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Cumbria Coal Mine Gets Go-Ahead

December 8, 2022

By Paul Homewood


A victory for common sense!




Michael Gove has approved the first new UK coal mine in 30 years despite concern about its climate impacts among Conservative MPs and experts.

The proposed mine in Cumbria would dig up coking coal for steel production in the UK and across the world.

Critics say the mine would undermine climate targets and demand for coking coal is declining.

But supporters claim the mine, near Whitehaven, will create jobs and reduce the need to import coal.

The fate of the West Cumbria Mining project had been hanging in the balance for two years after the local county council initially approved the mine in 2020.

The project’s approval was suspended in early 2021, ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, after the government’s climate change adviser said it would increase carbon emissions.

The government’s advisory Climate Change Committee (UKCCC) pointed out that 85% of the coal produced by the mine would be exported.

Lord Deben, chairman of the CCC, described the proposal as "absolutely indefensible" and said its approval would damage the UK’s leadership on climate change. 


While this is a much less biased piece than the series of outright anti-mine propaganda articles written by Harrabin last year, it is still woefully one sided.

Although short pro-mine comments are published from West Cumbria Mining, the local council and Northern Tories, the vast majority of the article is devoted to anti-mine ones from:

Lord Deben

Friends of the Earth

“Steel experts”

Ed Miliband

Green Party

“Senior Tories, such as Sharma and Kwarteng

Labour Party

South Lakes Action on Climate Change

I still don’t understand why tiny extremists groups such as FOE should get any airtime at all on the BBC.

Amongst the arguments against is that there will be little demand coking coal by the 2030s. I’m not sure what this has to do with the likes of Greenpeace, as it is a purely commercial matter for the company to weigh up.

Deben seems to think there is something wrong with exporting coal, but he is evidently happy that Russia exports coal to us, which inevitably leads to greater emissions, something he claims to care about.

And there is the usual nonsense about creating green jobs for the poor saps in Whitehaven who are desperate for well paid jobs at the mine. As we are finding to our cost, these green jobs are just a mirage.

I gather there is still a possibility of another legal challenge, which is the last thing Whitehaven needs. But hopefully we can now get on with a project which will be good for Cumbria and the country.

By the way, I really have to comment on this ludicrous piece in the pathetic Independent:


If they think that is “Backwards Britain”, what on earth do they call dismantling a wind farm to dig for coal in their beloved EU?



  1. William George permalink
    December 8, 2022 6:07 pm

    I believe this will be just the start of the programme to create the mine. My fear is another hurdle will be thrown into the midst. Bigots like Deben and Miliband are an ever present threat.

  2. December 8, 2022 6:34 pm

    For about the first time in living memory – Gove got something right. Modern coal mining is very eco-friendly compared to C20th pits. It’s better than just fracking – and all of this ‘environmentally friendly’ power generation (or as David Cameron once called it – “green crap” – ironic Cameron then went onto ‘Greensill crap’) is proving itself to be unreliable, NOT ‘9x cheaper’, and just not up to the job. Shame we have demolished so many coal-fired power stations we could use the coal in on non-windy days. Oh well – at least we’ll get some export currency for it.

    • Martin Brumby permalink
      December 8, 2022 6:47 pm

      In fairness, you can’t burn coking coal in a furness designed for burning steam coal.
      (Possibly a small amount as a blend, as they tried with Orimulsion and Pet Coke in the early naughties. Not really a success as I remember.)
      Cheaper to flog the coking coal and use the proceeds to buy steam coal.

  3. Martin Brumby permalink
    December 8, 2022 6:47 pm

    In fairness, you can’t burn coking coal in a furness designed for burning steam coal.
    (Possibly a small amount as a blend, as they tried with Orimulsion and Pet Coke in the early naughties. Not really a success as I remember.)
    Cheaper to flog the coking coal and use the proceeds to buy steam coal.

  4. It doesn't add up... permalink
    December 8, 2022 6:52 pm

    Once it is up and running GB News should ask to report on it. The use of modern technology in place of picks and shovels, the workforce taking a pride in their jobs, some of those in the local economy benefiting from the increased spending, local opinions about the eco protestors. It would make quite a report.

    • Thomas Carr permalink
      December 8, 2022 8:50 pm

      Absolutely right “It does’nt stand up”. Gradually GB News is starting to get traction with the arrival or Portillo , Fox and others. They also treat their audience as being able to hold more than 3 ideas in their head at a time.

      The complacency and implacable conviction of the Ed Miliband school of catastrophists is long overdue for a grilling. He with a few others in the House of Commons almost destroyed our ability to remain in world industrial markets by ensuring expensive power for our manufacturing heavy users. Perhaps Germany will now provide the salutary lesson although their policy of craven reliance on Russian oil and gas has already made their bed of nails.

  5. Harry Passfield permalink
    December 8, 2022 6:59 pm

    If you take the burn out of Cockburn you’re left with….

    But then, I’ve often commented on the fact that people like Deben are nothing but Fifth Columnists, determined to do the UK down for their own benefit. It seems there are many FCs in the UK…..and Deben is the biggest – if you get my drift…. rather like Biden’s moniker.

  6. Martin Brumby permalink
    December 8, 2022 7:14 pm

    Absolutely anything that:-

    Lord Deben

    Friends of the Earth

    “Steel experts”

    Ed Miliband

    Green Party

    “Senior Tories, such as Sharma and Kwarteng

    Labour Party

    South Lakes Action on Climate Change

    Is against, is certain to be absolutely brilliant.

    I’d support another dozen, just to hear the mendacious barstewards moan.

  7. Mark Hodgson permalink
    December 8, 2022 7:28 pm

    Here in west Cumbria there is significant support for the coal mine. It is an area of high unemployment and much deprivation, and the jobs will be very welcome, especially at this time of a cost-of-living crisis, and an energy price crisis (created by the eco-zealots). Harrabin tried to pretend that it wasn’t an area of high unemployment by quoting the unemployment percentage for Cumbria as a whole, if I remember correctly. That was shockingly misleading, since Cumbria is a large county, and county-wide statistics mask the truth about individual areas within the county. If jobs aren’t needed out west, why do Center Parcs (well to the east of Penrith) employ so many people from Whitehaven, Workington etc (so many they even send a bus for them)?

    • John189 permalink
      December 8, 2022 8:04 pm

      Absolutely right Mark Hodgson! Harrabin and other BBC correspondents at the time were eagerly highlighting foreign opposition to the mine. They gave unquestioning authority to a letter from James Hansen to the then PM Boris Johnson (copied, shock horror, to US Secretary of State Kerry) and placed the views of the usual few eco-luddites above common sense and the needs of local people: local and county council views were treated with disdain .I compalined at the time to the BBC on the grounds that they were actively campaigning against the livelihoods of people in West Cumberland – but never got a satisfactory reply; just the usual “reporting what X and Y have said” sophistry.

      • dennisambler permalink
        December 11, 2022 8:51 am

        Remember the foreign interference over the Kingsnorth proposed coal power station, again James Hansen, who has benefited in the past from climate “prizes” given by Big Beanz, (Heinz Foundation run by Kerry’s wife):

        “The Maidstone Crown Court heard testimony from NASA climate
        expert James Hansen, an Inuit leader from Greenland and the British Conservative Party’s environment adviser. The jury was told that the Kingsnorth Power Plant emits 20,000 tons of CO2 every day – the same amount as the 30 least polluting countries in the world combined – and that the British Government had advanced plans to build a new coal-fired power station next to the existing site on the Hoo Peninsula in Kent.

        The ‘not guilty’ verdict means the jury believed that shutting
        down the coal plant was justified in the context of the damage to
        property caused around the world by CO2 emissions from

        The defense called as a witness NASA climate expert James
        Hansen, who told the court that more than a million species would
        be made extinct because of climate change and calculated that
        Kingsnorth would proportionally be responsible for 400 of

        “We are in grave peril,” he told the jury. “Somebody needs to
        step forward and say there has to be a moratorium, draw a line in
        the sand and say no more coal-fired power stations.”

        Unsurprisingly he got an Op-ed in the Guardian:
        “Coal-fired power stations are death factories. Close them”

    • Matt Dalby permalink
      December 8, 2022 10:37 pm

      It’s a sign of the times when a Conservative government stands up for workers in deprived Northern areas while Labour would throw them under a bus to please the metropolitan middle class. How Labour hope to win back the red wall is beyond me (and I sincerely hope they don’t) unless they start listening to what their traditional supporters actually want rather than assuming they know best.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        December 9, 2022 5:01 pm

        It has become pretty obvious that the Labour hierarchy actively despises its traditional voting base (and those voters now know that) which is why I am personally quite confident Labour will not win the next election.

  8. December 8, 2022 9:31 pm

    A new coal mine approved by Gove? I smell yet another government U-turn coming up pretty soon.

    • dennisambler permalink
      December 11, 2022 9:01 am

      It wasn’t me guv, “The Law” stopped us.

  9. iananthonyharris permalink
    December 8, 2022 11:43 pm

    Now let’s get fracking!

  10. liardetg permalink
    December 9, 2022 12:26 am

    Leadership? Leadership ? Whst leadership? What a very silly ignorant fellow Lord Gummer is! Name the countries which are being led by the UK. Our efforts towards Net Zero are futile, pointless and very damaging to the working class. But Lord Gummer is insulated from the working class by his environment of ignorant innumerate middle class suckers up

  11. December 9, 2022 2:43 pm

    One article described it as undermining ‘Britain’s commitment to fighting climate change’. Sorry, did I miss the vote the British people had on this? It is the British government that it is committed to it.

  12. Wellers permalink
    December 9, 2022 10:31 pm

    I’m not sure I trust Harry Cockburn, a journalist who seems to be in the running for the Prince lookalike contest.

  13. avro607 permalink
    December 10, 2022 1:22 pm

    On the news today.John Kerry is going to complain to the (once) British Govt.

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