ENVIRONMENTALISTS have issued calls for councillors to “make the right decision” and reject plans for a coal mine in west Cumbria.

A decisions on plans by West Cumbria Mining to extract coking coal off the coast of St Bees, with a processing plant on the former Marchon site at Kells, is due to be made on October 2.

Friends of the Earth is calling for councillors to reject the plans, despite a recommendation having been issued to the county council’s development control and regulation committee to approve them.

A report prepared ahead of the meeting recommends to approve the plans with a number of conditions.

Documents say: “Having first taken into consideration the environmental information as defined in the Town & Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011 submitted in connection with the application and the Habitats Regulations Assessment which concludes that there is no adverse effect from the project on the integrity of any European site, alone or in combination with any other plan or project and having taken into account all other material considerations that planning permission be granted.”

Friends of the Earth north west campaigner Estelle Worthington said: “We’re not going to solve the rapidly escalating climate crisis by giving the green light to new coal mines.

“Coal extraction in Cumbria will increase climate-wrecking emissions and undermine the UK’s commitment to building a carbon-free future.

“And with huge doubts over the demand for its coal beyond the very short-term, this mine could soon become an enormous white elephant.

“Councillors must reject this damaging proposal and focus on making sure Cumbria helps deliver a green and fair future for all, and benefits from the jobs this will create.”

A document submitted by West Cumbria mining this week, attempts to address some of the concerns.

“All parties agree that there will continue to be a need for coking coal in the European and global steel industry for the foreseeable future.

“The dispute relates to future predictions regarding what will happen to the current demand, and how quickly any changes are likely to come about.

“Many of the objections that have been received have sought to identify emerging technology or possible future changes in the steel industry which might result in a reduction in the need for coking coal and coke in the steel industry.

“However, none of these objections have sought to quantify the continued demand for coke or the extent of any potential reductions in this demand.”

The meeting on October 2 is due to start at 2pm. To view it, visit: cumbria.gov.uk