Coal mine developer takes legal action against Cumbria County Council

The council decided to reconsider the planning application of the first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years

The Big Zero report

West Cumbria Mining (WCM), the developer behind the controversial plans for new coal mine near Whitehaven has taken legal action against Cumbria County Council following the local authority’s decision to reconsider the planning application after environmental concerns.

Planning permission for the mine was granted by the council back in October 2020 and the project would have been the first deep coal mine in the UK for 30 years.

A few weeks ago, Cumbria County Council decided to reconsider the planning application in the light of new information.

Lord Deben, Chairman of Climate Change Committee (CCC) has earlier urged the government to reconsider the plans for the metallurgical coal mine in Cumbria.

In a statement, WCM said: “As a result of the actions taken by Cumbria County Council, WCM concluded that the only course of action was to explore legal options to secure the future of the project.”

Mark Kirkbride, Chief Executive Officer of WCM, commented: “It is extremely regrettable that WCM has been placed in this position after committing so much time, resource and private funding to achieve a robust planning approval and social licence to operate.

“The latest actions of the council have created a very real risk that the project will never be delivered, which would be devastating for West Cumbria as well as the Northern Powerhouse and Industrial Strategy Initiatives.

“I shall continue to do all that I can to deliver this project and the clear benefits it will provide.”

A county council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a legal challenge from West Cumbria Mining has been submitted in respect of the Council’s decision to refer the planning application back to its Development Control and Regulation Committee.

“The council is unable to comment further whilst this legal process known as Judicial Review is ongoing.”

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