Greta Thunberg weighs in on UK Government not calling in plans for west Cumbrian mine

Teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg has weighed in on the controversial plans for a new coal mine off the coast of west Cumbria.

The 18-year-old from Sweden, who is internationally known for challenging world leaders on action against climate change, tweeted after the government said it will not call in plans for the proposal. This means the approval by Cumbria County Council remains the final decision. Environmentalists have pledged they will continue to fight to reverse the decision.

The activist showed dismay at the UK's pledge made in 2019, to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050.

These vague, insufficient targets long into the future basically mean nothing today.

Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg Credit: PA

While the plans have many supporters, it's also drawn criticism - including from a woman that some have called Cumbria's own answer to Greta Thunberg. 

Amy Bray has dedicated several years of her life to combatting the climate crisis.

Watch Lewis Warner's report here:


The government's failure to overturn the decision comes after Robert Jenrick, Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government decided to leave the planning permission decision in the hands of the County Council.

In a letter, the Secretary of State stated that "he is content that it should be determined by the local planning authority.

"The policy makes it clear that the power to call in a case will only be used very selectively. The Government is committed to give more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues, and believes planning decisions should be made at the local level wherever possible."

The decision was approved by Cumbria County Council last year.


West Cumbria Mining wants to extract coal from beneath the Irish Sea for the steel industry. If the project goes ahead, West Cumbria would be home to the first deep mine in 30 years.

Watch Sam Parker's report here:


In a statement the Council said, "The Secretary of State has the power to take over particular planning applications rather than letting the local planning authority decide, which is known as ‘call-in’. We have been informed that the Secretary of State has decided not to call in the decision on the planning application for West Cumbria Mine. This is a matter for the Secretary of State and therefore it would not be appropriate for us to comment on their decision.

The Council will now work with the developer to formalise the legal planning obligations, referred to as a section 106 Agreement. The Section 106 agreement will need to be finalised before the Council can formally give the development permission."

The council should have said no but one of the reasons why the council didn't say no was because they knew the Government wasn't being supportive of them and they thought that they would lose on appeal if they did turn down the application.

Tim Farron, MP South Lakes

He continued:

"But in the end this was a huge opportunity for the Government to be able to look the younger generations - in fact all of us - in the eye and say we're taking climate change seriously. We know that the best thing to do when you're facing a climate catastrophe with fossil fuels is to keep them buried in the ground and they flunked that opportunity wildly. I'm bitterly disappointed with the decision."