Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 25 October 2020

Britain to build first new deep coal mine in 30 years

Campaigners claim Cumbria project goes against government’s goals on climate change

Protesters campaign against the UK's first new coal mine in 30 years outside parliament in London. Alamy 
Protesters campaign against the UK's first new coal mine in 30 years outside parliament in London. Alamy 

The UK is set to dig its first deep coal mine in more than 30 years in a move that campaigners say makes a mockery of the government’s commitments to climate change.

Cumbria county council, in north-west England, was poised to give the project the green light in a meeting today despite attempts by environmentalists to block the plan.

West Cumbria Mining, the company behind the project, said the new mine would bring up to 500 jobs to an area heavily reliant on tourism.

The proposal was first granted planning permission last year but was subject to a judicial review brought on by environmental groups who said a new coal mine was at odds with the UK’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050.

The plan was resubmitted after the review.

The council said it would support the £160m colliery on the basis that it would close by 2049 - one year before the UK is required to be carbon neutral.

The mine was originally set to operate for 70 years.

The developer said it would extract coking coal used in the production of steel, instead of fuel for power.

A report last year by the Green Alliance suggested the mine would produce 8.4 tons of carbon dioxide per year - more than double the net annual emissions for the whole of Cumbria.

Friends of the Earth’s north-west campaigner Estelle Worthington said: “We’re not going to solve the rapidly escalating climate crisis by giving the green light to new coal mines.

“Coal extraction in Cumbria will increase climate-wrecking emissions and undermine the UK’s commitment to building a carbon-free future.”

On June 10, during lockdown, the UK set a new record for the number of days without producing any coal-generated electricity.

The country was reliant entirely on alternative forms of power generation for two months - the longest run since the 1880s.

Updated: October 2, 2020 07:07 PM

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