Michael Gove APPROVES first new coal mine for 30 years in Cumbria
By Ben Chapman
Published: 07/12/2022- 18:51
Updated: 14/02/2023- 10:27
Levelling-Up Secretary Michael Gove has provoked anger from environmental campaigners by approving a controversial new coal mine in Cumbria.
He granted planning permission for what would be the the first new site in the UK in 30 years after years of delay from the Government.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) said the coal from the mine near Whitehaven, to be known as Woodhouse Colliery, will be used for the production of steel and not for power generation.
Friends of the Earth described it as an “appalling decision” that will damage the fight against the climate crisis while not replacing Russian coal.
Supporters of the coking coal mine on the edge of Whitehaven in Cumbria say it will create around 500 jobs.
DLUHC said Mr Gove “agreed to grant planning permission for a new metallurgical coal mine in Cumbria as recommended by the independent planning inspector”.
“This coal will be used for the production of steel and would otherwise need to be imported. It will not be used for power generation,” a statement read.
“The mine seeks to be net zero in its operations and is expected to contribute to local employment and the wider economy.”
Fellow Tory MPs are among those to criticise the plan.
Labour shadow climate secretary Ed Miliband said it is “no solution to the energy crisis, it does not offer secure, long-term jobs, and it marks this government giving up on all pretence of climate leadership”.
“Waving this mine through further cements Rishi Sunak as an out of date fossil fuel PM in a renewable age,” the MP said.
The move also threatens to anger some Conservative MPs, who were opposing the mine.
Friends of the Earth campaigner Tony Bosworth said: “Approving this mine is a misguided and deeply damaging mistake that flies in the face of all the evidence.
“The mine isn’t needed, will add to global climate emissions, and won’t replace Russian coal.”
The planning inspector who recommended the site’s approval wrote that the development would “have an overall neutral effect on climate change”.
Stephen Normington said the amount of coal used in steel making would be “broadly the same” with or without the mine.
“Consequently, I consider that the proposed development would have a broadly neutral effect on the global release of GHG (greenhouse gas) from coal used in steel making whether or not end use emissions are taken into account,” he wrote.
The Liberal Democrats criticised the Government for approving the “deeply damaging coal mine”.
Environment spokesman Tim Farron said: “This decision cancels out all the progress Britain has made on renewable energy. The Government’s environmental credentials are yet again left in tatters.
“Rishi Sunak’s Government is trashing our country’s reputation as a world lead in cutting emissions. He does not represent the views of the public who want green, clean projects.”