An inquiry into plans to open a new coal mine in west Cumbria has heard from an academic who argued that the market for coal is too unstable to make the mine viable.
Professor Paul Ekins OBE, from the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources and University College London, spoke at the inquiry, which is being held online.
This development was first proposed in 2014 and has been given planning approval by Cumbria County Council three times. Earlier this year, the Government announced that it was calling in the decision for a public inquiry.
Calling Professor Ekins as a witness, Estelle Dehon legal representative for South Lakes Action on Climate Change said: "The developer, WCM says as a point against you that coking coal is a derived demand and they say that's a reason why you're economic analysis falls over. So it would be quite surprising to them to hear you say that it is a derived demand. So can you explain why you're economic analysis remains even though we're dealing here with something that is a derived demand?"
Professor Ekins said:
Supporters of the mine including Copeland MP Trudy Harrison believe a demand for steel will always exist in the development of net zero Carbon projects such as the Small Modular Reactors planned for Moorside.
They say that British coking coal for the production of British steel is kinder to the environment, as it is not being shipped from elsewhere.
The inquiry continues and can be watched online here.
It was Jenrick's decision to call-in West Cumbria Mining's application for a coking coal mine. Evidence given by all parties for and against the mine will now be presented to Michael Gove who will make the final decision on if it should go ahead.