Opponents of Cumbria coal mine welcome Prime Minister's comments on coal

The proposed mine in west Cumbria. Credit: West Cumbria Mining

Campaigners against a new coal mine in West Cumbria have welcomed comments by the Prime Minister that leaders should "consign coal to history."United Nations scientists released a major climate change report yesterday, which the UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres described as a “code red for humanity."

Responding to the report, Boris Johnson said: "We know what must be done to limit global warming - consign coal to history and shift to clean energy sources, protect nature and provide climate finance for countries on the frontline."

In a video published on social media, the Prime Minister said the UK government are going to be "extremely bold" at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November, and "we want the developed world to kick the coal habit entirely by 2030 and the developing world by 2040."

West Cumbria Mining wants to open the UK's first new deep coal mine in 30 years, near Whitehaven. In March, the government decided there should be a public inquiry into the plans.Opponents of the mine have welcomed Mr Johnson's comments.

Supporters of the mine say the Prime Minister's remarks are not directly relevant to the plans in Cumbria.

Mr Starkie added: "The Prime Minister is keen to address the climate issues, and for that we need a green industrial revolution, and as I've said many times, whether that's through wind, waves, solar or in the case of Cumbria we hope nuclear, we're going to need substantial amounts of steel. There's still going to be a huge demand for metallurgical coal, and if we don't mine it here in Whitehaven we'll be shipping it all the way around the world."

The planning inquiry is due to start on 7 September and last for around four weeks. Planning inspectors will make a recommendation, before a final decision is taken by the Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick.