To purchase this space contact Gordon

Support for the proposed coal mine in Cumbria is dwindling, after the council announced that it was withdrawing its baking.

Cumbria County Council has announced that it will remain “neutral with regard to the mine”, stating that it is neither for nor against the application in its submission to The Planning Inspectorate.

It represents a major U-turn after the plans for the £165M coal mine were originally approved by Cumbria County Council in October 2020.

Since then Communities secretary Robert Jenrick has “called in” the decision and asked The Planning Inspectorate to carry out a formal evaluation of the scheme.

In February, Cumbria County Council had already said it would reconsider its decision to give the project the go-ahead in order to take into account “new information” in the Climate Change Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget.

The proposed development is for a large underground metallurgical, or “coking coal”, coal mine. However its progress has been hindered by campaigns from environmental activists who fear that the facility could hinder the UK’s net zero goals and discredit its position as COP26 host, with the rescheduled event to take place in Glasgow in November.

Friend of the Earth North West campaigner Estelle Worthington said the council’s decision shows that the case for the coalmine is not “at its weakest”.

She added: “Once again, we see support for this controversial coal mine continue to fall by the wayside.

“This only strengthens our position that it should never have been in the pipeline in the first place. We can fight both the climate crisis and unemployment by directing support to industries such as renewable energy.

“Now, as the time for public comments draws to a close, the case for dirty coal is at its weakest, both locally and nationally. Let’s put an to end this climate hypocrisy once and for all and leave Cumbrian coal in the ground.”