London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

Whitehaven coal mine: An almighty row only just beginning

Whitehaven coal mine: An almighty row only just beginning

Governing is about difficult choices; confronting seemingly irreconcilable demands - and making a decision.
So here's the scenario: Coal that is used to make steel is under the Irish Sea off the west Cumbrian coast, one of England's most isolated spots, desperate to attract more private sector jobs, particularly ones that pay well and have a future.

The government is committed to what it calls levelling up, and has won seats in the area long held by Labour.

The government is also committed to being a champion of tackling climate change, and was wrestling with this decision about the coal mine at exactly the same time as hosting the COP climate summit in Glasgow a year ago.

And saying yes then, however comfortable they are with their arguments for doing so, would have looked… awkward.

Well, another climate summit, the recent one in Egypt, has come and gone while ministers have been making their minds up on what to do in Whitehaven.

They asked the Planning Inspectorate to take a look at the whole idea.

Meanwhile, war in Ukraine broke out.

Until then, 40% of the coal needed to make steel in the UK, metallurgical coal, the stuff this new mine will dig up, came from, you guessed it: Russia.

Since then, alternative suppliers have been found, but nonetheless the issue of energy security is a salient one.

Meanwhile plenty are saying it is bonkers to be digging coal out of the ground in 2022, let alone opening a brand new mine to do so.

How on earth do you incentivise finding alternative ways of making steel if you carry on relying on the black stuff?

So, you're the minister, what do you do?

Well, prevaricate — and they did.

But now, finally, a decision.

Deliberately low key; no ministerial visit or Commons statement.

And every expectation it will be appealed.

Labour say it proves Rishi Sunak is a "fossil fuel prime minister in a renewable age."

But would a Labour government shut the mine or stop it opening in a part of the world they are desperate to win back?

The government is arguing their decision is in keeping with their emissions obligations because the alternative would be importing the coal, and alternatives to using coal are a long way off.

And plenty of people in west Cumbria are delighted.

A county with a proud mining heritage sees a proud mining future too.

But not before an almighty row that is only just beginning.
Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
0:00
0:00
Close
Britain’s Refugee Visa Rules Stranding Children in War Zones
UK Elections Predict ‘Electoral Extinction’ for PM Sunak’s Conservative Party
Italian Activist Ilaria Salis Returns Home After Election to European Parliament
Good morning!
England Faces Serbia in Euro Opener with Defensive Concerns
Dermatologist Warns Against Sunbed Usage
Fake Pro-Reform UK Social Accounts and Their Influence on Elections
UK Man Jailed for Non-Consensual Condom Removal
Reform UK Surpasses Conservatives in Historic Poll
US, Britain, Canada Accuse Russia of Interference in Moldova’s Election
Taylor Swift Fans Create Seismic Activity in Edinburgh
Sunak Aide Under Investigation for Election Bet
Labour Leader Starmer Focuses on Wealth Creation for Upcoming UK Elections
G7 to Use Frozen Russian Assets for $50 Billion Ukraine Aid
Anti-Israel Irish MEP Clare Daly LOST her seat in the EU Election
Johnson & Johnson Settles Talc Safety Claims for $700 Million
EU Urged to Welcome Skilled Russians to Weaken Putin
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Israel Rescues Four Hostages from Gaza
Emmanuel Macron Calls for Snap Election
Jordan Bardella: Young Far-Right Leader Poised for Future Political Influence in France
World's Oldest Privately Owned Book Auctioned for $3.8 Million
Animal Rights Activists Deface King Charles' Portrait in Protest
Dutch Military Intel Uncovers Extensive Chinese Cyber Espionage
Turkish Student Arrested for Using AI to Cheat in University Exam
Rise in Dengue and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Europe Due to Climate Change
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Far-Right National Rally Dominates France's EU Vote
Macron Calls Snap Legislative Elections After Far-Right Victory
Far-Right Gains Significantly in EU Election
UK Job Market Shows Signs of Recovery
Orban’s Fidesz Party Wins Majority in Hungary’s EU Elections as New Challenger Emerges
Meloni's Far-Right Party Wins European Elections in Italy
Key Insights from the European Union Elections
European Union Elections and Rise of Far-Right Parties
England Loses Over 260,000 Social Rent Homes in a Decade
Campaigners Urge Government to Block Shein's FTSE Listing
First NHS AI-Run Physiotherapy Clinic Launches This Year
British TV Presenter Michael Mosley Found Dead on Greek Island
Ukrainian Forces Claims First Strike on Russia's Su-57 Fighter Jet
Macron Dissolves Parliament and Calls Snap Elections
Russia Adds Yulia Tymoshenko to Wanted List
UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron Tricked by Hoax Caller Posing as Former Ukrainian President
Kate Middleton's Absence from Colonel's Review Due to Chemotherapy
UK Foreign Secretary Deceived by Prank Video Call
Sunak Criticised Over D-Day Exit in BBC Debate
Rishi Sunak Apologizes for Leaving D-Day Commemoration Early
UK Woman Sentenced After Causing Fatal Crash While Sending Selfies
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen Assaulted in Central Copenhagen
UN to Add Israel to Human Rights Blacklist
×