A PETITION to save proposals for a new coal mine in west Cumbria has been launched.

Members of Whitehaven Town Council are spearheading the campaign in the hope of pushing the application through.

A public inquiry will be held later this year after a decision from the Secretary of State for Local Government to call in the plans.

Mayor of Whitehaven Brian O’Kane, one of the councillors behind the petition, said: “The council have supported the mine from the initial application. The majority of councillors are in favour.

Coun O’Kane said members had held a number of meetings to discuss how they could show their support for the plans.

He said: “The more people that reflect the area might have some small bearing on the inspection process.

“I do think it’s still likely to go ahead. I think there’s been so much misinformation given out. People will be able to see that things are nowhere near as bad as protestors make out. People will see it in a different way.

“The most important thing is the sheer spin off – not just the jobs – but the knock-on effect on other services in the area. You can see how depressed our area has become. The mine was our salvation, in many respects.”

He added: “If you support it, please sign the petition.”