The UK Government will investigate plans for a deep coal mine in the North West of the country, following “increased” controversy.
Green campaigners have declared the new coal mine hypocritical, as the Government has consistently stated an intent to move away from reliance on greenhouse gases. Cumbria County Council councillors, who have been assessing the project since 2017, gave it the go-ahead a year ago, but have since decided to review the application. Alok Sharma, the Government Minister in charge of the upcoming COP26 climate summit which is due to be held in Glasgow this October, last month said the approval of the mine was a “local issue” and that the Government would not get involved. But the Government has now decided to “call in” the application, meaning Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick will get the final say over it.
Mr Jenrick (above) expressed to Cumbria County Council that the application had raised issues beyond local importance. He added the reversal had also been prompted by new advice on carbon emissions from government climate advisers published in December. However, a public inquiry will first be held by independent planners at the Planning Inspectorate. The inquiry process could take several months.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson declined to comment on whether the government was for or against the mine, as it was now a “quasi-judicial planning decision”.
Cumbria coal mine: Public inquiry after government U-turn, BBC, 2021-03-13