light that Cumbria County Council had given the developers, West Cumbria Mining,  has now effectively turned back to amber.   Cumbria County Council has confirmed that it will no longer rely on the resolution decision that we were challenging.

This turn around would not have happened without your amazing support for the Judicial Review (which had been granted full approval to go ahead and challenge the County Council's decision). 

West Cumbria Mining has now submitted a revised planning application to Cumbria County Council.  This revised plan seeks to answer the legal challenges which were to be brought by us in the Judicial Review. 

We believe the true reason why West Cumbria Mining has submitted a revised planning application is to try to defeat our legal challenge.

For example the middlings coal will now, say West Cumbria Mining, with this new plan be magically transformed into coking coal!

Our brilliant lawyers at Leigh Day will now seek costs from Cumbria County Council and WCM, because we have in effect achieved what we set out to do, which was to overturn the council’s unanimous decision to approve the coal mine.  

We are seeking legal costs in order to keep our fighting fund for another day.  This is should we need the fighting fund after the council's planning meeting to decide whether or not to approve WCM's new and improved cunning plan!


So, there is now an opportunity to firstly lobby the council so they do not, yet again, say yes to this revised planning application for the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades.  

Should Cumbria County Council say yes again, Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole will challenge that, again!

But first things first - the revised plan can be seen Online via the County Council’s website at: planning.cumbria.gov.uk.   Application Ref No: 4/17/9007 

Even if you have written in opposition to the plan before please do write again...this is in effect a new plan.  

I will send out info soon to help people challenge this revised planning application with your own letters of opposition to Cumbria County Council.   We have not got long - the (first) official deadline is June 15th. 

We can Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole !! 


Update 19

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

April 16, 2020

Todays BBC Podcast about the “Carbon Neutral” Coal Mine


This BBC podcast today makes some good points but leaves much out. It is a far cry from 2018 when  we made a complaint to the BBC about their promotion of the mine as a ‘good thing’ on the 27th Dec 2018 Radio 4 PM program….Following that program in 2018 green minded folk told us they felt “reassured” that the mine was environmentally sound.     The program today was much more critical of the plan. However, no mention of the legal challenge or the close proximity to Sellafield.

Listen here from 16.00
Update 18

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

April 10, 2020

Spring Watch at St Bees & Possible July Date for Coal Mine Challenge


Dear Friends,

As you know we had planned a Spring Watch Wildlife Walk and Draw along the cliff top walk from Whitehaven to St Bees.  As we cannot do that here is a virtual walk with sketches of some of the birds that it is possible to see. Some are very vulnerable indeed such as the Black Guillemot,  just one of the reasons why we want to stop this coal mine. 

The date of the week beginning the 20th July has now been set for the Legal Challenge which people have so generously donated funds towards.  A Press Release has been sent out to media and can be read below.  With many thanks for your continued opposition to this coal mine plan.  We will let you know more details about the 20th July date as soon as we know more.

With All Very Best Wishes

Marianne 

on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole.

****************************************************

PRESS NOTICE.                                                                     8th April 2020

POSSIBLE JULY DATE FOR CUMBRIAN COAL MINE LEGAL CHALLENGE

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole are challenging the decision by Cumbria County Council to allow the first phase of a major new coking coal mine deep under the Irish Sea.  The date for the Judicial Review is planned for the week commencing the 20th July (dependent on the situation with Covid19 restrictions) and will be heard at the High Court in Manchester. 

 The case is being brought on behalf of KCCH by Mrs Marianne Bennett (which is the legal name of the Cumbrian based artist Marianne Birkby). KCCH was founded by the campaign group Radiation Free Lakeland which was set up in 2008 to fight the plan for the geological disposal of nuclear wastes under Cumbria.  A crowdfunder set up by Mrs Bennett following Cumbria County Council’s decision in March 2019 to grant the coal mine planning permission has generated £10,435 to cover court costs and legal expenses.  KCCH have engaged the services of top environmental lawyers at Leigh Day, Matrix Chambers and Francis Taylor Buildings. 

 On 20 June 2019, Leigh Day wrote to Cumbria County Council addressing a number of legal issues. Despite being alerted to those concerns, Cumbria County Council ratified its decision on 31 October 2019. 

JUDICIAL REVIEW 

Consequently, KCCH launched its Judicial Review on 12 December 2019, arguing that Cumbria County Council had failed to properly assess the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the mining operations, by wrongly claiming that the development would be “carbon neutral” without any evidence whatsoever to support such a claim. KCCH also submitted that Cumbria County Council had a legal requirement to consider whether the extraction and use of the coal would be in line with the Government’s target of Net Zero CO2 emissions by 2050, given the Whitehaven development will last for at least the next 50 years.

The developers West Cumbria Mining as ‘interested party,’ have throughout, strongly resisted the legal challenge. Arguing that KKCH’s case against Cumbria County Council is “without merit” in respect of both carbon emissions and the need for coking coal.  WCM also argued that the KCCH should be exposed to much higher costs, which could have jeopardised the Judicial Review going ahead. However, Mrs Justice Beverley Lang agreed in February 2019 that the legal issues are arguable, that they justify a public hearing and that KCCH could have a cap of £5,000 on court costs under Aarhus rules.

WEST CUMBRIAN MINING ‘U-TURN’ ON MIDDLINGS COAL ?

 Since then, and in an apparent U-turn, WCM has sent a letter to Cumbria County Council (disclosed as part of the legal case) that says all of the extracted Coal can now go into the Steel Industry. In light of that change, WCM indicates in the letter that it will submit a revised planning application to Cumbria County Council. However, much is unknown as to whether the total amount of Coal will remain the same or whether there is still going to be a by-product of Middlings Coal, and if so how the environmental impact of disposing of that waste product will be assessed by Cumbria County Council before any revised planning application is approved.

CLIMATE IMPACTS

 Neither WCM nor Cumbria County Council have yet addressed criticisms of the climate change impact of the Coal Mine raised in a report published by the Green Alliance. We understand from the same letter that WCM intends to do so as part of any revised planning application.

 Meanwhile, KCCH intends to proceed with the legal challenge, because there are still questions concerning GHG emissions and the Net Zero target which campaigners believe are unaffected by these revisions.

 Marianne Birkby from KKCH, said:

 "We are pleased that a date has now been set for the legal challenge which has had to overcome so many hurdles already to get us to this point. We feel that this coal mine has gone way under the radar for so long - the climate impacts alone should have stopped this plan in its tracks from the outset  but there is also the issue, much on our minds,  that this coal mine would extend to within 5 miles of the Sellafield site.  Cumbria would be the only place in the UK with deep mining infrastructure in place.    We are delighted that full legal scrutiny of the climate change impacts will be addressed despite the manoeuvrings of West Cumbria Mining to try and circumvent any such legal challenge.  We will continue to work tirelessly along with others to stop this, outrageously dangerous coal mine plan under the Irish Sea."  

ENDS


Notes:

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - blog

https://keepcumbriancoalinthehole.wordpress.com

CrowdJustice page 

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/cumbriancoal2/

Radiation Free Lakeland - website

https://wildar4.wixsite.com/radiation-free-land

West Cumbria Mining - website

https://www.westcumbriamining.com

Leigh Day

https://www.leighday.co.uk

Aarhus Convention

https://ec.europa.eu/environment/aarhus/legislation.htm

The Case Against New Coal Mines in the UK - report by Green Alliance

https://www.green-alliance.org.uk/resources/The_case_against_new_coal_mines_in_the_UK.pdf







Update 17

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

March 20, 2020

'Carbon Border Tax' Report Author is Coal Mine Lobbyist

Old King Coal Dug a Great Big Hole 

and said:

No Worries, its Carbon Free.  

The Coal is for Steel

And we've made a Deal 

.......(to be continued)

THANK YOU to all who have donated so far.  We will have some news very soon on the legal case..but for now just wanted to let you know the strange truth about a new report making the case for a "carbon border tax."

The report backing a "carbon border tax" sounds like the sort of thing green minded folk would welcome  However, there is more to this narrative than meets the eye.  

Environmental Journalist Simon Pickstone has today written an excellent article in ENDS which exposes the fact that the "widely reported briefing making the case for a carbon border tax on imported goods, including on metallurgical coal, was written by a policy adviser for a company planning to construct the UK’s first new deep coal mine since the 1980s. The briefing, which received coverage in ENDS, the Scotsman and the Times, was published by the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) and written by Tony Lodge, a research fellow for the influential free market think tank, which describes him as a “political and energy analyst.”

Yes thats right - Tony Lodge, author of the green sounding report on 'carbon border tax' also works as a political adviser for West Cumbria Mining.

It seems to us that Tony Lodge has been advocating for this 'carbon border tax' for many years.  He wrote a report in 2012 for the Coalition government called the Atomic Clock which argued that the Coalition could have their 'clean environmental' credentials on the extreme energies of nuclear, shale gas and coal whilst still being able to eat their industrial cake...if only they went about carbon accounting and taxing in the right way. 

Strange Times.

Update 16

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

March 10, 2020

We are Keeping the Legal Fund Page Open

Dear Friends,

Big Thank You to All - We are keeping the CrowdJustice page open a while longer to keep folk updated and to keep on raising awareness about the insanity of this coal mine.  Cumbria would be the ONLY place in the UK to have ANY deep mining going on.  West Cumbria Mining plan to mine for coking and industrial coal in the "gassiest pit in the kingdom".  West Cumbria is the  place where the Davey Lamp was tested out because methane is so prevalent under the Irish Sea bed.  

A recent article in The Ecologist explains why methane - always known to be a dangerous gas is more dangerous than we thought.  Stopping the Coal Mine in Cumbria just got a whole lot more urgent.

Extract

"Scientists have been vastly underestimating the amount of methane humans are emitting into the atmosphere through fossil fuels, according to research.

Analysis published in the journal Nature shows methane emissions from fossil fuels owing to human activity is around 25 percent to 40 percent higher than thought.

But researchers believe their findings offer hope, saying stricter regulations to curb methane emissions could help reduce future global warming to "a larger extent than previously thought".

Ice core

Benjamin Hmiel, a professor of earth and environmental science at the University of Rochester and one of the study authors, said: "I don't want to get too hopeless on this because my data does have a positive implication: most of the methane emissions are anthropogenic, so we have more control.

"If we can reduce our emissions, it's going to have more of an impact."

Read the Full Article HERE

Update 15

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

March 2, 2020

Walk and Spring Wildlife Watch - date to be confirmed

Dear Friends,

Thank you So Much for keeping on sharing and donating - everything put in the hat will go direct to the legal fund to take our case to Judicial Review.  We are still waiting for a date for our case to be heard - but it will be in Manchester!  

Will let you know just as soon as we hear.  

In the meantime we are planning a walk along the beautiful (but a bit challenging) cliff top from Whitehaven to St Bees.  The walk will include wildlife watching and maybe a bit of drawing too!  

Seabirds, guillemots, gulls, ravens and more are all descending on the cliffs to nest so it is an exciting time.  This is the only nesting place in England of the black guillemot and the coal mine threatens that , as well as much else!   What is left of our wildlife is increasingly important.  A date for the walk is yet to be set but watch this space!

All Best Wishes

Marianne


Update 14

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

Feb. 16, 2020

OPPOSITION GROWS!


Dear Friends,

The Opposition to this Coal mine is GROWING!

In the last week there have been demonstrations from Cumbria to London. Demonstrations of opposition to the plan to open the first deep coal mine in decades.

Thank you to everyone who is opposing this coal mine whether it is by actively demonstrating opposition, contributing to the crowdfunder for the legal challenge or sharing the information.  It is all important and it all sends out the strong and growing message that this coal mine is totally unacceptable. 

Please keep on sharing this crowd justice page and let folk know that we can stop this mine - it is NOT a done deal.

Here are a few links to the growing opposition... 

Children should not have to go on hunger strike to stop this mine  ‘It’s a Huge Step Backwards’: Teenagers Hunger Striking to Stop the UK's Newest Coal Mine By Phoebe Cooke • Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 09:15


Update 13

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

Feb. 6, 2020

What a Week!


Dear Friends 

What a Week!! 

Channel 4 skewers the Mayor, the MP and the Council bosses, Elijah gets his visit to the House, and the High Court says that there is a case to answer!

Well done everyone for getting this legal challenge off the starting blocks. Onwards and Upwards!!

Below is Leigh Day's Press Release ... you can also read it direct on their website 

6 February 2020

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole (KCCH), are challenging Cumbria County Council’s Development Control and Regulation Committee’s decision to resolve to grant planning permission for a major new underground metallurgical coal mine on the former Marchon Chemical Works site in Whitehaven, Cumbria. The judicial review will be heard at the High Court in Manchester on a date yet to be set.


KCCH is an active environmental campaign group in the local area, and was one of the leading objectors to the planning application focussing its objections on the proximity of the coal mine site to the nuclear facility at Sellafield.


Cumbria County Council resolved to grant planning permission following a unanimous vote on 19 March 2019. On 20 June 2019, Leigh Day wrote to Cumbria County Council. The letter addressed a number of legal issues, including Cumbria County Council’s failures to consider:

  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the mining operations
  • The need for, and GHG impacts of, Middlings Coal
  • The Government’s Net Zero target.

Despite being alerted to those concerns, Cumbria County Council ratified its decision on 31 October 2019. Mrs Justice Beverley Lang has now agreed that those legal issues are arguable and justify a public hearing.


Marianne Birkby from KCCH, said:


“Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole are delighted we are able to bring this Judicial Review in order to challenge the decision made by Cumbria County Council to approve the first deep coal mine in decades. This legal challenge is only happening because of the ongoing determination of our campaigning and the huge generosity of everyone who has donated to the crowd-funder.”


Rowan Smith, solicitor at law firm Leigh Day, who is representing Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, with Anna Dews and Carol Day from Leigh Day, said:


“We are pleased that the High Court has granted our client permission for a judicial review of Cumbria County Council’s decision to allow this coal mine development. This legal action shines a light on how all local planning authorities should assess the climate change impacts of development of this nature, particularly with the backdrop of the UK Parliament declaring a climate emergency and the Government’s commitment to ensuring that the Net Zero target is reached by 2050.


“We are in the middle of a climate crisis, and our clients have worked tirelessly to bring this issue into the public domain. There will now be full legal scrutiny of the climate change impact of this proposal, which is estimated to translate to 420 million tonnes CO₂e even without taking into account the emissions arising from the extraction process.”


David Wolfe QC from Matrix chambers and Merrow Golden from Francis Taylor Building chambers are instructed.


Update 12

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

Feb. 5, 2020

In the News...

Dear Friends,

Thank you to all who are donating and sharing in order that we can challenge the outrageous decision by Cumbria County Council to approve the first deep coal mine in decades.

In case  you missed the Channel 4 programme this evening - here is a link to the page.  

Will update soon with news of the legal challenge

All best wishes

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

Update 11

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

Jan. 15, 2020

New Report: Cumbrian Coal Mine "Incompatible" with Climate Goals

Bravo to the authors of a new report which concludes that the Cumbrian coal mine is incompatible with the UK's climate ambition. 

“The proposed mine is clearly incompatible with the UK’s climate ambitions and the need for a clean energy future,” said Rebecca Willis, co-author of the report, in a statement. “The new government has championed its commitment to climate action. It now needs to set out its policy on fossil fuel extraction, making clear that digging more coal out of the ground is no longer acceptable.”

 Add to the above, the (largely ignored) fact that this coal mine would extend to within five miles of the world's riskiest nuclear waste site at Sellafield and you have a recipe for both climate and nuclear disaster -- what a terrible double whammy.  What the accompanying write up by the report authors does not touch on,  is that there are many local people not only aware of the incompatibility of new coal to the UKs climate ambitions - but also and unique to this situation, a deep undersea coal mine  and the dangerous proximity to Sellafield.  

The report 'The case against new coal mines in the UK'  is from the nonpartisan thinktank Green Alliance.  

West Cumbria Mining has not yet responded to the report.



more info:

Desmog 

The Guardian 



Update 10

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

Jan. 8, 2020

The Spirit of the Irish Sea Thanks You

"Sea Horse Heart - Spirit of the Irish Sea" 

Let 2020 be the year that we Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole and stop this terrible plan.  Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to the crowdfunder and equal thanks to those who have been sharing and talking about this.  

The image above is a small watercolour painting and the final person to donate to the crowdfunder will receive the painting.   

Thanks to you all we now have the means to push forward with a legal challenge.  

But we are not resting on our laurels and will be pursuing every means possible to stop this coal mine,  alongside the legal challenge.

The St Bees area of the Irish Sea is in a Marine Conservation Zone  and will need a license from the Marine Management Organisation in order for coal to be extracted from deep under the Irish Sea.  From what we can see the MMO only consults with conservancy agencies and organisations (?)   This is rather scary as the organisations tasked with the protection of Cumbria's wildlife have, incredibly, so far been rather nonchalant about this coal mine and the impacts it would inevitably have on the Irish Sea and the Irish Sea bed.  We will be pushing for a full public consultation with the public and with surrounding countries. The countries that are on the Irish Sea shoreline are, Scotland,  England , Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland .  All of these countries should be consulted by the MMO in their deliberations on whether or not to give West Cumbria Mining free rein to mine out coking and industrial "middlings"  coal from under the Irish Sea just five miles from the world's riskiest nuclear waste site, Sellafield.  

ALSO:  The Climate Change Act 2008 is a legally binding, long-term framework for the UK to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change.  Under the Act, public bodies (including the Marine Management Organisation) must report on the steps that they are taking to respond to climate change. The purpose of this report is to highlight the ways in which the MMO’s work is at risk of being affected by a changing climate and to set out any actions to help the organisation adapt.

OK THEN!  SO KEEP CUMBRIAN COAL IN THE HOLE!!! 




Update 9

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

Dec. 28, 2019

Queen's Speech: Boris is Giving Up Fossil Fuels - Just Not Yet

Hope you all had a jolly good Christmas with friends and family.  Just had to share this with you...

Here is an extract from the  excellent article in the Independent from Donnachadh McCarthy.

"The Queen’s Speech boasted about how the government was phasing out coal-fired power stations by 2025. This is genuinely positive, as coal is the highest source of carbon emissions in the energy industry. However, the speech made no mention of the fact that Johnson’s government is also giving the go-ahead to one of the biggest new coal mines in Europe, the Woodhouse Colliery in Cumbria. Johnson is beginning to resemble Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull who, despite his country being in flames, backs the new Adani coal mine. If you closed down the UK economy for a year, you would not have saved as much carbon emissions as the Woodhouse Colliery will, if allowed to open, emit over its lifetime."

The full article can be read here

Thanks to all of you amazing folk who have been actively opposing the Woodhouse Colliery coal mine in whatever way, whether it is joining our demonstrations, writing letters, petitions, walks and talking to people about the plan.  Thanks to all who have also been sharing this CrowdJustice page and donating to the fundraiser we now have a chance at stopping this outrageous plan with a legal challenge.  

Onwards and Upwards to 2020!


Update 8

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

Dec. 23, 2019

Merry Christmas to All!

Dear Friends,

Here is a Christmas Card from some of the beautiful and increasingly rare birds to be found at the area under threat from the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades.  


"We Three Black Guillemots 

Of St Bees, Thank You, for Keeping

Coal Deep Under the Seas."

The only breeding place left in England of the Black Guillemot is St Bees, the area directly under threat.   

"St Bees Head supports northwest England's only cliff-nesting seabird colony, which is situated between Whitehaven and St. Bees in west Cumbria. Three viewing points give you superb views of the colony and on a clear day you can see the Isle of Man across the sea." RSPB

Thank You to everyone for generously donating

 and sharing the battle to 

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole!  


With All Best Wishes for a Safe, Peaceful Christmas 

Marianne

on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole 


https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black_Guillemot/sounds



Update 7

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

Dec. 15, 2019

Legal Papers Submitted to the Courts! All Thanks to YOU!

On the 12th December legal papers were submitted by our top lawyers Leigh Day to the courts and to Cumbria County Council.

This is ALL THANKS TO YOU and the incredible generosity of everyone who has donated to the crowd funder.  The fundraiser page is being kept open to keep on raising awareness and because court costs can spiral so the more funds we can raise the better chance we have.   We are hoping against hope that there will be a cap put on the costs and Leigh Day have argued for this to be the case.

Just as soon as we are able to we will share the detail of the legal papers.

In the meantime here is a recent local article from the News and Star outlining some of the reasons why we are all so very determined to keep on fighting with regards this coal mine.

Please do keep sharing the crowd justice page as we need to keep sending out the message that the first deep coal mine in the UK in decades is NOT A DONE DEAL!   

And the fact that this is now moving forward with a legal challenge is all down to your amazing generosity.   




Update 6

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

Dec. 9, 2019

Cumbrian Coal "Disaster" - The Independent

BIG thanks to environmental campaigner and journalist Donnachadh McCarthy.

Below are a few excerpts from his hard hitting article published in the Independent online a few days ago...

"Just imagine if the government turned off all the electricity to all the homes in the UK. All the lights, all the electric heating, all the TVs, washing machines, fridges – everything. Even if they kept them turned off for 20 years, you still would not have saved all of the 420 million tons of carbon emissions emitted by a new planned coal mineover its lifetime.

"The proposed Woodhouse colliery in Whitehaven, Cumbria – the first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years – was quietly given the go-ahead while attention was diverted by the government’s announcement of a temporary moratorium on fracking. This was a classic Lynton Cosby style tactic of throwing a dead cat on the table to distract us from the truly negative decision they were simultaneously making."

..... "But what could be worse than a massive new coal mine? ..........  That’s right, this enormous new underground and undersea coal mine is spitting distance from the ageing Sellafield nuclear plant.

"This opens up the human-induced earthquake issue yet again. Fracking has been shut down temporarily – the government finally admitted that they could not predict if the technique to extract shale gas from deep underground would set off earthquakes. But coal mining can also cause quakes. A study done by Durham University found that 21% of all UK earthquakes since 1970, have been caused largely by coal mining.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

THANK YOU to EVERYONE who has been generously donating to the legal challenge. We CAN do this.  We CAN STOP this DISASTROUS COAL MINE! 

Update 5

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

Nov. 24, 2019

This little puffin seen at St Bees says Thank You!


Here is a little puffin to THANK YOU for all the generous donations so far!  

This little puffin ( hand made last night!) represents the amazing birds that are sometimes seen at St Bees.  In order for the puffin to continue to visit St Bees they need sandeels which we know are under threat from temperature rise in the oceans.  

On the next update we will share the letter which has been sent to Cumbria County Council from Leigh Day.  The letter is the start of the legal battle which aims to keep the temperature from rising in our oceans by stopping this diabolic plan for the first deep coal mine in decades!

Please keep sharing!  We CAN stop this coal mine and it will be ALL THANKS TO YOU!


Update 4

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

Nov. 19, 2019

Where Exactly is The Coal Mine Planned?

•BIG Thank You•  to Everyone who continues to share and to donate. The donations have been amazingly generous.  This generosity will ensure we can continue to fight this desperate plan to mine for coal under the Irish Sea.

People are asking where exactly the plan is.  So I have done a very makeshift map taken from my own photograph of West Cumbria Mining's own information boards and overlaid over a map of Cumbria.  The red line area off St Bees is the extent of the planned phases of the coal mine.  This gives some idea of the scale in relation to the Lake District so beloved of so many people and yet ...and yet this plan has gone massively under the radar. 

No Longer!!  

We won't stay quiet on this. From this map you can see how close the mine would extend to Sellafield.   The world's riskiest nuclear waste site.

Thank you once again to all those who are sharing and donating - 

We Can Stop This Coal Mine...

Update 3

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

Nov. 15, 2019

WELL DONE EVERYONE - We're on the Way!

SOME METHANE MADNESS!! 

(Old King Coal - from Comic Vine)

Well Done to Everyone for donating and sharing - please keep going with sharing the page and lets get the message out there that this coal mine is MADNESS.

Today's news in The Guardian illustrates the point.  

Today's Guardian reports that : "Methane emissions from coalmines could stoke climate crisis...Millions of tonnes belched into atmosphere as bad as shipping and aviation emissions combined, researchers find"

"Dave Jones, an analyst at the climate thinktank Sandbag, said the report proves the global coal industry “is even more polluting than we thought” and should face tougher regulation."

"It found that deeper coal seams tend to contain more methane than shallower seams, while older seams have higher methane content than younger seams. The findings were applied across all countries with coalmines to estimate the global scourge of coalmine methane."

What is not reported alongside this is that West Cumbria Mining have been given the green light by Cumbria County Council to  release of methane which is currently safely contained deep beneath the Irish Sea bed. The Cumbrian Coal deposits under the Irish Sea off St Bees are methane rich.  West Cumbria Mining's proposed development has already released an unknown quantity of methane from beneath the Irish Sea bed when it hit a methane gas pocket whilst carrying out explorations back in 2017:  " drilling operations from a jack-up barge had struck a gas pocket approximately one nautical mile from St Bee’s Head. The drilling is part of a programme of exploration work to support a new coal mining project in west Cumbria...Local authorities, fire rescue, police and the Environment Agency were all informed."

It was due to this area's methane rich status that the famous safety Davy Lamp was tested out right here in West Cumbria!

Interesting bit about the Davy lamp here

"In 1816, the Cumberland Pacquetreported a demonstration of the Davy lamp at William Pit, Whitehaven. Placed in a blower "... the effect was grand beyond description. At first a blue flame was seen to cap the flame of the lamp, - then succeeded a lambent flame, playing in the cylinder; and shortly after, the flame of the firedamp expanded, so as to completely fill the wire gauze. For some time, the flame of the lamp was seen through that of the firedamp, which became ultimately extinguished without explosion. Results more satisfactory were not to be wished..."[11]Another correspondent to the paper commented "The Lamp offers absolute security to the miner... With the excellent ventilation of the Whitehaven Collieriesand the application of Sir HUMPHRY's valuable instrument, the accidents from the explosion of' (carburetted) 'hydrogene which have occurred (although comparatively few for such extensive works) will by this happy invention be avoided".[11]

Unfortunately, this prediction was not fulfilled: in the next thirty years, firedamp explosions in Whitehaven pits cost 137 lives.[12]:139More generally, the Select Committee on Accidents in Mines reported in 1835 that the introduction of the Davy lamp had led to an increase in mine accidents;[9]:130the lamp encouraged the working of mines and parts of mines that had previously been closed for safety reasons.[13]"

 

 

Update 2

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

Nov. 14, 2019

MASSIVE THANKS !!- The Initial £5000 Target has been exceeded

THANKS TO YOU the Initial £5000 Target has been exceeded!

WOWEE!!!    All Thanks to you the initial £5000 target has been exceeded and we are now on our way to making sure we have the means to take on a Legal Challenge.  

However Raising more funds means that the fantastic work Leigh Day has already started can continue.  So please if you can donate please do and if you cannot, please share and lets get the message out that the first deep coal mine in the UK in 30 years is NOT A DONE DEAL.

The more funds we raise the more we can do to challenge the outrageous decision by Cumbria County Council in approving this deep coal mine. 

The Dolphins and Marine Life of the Irish Sea say a " BIG Thank You"   The last thing they need is a MASSIVE DEEP COAL MINE causing subsidence and pollution of the already stressed Irish Sea Bed.


Update 1

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole - a Radiation Free Lakeland Campaign

Nov. 13, 2019

We are Well Over Halfway - THANK YOU!

Thank you so much for all your generous donations. We are now well over halfway to the target £5000.  This will go towards ensuring that the Coal mine decision in Cumbria is Challenged and Stopped.

Here is a BIG thank you from the wildlife in the West Cumbrian area where coal mining stopped over 30 years ago and where the wildlife is now recovering.  We can't let that recovery be jeopardised by a new deep coal mine under the Irish Sea.

Thank you from the wildlife, from the rock pipits and black guillemots at St Bees, from the marine life to the semi-natural ancient woodland that would be annihilated along with hedgerows to make way for the onshore coal 'facilities' for this deep undersea  coal mine.


With all best wishes

Marianne

on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole

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