Decision on controversial new Cumbria coal mine postponed ITV Border understands

ITV Border has been told: "7 July was never a legally binding deadline, just a target date, a decision will be made soon." Credit: ITV Border

The decision on whether a new coal mine in Cumbria is getting the go ahead has been pushed back, ITV Border understands.

The ruling on whether to grant permission for the colliery near Whitehaven was due by tomorrow (7 July), following recommendations made to Mr Gove after a public inquiry last autumn.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities told ITV Border political correspondent Tom Sheldrick that "7 July was never a legally binding deadline, just a target date.

They added: "A decision will be made soon."

It is not clear if the delay is linked to the current crisis facing the Prime Minister.

Despite a number of cabinet ministers changing roles following a wave of resignations, last night it was reported that Mr Gove - who is responsible for the mine decision - is staying as Communities Secretary.

Plans for the coal mine have been controversial as, if approved, it would become the first deep coal mine in the UK for more than 30 years.

West Cumbria Mining says the mine at Woodhouse Colliery will create at least 500 jobs, mostly for local people.

The site will be used to extract coking coal, used in the steel making industry, from under the Irish Sea. 

Opponents argue that any economic benefit is outweighed by the damaging impact of the mine on the climate. 

It is one of a series of decisions that tests the Government's approach to its agenda to reach net zero by 2050.

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