A United Nations environmental leader has unleashed a thinly veiled criticism over the UK government’s decision to open a new coal mine near Whitehaven.

The decision to open the first new mine in the UK was made last month by the levelling up Secretary Michael Gove with West Cumbria Mining promising over 500 jobs for the area connected with the new mine.

The newly employed executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Simon Steill has issued an attack in all but name on the government by saying that countries should act at home as they do in international negotiations.

The government were part of the negotiations to help reduce the global coal market including a $20 billion plan to help one of the biggest emitters on the planet, Indonesia, reduce its coal usage.

“Actions must align with the rhetoric,” Stiell said.

“It’s the urgency of real action that keeps me up at night. We are fast running out of time. I want to spotlight not just where things aren’t being done, but where progress is being made. And there has been a lot of progress.”

The decision to approve the new mine was delayed several times before being announced after the COP 27 climate conference in Egypt and has been heavily criticised by Labour with the shadow environment secretary, Ed Miliband particularly vocal about the mine.

A legal campaign is underway to halt the progress of the mine with a lengthy court battle a definite prospect after campaigners have raised over £25,000 in opposition to the mine.

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesman said of the Cumbria site: “This coal will be used for the production of steel and would otherwise need to be imported. The mine seeks to be net zero in its operations and is expected to contribute to local employment and the wider economy.”

A review about meeting the UK’s net zero target is expected to be published this month.


READ MORE: Details of job roles available at west Cumbria mine revealed