UK delays again the decision for Cumbria coal mine

Last month, it was promised that a decision would be made “as soon as possible”

The UK has pushed back the decision to approve or dismiss the planning application for the Cumbria coal mine.

The decision will now be made “on or before 8th November”.

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for coking coal pit near Whitehaven was initially approved by the county council in 2020 but the decision was later withdrawn.

This is the second time the decision is delayed – in July, when it was expected to be announced, a letter from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) said: “Planning Ministers will not be in a position to publish a decision by this date.”

It was reported that officials had promised that the decision “would be issued as soon as possible”. 

Sources from the DLUHC have told ELN that officials are not yet in a position to complete their consideration of the project’s applications before providing advice to ministers.

Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth received a letter from the government confirming the delay yesterday.

Commenting, Victoria Marsom of Friends of the Earth, said: “The case against this coal mine is overwhelming regardless of how many times the decision is delayed.

“The UK and European market for coking coal is set to rapidly diminish as manufacturers switch to greener steel, while coal from this mine won’t replace Russian imports. However, this new mine will increase carbon emissions, with the government’s climate watchdog describing it as “absolutely indefensible”.

“Fossil fuels cause enormous damage to both our environment and economy. Areas like Cumbria should be at the heart of building the greener future we need, so they can reap the benefits of the new jobs and opportunities this would bring.”

ELN contacted the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – it declined to comment on the basis that this is a quasi-judicial decision.

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