The public enquiry into the planning approval granted by Cumbria Council for the opening of a deep coal mine began on 7th September. After initially saying it would not intervene in the decision the Government ordered an enquiry be set up in March 2021.
Since 2017 over 2,300 objections have been logged in reference to the coal mine, which West Cumbria Mining claims would open two years after construction begins and hopes to extract 2.5 million tonnes of coal per year for use in the UK and Europe’s steel industry. The project would provide community funds for a decade and create 500 jobs.
However, the project’s critics argue that this would go against the UK steel sector’s aligning with the 2050 net zero target. Allowing construction of the coal mine would also question the UK’s credibility in terms of hosting COP26 at Glasgow in November, as the opening of any new coal mines would appear to be contrary to the UK doing its best to end coal use in power generation and industry.
The decision is not expected to be published until spring 2022.