West Cumbria Mining have just published their annual report and it makes for interesting reading. The much vaunted “local” company funded by EMR Capital based in the Cayman Islands have made their staff (not the directors) redundant, the office in Haywards Heath has closed, the secretive owner is prepared to stand the cost until the end of the planning process and a third party funder has been located who says they are prepared to fund development (Whatever that development is as No one has had sight of the latest licence applications from WCM)
To: Coal Authority
Block New Coal Licences for Cumbria
Coal Mine developers, West Cumbria Mining have asked the *Coal Authority for new licences. Do Not Rubber Stamp the Developer's Licence to Drill.
*The Coal Authority report to the Dept of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Kwasi Kwarteng MP is the Secretary of State
Why is this important?
BLOCK WEST CUMBRIA MINING'S LICENCE TO DRILL
Leading Cumbrian Councillors had already reassessed their previous unanimous support for the first deep coal mine in decades in the UK and voted “No.” Through this No vote they have voiced their opposition alongside leading academics, scientists, politicians, the public and many organisations.
The reasons for saying No to new licences for West Cumbria Mining are not just “compelling” as Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng MP has stated, they are overwhelming.
There is zero need for a public inquiry at the expense of the public purse. The mine could be stopped tomorrow. All it would take is for the Coal Authority to block the developers new applications for a Licence to Drill. It is shocking that details of the new licence applications are being kept secret and from public scrutiny despite Freedom of Information requests from nuclear safety group Radiation Free Lakeland.
CLIMATE AND NUCLEAR SAFETY ...OR RECKLESSNESS?
A block on the developer’s new applications for a Licence to Drill would not only save the public purse the huge expense of a public inquiry it would also send a strong message to the UK and our international neighbours that the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, who are responsible for the Coal Authority, are committed to both climate and nuclear safety.
While the significant climate impacts of this coal mine would be EXACTLY the same if this development had been proposed anywhere else in the UK, this coal mine is NOT JUST ANYWHERE in the UK. The mine would be largely subsea off the West Coast of Cumbria, would extend to within five miles of the WORLD"S RISKIEST NUCLEAR WASTE SITE and be directly under a massive nuclear waste dump known as the Sellafield Mud Patch.
COAL MINE UNDER AN EXISTING NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP?
Sellafield has been pumping eight million litres of “low level” radioactive discharges into the Irish Sea every day. It been doing that for decades and nuclear wastes (military and ‘civil’) still continue to arrive in West Cumbria. The nuclear waste discharge pipeline out to the Irish Sea is in constant use. The coal mine developers say there would be “EXPECTED SUBSIDENCE” of the Irish Sea bed. Recent reports have indicated this would most likely result in the resuspension of decades worth of Sellafield’s radioactive wastes now largely (but not completely) immobilised in the Irish Sea bed. Radioactive wastes including plutonium would be resuspended back into the water column, to ours and to neighbouring shores. The one thing not to do with a radioactive waste dump is disturb it.
COAL MINE ADJACENT TO A NEW HIGH LEVEL NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP?
The mine itself would be adjacent to the area being promoted as a “possible" Geological Disposal Facility for heat generating nuclear wastes under the Irish Sea. The CEO of the coal mine Mark Kirkbride has been appointed to the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management to advise government on "Delivery" of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). The proposed coal mine would make a void of 136 million square metres. Would this handy hole be used to dump mountains of rock spoil excavated for a GDF from neighboring rocks? What destabilising impact would this have on the neighbouring rocks? Is there a massive unresolvable conflict of interest at the heart of the forthcoming coal mine public inquiry? The final decision about the climate and nuclear dump-wrecking mine will rest with the government – the same government who have appointed the coal mine boss to position of top government nuclear dump advisor (for highly active wastes).
FARCICAL PUBLIC INQUIRY?
These questions (and more) should, but are not likely to be within the remit of a forthcoming public inquiry focussing on planning rather than key issues of governance and nuclear safety.
The public have already paid out £millions for this coal mine, to be precise, £2.5 Million in Heritage Lottery Funds for the Haig Colliery Museum which was then handed over to the developers for £1.
This is a coal mine that the public would keep paying for in more than money and climate impacts - the many headed hydra of both a slow burn and immediate nuclear catastrophe are overwhelming.
There is no credible case for this mine either on the basis of Finance (no market ), Climate (flies in face of COP26) or arguably the most serious concern, Nuclear safety (the mine would be under decades of "low level" nuclear waste, also undermining the geology near the world's riskiest high level nuclear waste site Sellafield).
BLOCK WEST CUMBRIA MINING’S LICENCE TO DRILL!
DO IT NOW
BEIS Ministerial Responsibility for the Coal Authority
"Ministerial responsibility 11. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is accountable to Parliament for the activities and performance of the (Coal) Authority ...
Sellafield Radioactive Discharge on the Irish Sea Bed directly beneath the coal mine plan and question of 'Who is Responsible for Safety of the Discharged Nuclear Wastes?' is subject to complaint being dealt with by the Information Commissioner
6th Climate Budget https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/sixth-carbon-budget/ note the Climate Change Committee is appointed by BEIS
British Geological Society Lack of Testing in West Cumbria https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/west_cumbria_mining_abstraction#incoming-1625582
Who is Responsible for Radioactive Waste on the Irish Sea Bed – Call from Nuclear Free Local Authorities https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/nfla-troubled-uk-communities-minister-not-calling-in-decision-deep-underground-coal-mine-west-cumbria/