Weald Action Group supports campaigners against new Cumbria coalmine

Weald Action Group campaigners at a rally at the mine on 9 September 2023

Campaigners from the Weald Action Group will support campaigners against the planned new coal mine in Cumbria as they take their cases to the Royal Courts of Justice on 16 July. 

Join the rally outside the court on the first day of the hearing, Tuesday 16 July

If it goes ahead, the new coal mine planned for Whitehaven in Cumbria would be the UK’s first new deep coal mine for over 30 years. It would produce millions of tonnes of coal, threatening the UK’s legally-binding climate targets and undermining the international credibility of our climate policies.

Michael Gove, ex Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, granted planning permission for the mine in December 2022. This was overwhelmingly viewed to be a bad decision.

South Lakes Action on Climate Change (SLACC) and Friends of the Earth have both brought legal challenges against the planning permission, arguing, among other grounds, that Mr Gove’s decision was unlawful as he did not properly consider the climate impacts of this coal mine. The two challenges will be heard together over three days from 16-18 July.

2024 Horse Hill judgment gives new hope

The Weald Action Group’s recent victory at the Supreme Court has given new hope that the mine project will have to be shelved.

Regarding Horse Hill, the Supreme Court ruled that “The council’s decision to grant planning permission for this project… was unlawful because… the [Environmental Impact Assessment] for the project failed to assess the effect on climate of the combustion of the oil to be produced”. Exactly the same is true of the climate assessment for the Cumbrian coal mine.

When deciding to allow the mine in 2022, Michael Gove used the previous High Court judgment on the Horse Hill case to justify excluding the greenhouse gas emissions that will arise from burning the coal from the Environmental Impact Assessment of the mine. That High Court judgment has now been overturned.

Sarah Finch, who brought the successful legal challenge to Horse Hill on behalf of the Weald Action Group, said, “This is the first test of the wider impact of the Horse Hill win. If the planning permission for Horse Hill was unlawful, then the planning permission for the mine must be too. I will be overjoyed if the court agrees and our efforts in Surrey have helped to defeat this climate-wrecking project.”

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”.

Please join us outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday morning: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/royal-courts-of-justice-rally-against-new-coal-mine-in-whitehaven-tickets-932355208527

Can you contribute towards SLACC’s legal fees? https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/challenge-the-cumbria-coal-mine/

Read a briefing by Friends of the Earth, The Whitehaven coal mine, destructive and necessary

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