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New coal mine would be ‘monumental mistake,’ campaigners warn as decision looms

GREEN campaigners warned today that a new coalmine for steel production would be a “monumental mistake” as a decision on the project is expected imminently.

The government is expected to announce its decision on Thursday whether to grant planning permission for the coking coalmine near Whitehaven in Cumbria, following a planning inquiry in 2021.

It is one of a series of decisions testing the government’s approach to the environment and its “net-zero” agenda to cut climate emissions, and which are due as No 10 is engulfed in political turmoil.

And, today, the government published its new Energy Security Bill which it says will drive investment in clean technology and homegrown energy, and protect consumers.

Greenpeace UK policy director Doug Parr said the coalmine’s business case was “completely flawed” and it would add to the climate crisis.

He said: “The coal is for steelmaking so it won’t help lower energy bills.

“The vast majority of it will also be sold across Europe so it won’t necessarily reduce imports of coking coal from elsewhere.

“It will pour fuel on the climate crisis and be deeply damaging for the UK’s reputation as a ‘climate leader.’

“Going ahead with it would be a monumental mistake, and epitomise the climate hypocrisy that nations already being hit by climate impacts regularly, and correctly, charge developed nations like the UK with.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice told the Times today that coking coal was still needed, saying: “If we do need this coal in order to have a viable steel industry, then we might as well use our own coal and use our own gas rather than be reliant on other countries.”

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