Campaigners protest over coal mining plans
Protesters are fighting against new mining plans for West Cumbria.
Campaigners were out in force at Bowness Bay on Sunday, protesting against the proposals by West Cumbria Mining.
The plan is for coking coal to be mined off the coast of St Bees and be moved via an underground conveyor to new processing and storage buildings on the former Marchon site at Kells.
But campaigners believe the proposed site is dangerously close to Sellafield.
Marianne Birkby, Radiation Free Lakeland campaigner, said: "This is a small but determined rally, people have travelled from West Cumbria, Lancaster and even as away as London to stand in opposition to the coal mine. The more people know about it the more deeply angry they are at the thought of deep coal mining in such close proximity to Sellafield.
"We have just been speaking to a miner from Yorkshire who says the plan is absolutely the most dangerous thing he has heard of.”
Opponents of the mine fear that having coal drifts extend to within 8km of the Sellafield ponds, containing high level nuclear wastes, could put the public at risk. They raised concerns about the proximity of the potential mining activity to the nuclear facility.
The plans are to be decided at a meeting of Cumbria County Council on November 1. If they get the go-ahead, WCM hopes to begin construction next spring with coal production expected by the end of 2019.
When approached ahead of the protests last week, a spokesperson for West Cumbria Mining said: "Our planning application is currently with Cumbria County Council for consideration and there is no further comment at this time."