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Feb 20th, 2018

Coal Mines

By Becca McCarthy

In a matter of weeks work could begin on the UK’s first opencast coal mine since 2014. [1] From heavy machinery rolling over pristine greenfield land to toxic air, its impact on our environment could be devastating.

Britain was built on coal, and many communities were destroyed when mines closed. Whole cities were let down by the government and still need investment for new jobs. But given the risk to our climate, is a new coal mine really the right answer?

Planning permission for this mine was granted in 2015. But since then, a lot has changed. The UK’s coal use has plummeted, and the government have promised to phase out coal by 2025. [2] So Coal Action Network have started a 38 Degrees petition to reverse the decision to open a brand new coal mine in the Durham countryside. [3]

A huge public outcry could persuade Sajid Javid, the minister in charge, to revoke the planning permission and stop the mine before work starts this spring. It’s a rarely used power, so it’s not going to be easy. 100 or 200 names on a petition won’t be enough to do it. But hundreds of thousands just might.

So will you take 30 seconds to help keep the country on track for a coal free 2025?

SIGN THE PETITION

“Reducing global coal consumption should be a vital and urgent priority for all countries and states. Unabated coal is the dirtiest, most polluting way of generating electricity.” [4]

These aren’t the words of Greenpeace or Coal Action Network but the government’s own Minister for Climate Change last Autumn. Coal was our proud past, but it isn’t the future we should build. The government knows it, and are talking the talk on climate change. But now it’s time for them to act, to create new, greener jobs, and reverse this bad decision to open a new mine.

Banks Group, the mining company concerned, are set to start digging in spring, as their planning permission will expire in June. [5] Our window of opportunity is closing quickly. Planning permission isn’t revoked often, but these aren’t normal circumstances.

38 Degrees-ers have come together in our thousands for the environment before – and won. After months and months of campaigning by 38 Degrees members and many others, the Scottish Government said: “Fracking cannot and will not take place in Scotland“. [6] If we all come together, we could push the government to invest in creating new green energy jobs instead of opening coal mines.

 

NOTES:
[1] Mail Online: Government urged to stop open cast coal mines:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-5385655/Government-urged-stop-open-cast-coal-mines.html
Coal Action Network: Bradley opencast: the story so far:
https://www.coalaction.org.uk/2018/01/bradley-the-story-so-far
[2] The Independent: UK vows to close all coal power plants by 2025:
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/coal-power-plants-uk-close-2025-renewable-energy-amber-rudd-nuclear-gas-policy-a7997241.html
[3] 38 Degrees: No new opencast coal mines in Durham, UK:
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/revoke-planning-for-bradley-opencast-coal-mine
Coal Action Network: Government called on to stop UK coal mining expansion plans amid ‘coal phase-out’: https://www.coalaction.org.uk/2018/02/secretary-of-state
[4] Gov.UK: Climate Change Minister Claire Perry launches Powering Past Coal Alliance at COP23:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/climate-change-minister-claire-perry-launches-powering-past-coal-alliance-at-cop23
[5] Coal Action Network: Bradley opencast: the story so far:
https://www.coalaction.org.uk/2018/01/bradley-the-story-so-far
[6] 38 Degrees: “Fracking cannot and will not take place in Scotland”:
https://home.38degrees.org.uk/2017/10/03/fracking-cannot-will-not-take-place-scotland/

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