Given the UK’s stated ambitions to be at forefront of the global shift away from fossil fuels, plans to build a new deep coalmine in Cumbria were always likely to be controversial.
The proposed mine, Woodhouse Colliery near Whitehaven in Cumbria, would - if built - be UK’s first new deep coal mine in 30 years.
However, whilst Cumbria County Council granted planning permission for the facility back in October 2020, the plans have now been thrown into doubt, and the council is reconsidering the proposal after reviewing fresh information from the UK government’s climate change committee.
Critics of the scheme have warned that it jars with the government’s net zero ambitions and threatens to undermine its efforts to demonstrate leadership in this area, particularly as it is hosting the Cop26 UN climate summit later this year.
What’s more, whilst supporters of the proposal argue that it will create many jobs and produce coal that’s needed for UK steel, the Climate Change Committee has warned that with as much as 85 per cent of the mine’s output expected to be exported, it would drive down the cost of coal and make a sizeable contribution to global emissions.