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Construction of Controversial UK Coal Mine Now Under Review After Climate Backlash

2021-02-10 10:45:25

The construction of a coal mine that threatened British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's claim to be a world leader in the fight against climate change is currently under review after growing opposition.

The Woodhouse Colliery is said to be the UK's first new deep coal mine in three decades. It is planned to be built in Whitehaven, Cumbria, in the North East of England.

While Johnson & # 39; s officials have publicly supported the coal mine, the Cumbria County Council said on Tuesday it would review the approval in light of the latest advice from the government's independent climate advisers. Officials had previously said the project could continue as long as it closed in 2049 – a year before the UK is expected to have net zero emissions.

The Cumbrian council backed the project in October, which was subsequently approved by Johnson's government. That raised concern among the Climate Change Committee, which said it would threaten Britain's goal of eradicating greenhouse gas pollution by the mid-century and hurt its reputation as a climate leader.

But since October, the CCC has published its sixth carbon budget report. That describes the amount of carbon that could be emitted between 2033 and 2037 if the UK is to meet its 2050 target.

The CCC had warned that the decision to open a new coal mine "gives a negative impression of the UK's climate priorities". That could also undermine Johnson's efforts to play a leading role in the global talks on climate change at the United Nations, which he will host in Glasgow in November.

"The UK cannot claim to be a climate leader as it opens a new coal mine, and ministers must realize that doing so is undermining our credibility at home and abroad," said Ed Miliband, business spokesman for the opposition Labor party.

The Conservative Party, for its part, has said that the decision about the planning is up to the local government to make.

Last week, Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said it would be better for the UK to have its own coking coal, rather than importing it from abroad to make the steel needed for wind turbines, electric cars and nuclear power plants.

West Cumbria Mining Ltd., the company behind the project, would begin production in the second half of this year. It plans to extract as much as 3.1 million tons of metallurgical or coking coal per year for use in steel production,

Photo: The site of the proposed site of a new coal mine in Whitehaven, UK, on ​​Monday, February 8, 2021. Photo credit: Anthony Devlin / Bloomberg.

Copyright 2021 Bloomberg.

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