Controversial West Cumbria Coal Mine decision delayed for second time

This second delay means the decision is scheduled for November Credit: West Cumbria Mining

A decision on whether a new coal mine in Cumbria will get the go ahead has been delayed again.

A spokesperson from the Government said: "Officials are not yet in a position to complete their consideration of this application before providing advice to Ministers. Therefore, a decision on this planning application will now be made on or before 8 November."

It initially had been revealed in a letter to environmental organisation Friends of the Earth, an interest party to the coalmine decision.

The latest setback to the West Cumbrian Mine deadline comes just days before a decision was expected on 17 August.

The Workington Conservative MP (and Parliamentary Private Secretary to Defra) Mark Jenkinson has accused officials in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities of “lying” over delaying a decision on the West Cumbria coal mine.

He posted on social media: "Officials say their advice isn’t ready. They’re lying to @GregClarkMP of course - ministers don’t run @luhc" (The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.)

The decision had initially been due last month but was postponed amid chaos in Westminster surrounding Boris Johnson's future.

This second delay means the decision would be made when there is a new prime minister in place - who could appoint a new communities secretary whose responsibility it will be to decide whether to approve the mine.

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.

Listen to ITV News' What you Need to Know Podcast: