Cumbria Coal Mine court hearing pushed back

The long-standing row over the development UK’s first new coal mine in more than 30 years looks set to roll on, with a court hearing set for October 2023 now being pushed back.

Cumbria Coal Mine court hearing pushed back

Image: West Cumbria Mining Company

Proposed by West Cumbria Mining, the mine would be the first of its kind to open in the UK in more than 30 years. Cumbria County Council initially approved West Cumbria Mining’s proposals for the project in October 2020.

Friends of the Earth and South Lakes Action on Climate Change (SLACC) have filed legal challenges against the proposed development and were due for a court hearing on the matter in late October. However, it has now been confirmed

“At this stage it is unclear how long it will take for the Supreme Court to issue their judgement; however we do not expect the delay to be very significant,” West Cumbria Mining said in a statement.

The decision was first called in by the UK Government in early 2021 on the grounds of the potential climate impact of the use of the extracted coal. Ministers asked for a full assessment of the mine’s compatibility with national and international climate targets. The Government eventually gave the project the go-ahead in December 2022.

Very quickly, environmental groups began to question the decision. For example, the Government stated that the mine could be net-zero in operation if its operators procured carbon credits, but offset certification provider Gold Standard has stated that it will not provide credits for coal mining.

A separate appeal has since been filed by Sarah Finch for the Weald Action Group. The hearing has already taken place in the Suprement Court, but a judgement is unlikely to arrive until Autumn.

West Cumbria Mining has acknowledged the legal challenge but is still planning to commence construction in 2024.

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