Ministers to scrap ban on new coal mines

The government faces criticism as it intends to remove the ban on opening new coal mines

The government has come under fire as it considers removing the ban on opening new coal mines, a move that has drawn strong criticism from environmentalists and opposition politicians.

The ban was initially included in the Energy Bill by members of the House of Lords.

The decision, along with plans to discard changes that would have permitted small community energy projects to sell electricity directly to local households, has sparked concerns about the government’s dedication to supporting local renewable energy initiatives.

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion said: “By blocking plans to end coal and bring in low cost, renewable community energy, the government’s approach is truly stuck in the last century.

“Endlessly repeated words of no new coal at COP26 were clearly meaningless. These Energy Bill amendments must be reinstated.”

A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson said: “The Energy Bill will ensure we have cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy for the future. While our reliance on coal is rapidly diminishing, there is still a need for it in industries such as steel and cement so now is not the right time to make changes.

“We will continue to listen to representations made by Members as passage of the Bill continues but oppose this amendment because a complete ban isn’t appropriate and risks meeting future demand from our own resources.”

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