Charities ask Michael Gove to reject West Cumbria coal mine plans

A final decision for the mine is due on or before 7 July Credit: ITV News

Fourteen of the UK's leading environmental organisations have written to government minister Michael Gove asking him to reject plans for a new coal mine in Cumbria.

The charities include Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Oxfam.

Mr Gove, the secretary of state for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, is currently considering a planning inspector’s report and recommendation on the mine following last September’s Public Inquiry.

A final decision is due on or before 7 July.

The mine would remove coking coal from beneath the Irish Sea for the production of steel in the UK and export to Europe but some think this would impact the UK's commitment to reduce carbon emissions.

The charities have suggested that instead of the mine, there could be up to 600 jobs provided in areas such as energy efficiency, solar power, offshore wind and low carbon heating.

However, West Cumbria Mining has suggested that the new mine will create 530 new jobs, with the majority of them going to local people.

Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Tony Bosworth said: "Only a few weeks ago, the UN Secretary General said that investing in new fossil fuel sources was 'moral and economic madness'.

"Michael Gove must heed these words and reject the Cumbria coal mine: it will add to the climate crisis and the market for its product is fast disappearing as the steel industry moves to greener production.

"Mr Gove must also ignore the misguided claims that coal from the Cumbria mine will replace Russian imports – even the mine’s developers don’t think that."

He added: "Areas such as West Cumbria should be at the forefront of the green economy we so urgently need. An energy policy based on energy efficiency and cheap homegrown renewables could provide hundreds of jobs for local people."

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities said: "It would not be appropriate to comment further whilst this process is ongoing."