Postponed West Cumbria mine decision expected mid-August
A decision on whether a new coal mine in Cumbria will get the go ahead is now expected in mid-August.
ITV Border understands the government has told interested parties that a decision on the West Cumbria Mine is now likely to be by 17 August.
It comes after the deadline on the mine was expected yesterday (7 July) following a recommendation made to communities secretary Michael Gove after a public inquiry last autumn.
This was postponed on Wednesday 6 July amid chaos in Westminster surrounding Boris Johnson's future.
Mark Jenkinson, MP for Workington, showed his disappointment at the proposed decision for the colliery near Whitehaven being delayed on his social media.
He said: "Today (7 July) we should also have been celebrating a positive decision on West Cumbria Mine.
"Unfortunately one of Mr Gove’s last acts was to delay that decision, and I spent much of yesterday trying to fix that issue - including speaking with the prime minister."
Gregg Clark has replaced Mr Gove as the Secretary of State for Levelling up, Housing and Communities and is now the minister responsible for a decision on the colliery.
While ITV Border understands the decision is expected before the end of the summer, there is still uncertainty around this date due to the turmoil engulfing Westminster.
The mine is controversial as if approved, it would become the first deep coal mine in the UK for more than 30 years.
Those in favour of the mine locally say the employment opportunities will provide a much needed economic boost to a deprived area of Whitehaven and reduce dependence on imported coal.
Opponents argue that any economic benefit is outweighed by the damaging impact of the mine on the climate.
It is expected that 3.1 million tonnes of coal per year could be produced at the site.
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