He argued that the decision to delay an announcement on the mine last month seemed like a cynical ploy to avoid embarrassing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who was attending the Cop27 climate change conference in Egypt. Opponents plan to demonstrate at the mine site on Saturday.
Tim Farron, environmental spokesman for the Liberal Democrats and MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said: Government environmental credentials are again in tatters.
“Rishi Sunak’s government is tarnishing our country’s reputation as a world leader in reducing emissions. He does not represent the public’s view of green and clean projects.
The approval for the project being developed by West Cumbria Mining comes one day after the Prime Minister agreed to lift the UK’s de facto ban on onshore wind farms in the face of a Conservative rebellion. community that supports them.
In October, Mr. Sunak reinstated the fracking ban, a controversial method of gas drilling that had been briefly lifted by his predecessor, Liz Truss. On Wednesday, the UK announced plans to increase gas supplies from the US, much of which has been fracking.
The UK’s legally binding target of reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050 will require a major overhaul of manufacturing processes, including steel making.
According to planning documents, more than 80 per cent of the coal the mine will produce each year is expected to be sent to export terminals on the east coast of England in five years.
The decision to mine was originally approved by the Cumbria County Council in October 2020, but was requested by the government due to concerns about environmental impacts.
A spokesperson for the Department of Leveling Up, Housing and Communities said: “The Secretary of State has agreed to grant planning permission for a new metallurgical coal mine in Cumbria following the recommendation of an independent planning inspector.
“This coal is used for steel production, otherwise it must be imported. It is not used for power generation.
“The mine seeks net zero in operations and is expected to contribute to local employment and the broader economy.”
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