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Cumbrian coal mine plans put on hold.

Joanne Parkinson

18th March 2021

Since we reported at the end of January of plans for a new coal mine to be opened near Whitehaven in Cumbria, the government has now announced a public inquiry to investigate the potential impacts of the mine. Initially, the government weren't involved in any decisions regarding the mine as local ministers were controlling decisions, however, after a lot of controversy in the media and pressure at government level from environmental groups, they have now stepped in.

Key to the government turnaround is the role of the UK in hosting the COP26 Climate Summit, taking place in the UK in October of this year. There are fears that by allowing the mine to open it will have two effects. Firstly, it will add to the UK's carbon emissions and will cause a rise, which goes against policy to cut emissions in line with global targets. Secondly, the perception that other countries have of the UK will be harmed long-term.

The decision nationally over whether the mine should go ahead is split, with many recognising that the impact of the mine; namely the increase in CO2 emissions, equivalent of an extra million households producing more, is a step too far in the long-term battle with climate change. However, the other side believes that the economic benefits outweigh the environmental and also that there are no other viable ways of producing steel so coal is needed and without the domestic production we would still have to import, which in itself is still having the environmental effect.

What is evident is that the inquiry is likely to carry on for several months as both sides put forward their views. For more on this article, check out the following news report:

Cumbria coal mine: Public inquiry after government U-turn - BBC News

Joanne Parkinson

An experienced, outstanding Geography teacher, GCSE examiner and Head of Humanities in a 11-18 school. I'm passionate about all geographical events and am a keen blogger.

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