New coal mine in west Cumbria given green light

The mine off the coast of Whitehaven has been given the green light. Credit: West Cumbria Mining

Cumbria County Council has given the green light to a new col mine off the county's coast.

Members of the authority's Development, Control and Regulation Committee considered a revised application from developers West Cumbria Mining today.

Of the councillors in attendance 12 voted in favour of the application, three against and there were two abstentions.

The project, planned for a site near Whitehaven and will be the UK’s first deep coal mine in 30 years.


Committee chair Councillor Geoff Cook said:

Cumbria County Council’s Development Control and Regulation Committee has resolved to approve, through a majority vote, the application for West Cumbria Mining to create a metallurgical coal mine off the coast near Whitehaven subject to the completion of the section 106 legal agreement.

Cllr Geoff Hill, Cumbria County Council

He added:

This recommendation is still subject to the Secretary of State’s decision on whether to ‘call in’ the council’s position for them to make their own determination on the matter or hand it back to Cumbria County Council to confirm and subsequently publish the decision.

Cllr Geoff Hill, Cumbria County Council

The mine will produce metallurgical coal, which is used to produce steel.

This project was initially approved by the county council last March and has aroused strong objections though, particularly from environmental groups.

Campaigning group Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole attempted to take the issue to a judicial review. In May though, this was withdrawn.

Around 2.5 million tonnes of coal is expected to be mined from the site to supply UK and European steel-making. Currently, 45 million tonnes is imported per year from the USA, Canada, Russia and Australia. It is hoped that this coal will replace that.

The project will cost £165m and is expected to create up to 500 new jobs in the area.

The application will now go to the British Government for final approval.