A decision over whether a new coal mine for steel production in Cumbria should be given the go-ahead has been officially postponed by the government.
After much speculation yesterday, the decision on the project which was due today has been delayed through a letter from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).
The letter said: “Planning Ministers will not be in a position to publish a decision by this date.”
Sources from the government have claimed that a decision will be issued as soon as possible.
West Cumbria Mining‘s plan for coking coal pit near Whitehaven was initially approved by the county council in 2020 but the decision was later withdrawn.
Lord Deben, Chair of the Committee on Climate Change has previously described the project as “absolutely indefensible”.
Last week, in an interview on ITV’s Peston programme, the Business Secretary said: “There is a strong argument to say that if we did not have it here we would simply be importing the coal.”
Tony Bosworth, coal campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “This delay gives ministers extra time to ensure they make the right decision about the Whitehaven mine.
“There’s no justifying new coal and all the evidence is stacked against the mine – it will increase carbon emissions and its market is already declining as steelmakers move to greener production.”
ELN contacted the DLUHC for a response – the department declined to comment.