You can read 9 more articles this month
PLANS to sink the first new deep coal mine in Britain for decades are being backed by the National Union of Mineworkers.
The support comes in the face of intense opposition from environmental campaigners, who will protest tomorrow in the Cumbrian town of Workington against the proposal to drive into coal reserves beneath the Irish Sea.
West Cumbria Mining wants to establish the new mine, Woodhouse Colliery, on a former industrial site at Whitehaven.
If the plan goes ahead, the mine will produce three million tonnes of coal a year – roughly the same as the amount produced at Britain’s last deep coal mine, Kellingley colliery in Yorkshire, which closed in December, 2015.
The Whitehaven proposal has met with widespread condemnation from environmental campaigners. As well as being opposed to the burning of coal in principle, they object to the Cumbrian site partly because of its proximity to the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant.
National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) general secretary Chris Kitchen said: “The mine is planned to be built on the former Marchon industrial site near Woodhouse and has the potential to create 500 jobs. The site has been designed to minimise environmental impact.
“If the company do what they say they are going to do, I don’t see where the objections can be, other than ‘not in my back yard.’ The NUM would be in favour of this mine going ahead.”
He said modern mining could be carried out in a way which “alleviates environmental concerns.”
Mr Kitchen added: “We manage the effects of coal mining in a safe and responsible way. All the concerns can be addressed by modern methods.”
The union opposes the controversial fracking process of gas extraction.
“With fracking, you have no idea what is going on underground,” Mr Kitchen said. “But with coal mining, you are there. We know what we are doing, so I am in favour of new deep coal mines – and we need the jobs.”
Opponents of the new mine will demonstrate tomorrow from 10.30am in Workington town centre.
Campaigner Marianne Birkby said the protest will “generally show resistance to this diabolic plan for the first deep coal mine in the UK in over 30 years.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.