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Opposing new coal mine in Cumbria

From Kevin Stannard,
Secretary, Calderdale Trades Council

Sunday, 11 December 2022

Dear Madam or Sir

The Government has just approved a new coal mine in Cumbria. This clearly demonstrates that they are not serious about tackling climate change. 

It is understandable that the local population will want the 500 new jobs the coal mine will apparently create. However, the answer is to create these new jobs by insulating homes and by installing renewable energy such as wind turbines and solar panels, so people can reduce their heating bills. According to the Local Government Association, this would create 6,000 'green jobs' in Cumbria by 2030.

The former Conservative minister, Alok Sharma MP, who led the UN conference on climate change in Glasgow, has opposed the new coal mine, saying:

"Over the past three years the UK has sought to persuade other nations to consign coal to history, because we are fighting to limit global warming to 1.5C and coal is the most polluting energy source… A decision to open a new coal mine would send completely the wrong message… This proposed new mine will have no impact on reducing energy bills or ensuring our energy security."

Alok Sharma has also tweeted:

  • 85% of coal produced is for export, not domestic useTwo major UK steel producers have said they won't use it (moving to hydrogen, poor composition/too much sulphur)
  • The govt's own CCC [Climate Change Committee] has said it would increase UK CO2 emissions by 0.4 million tonnes – with clear implications for our Legally-Binding carbon emissions budgets
  • Will be a backward step for UK climate action – and will damage the UK's 'international climate reputation'

The fight is not over yet. Construction and operation of the mine is still subject to the developer obtaining the outstanding permissions and licences.

We therefore support any non-violent protest against the initiation and construction of this new coal mine. Instead we support mass job creation in the house insulation, clean advanced manufacturing and renewable energy sectors. 

It is our children's and grandchildren's future that is at stake. A popular campaign stopped the fracking for gas in the UK. We can now do it for coal as well.

Yours faithfully

Kevin Stannard
Secretary, Calderdale Trades Council

Web: calderdaletuc.org.uk
Facebook: facebook.com/calderdaletuc
Twitter: @calderdaletuc

From Graham Barker

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

Someone from Cumbria who supports the mine - a mayor, I think - was interviewed on the Today programme recently. He made the point that in the six years of debate about the mine, much has been made of the potential for green jobs but no such jobs have actually materialised. Thus the bird in the hand etc.

Thousands of green jobs in Cumbria would be a great idea, but can we think it through a bit more? Most of those jobs, it seems, would come from retrofitting homes with insulation and alternative energy sources such as heat pumps. Two questions arise.

First, how doable is it? I don't know what the Cumbrian housing stock is like but most people with an older house in Hebden Bridge will know there is often a limit to how far you can go with insulation and energy efficiency before the cost exceeds any gain. Which leads on to...

Second, how is it all to be paid for? A full retrofit won't be cheap and even middle income households may not be able to afford it. Will the cost of green jobs therefore have to be met out of taxation or as an add-on to mortgages and rents?

There is a third question - what happens to all the green jobs once demand for retrofitting is satisfied - but two is probably enough to be going on with.

Perhaps Cumbria could be a test-bed for green jobs, in which case it all needs to start immediately. More likely though, I suspect, is that if the mine doesn't go ahead the green activists will fold their tents and go home, and poor old Cumbria will be forgotten.

From Pedro de Wit

Monday, 23 January 2023

We should not stop the new coal mine in Cumbria as climate change is not just a UK problem.

The mine is opened to mine for a certain type of coal that we still need. If we don't mine it here we have to import it from abroad. This means higher costs and more pollution as there is not only the mining but the transport as well.

By all means look for alternatives for coal but importing it from elsewhere and moving the pollution abroad is not the answer to climate change.