With every week bringing more news of ‘unprecedented’, ‘record-breaking’ and extreme weather events around the world, it is absolutely clear that this is no time for a new coal mine.
Representatives of the Weald Action Group are travelling to Cumbria on Saturday 9 September to join a Speakers’ Corner event against the proposed new coal mine in Whitehaven. This is a regular event organised by Friends of the Earth Cumbria and others to demonstrate opposition to the UK’s first new deep coal mine for 30 years.
Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, granted planning permission for this mine in December 2022. If it goes ahead, it will produce 2.78 million tonnes of coal per year until 2049. Total lifetime greenhouse gas emissions, including from the use of the coal, will exceed 220 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Friends of the Earth and South Lakes Action on Climate Change (SLACC) have both brought High Court challenges to the grant of planning permission arguing that the Secretary of State’s decision was unlawful as he did not properly consider the climate impacts of this mine.
Solidarity and support between our linked campaigns
There are many connections between the Cumbrians’ campaign against the mine and our own campaigns against oil and gas extraction in the South East. We are all motivated by stopping more fossil fuel production – which we have been repeatedly told is vital to prevent catastrophic global heating by the International Energy Agency, the UN Secretary-General, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and more.
There are direct links too.
- In his decision to allow the mine, Michael Gove referenced the High Court decision on the case of Horse Hill in Surrey, brought by campaigner Sarah Finch on behalf of the Weald Action Group. He used this decision to justify excluding the greenhouse gas emissions that will arise from burning the coal from the Environmental Impact Assessment of the mine.
- West Cumbria Mining Ltd, the company behind the mine, intervened in the Supreme Court appeal on Horse Hill, clearly concerned about the ramifications for the coalmine if the challenge were upheld.
- The hearing on Friends of the Earth’s and SLACC’s legal challenge has been postponed until after the Supreme Court judgment on Horse Hill case is delivered.
Sarah Finch will be speaking at the Speakers’ Corner event, alongside speakers from Red Green Labour/Anti-Capitalist Resistance/XR Trade Union group; Extinction Rebellion North Lakes; Greener Jobs Alliance; the Pont Valley Campaign; and the Campaign against Climate Change Trade Union Group.
Lorraine Inglis of Weald Action Group said: “Wherever there is a need to challenge new fossil fuel projects, solidarity and support is an important aspect of our campaigning”.