Local residents and environmental organisations will gather in Whitehaven next week to oppose plans to build a controversial and highly polluting coal mine in the area, and to call instead for green investment.

The gatherings are in support of two legal challenges, one by Friends of the Earth and the other South Lakes Action on Climate Change (SLACC), which are taking place in the High Court in London on July 16.

The organisations will argue that the decision to grant planning permission to the mine by the then Secretary of State for Communities, Michael Gove, in December 2022 was unlawful.

The two events in Whitehaven ahead of the legal challenges are:

• From 6.30pm on Monday, July 15: Speakers including local councillors, trade unionists and environmental campaigners, will gather in Whitehaven Market Place, to call for investment in new green jobs for West Cumbria.

• Between 9 to 10 am on Tuesday, July 16 environmental groups will gather outside the former Haig Colliery mining museum, for a photo opportunity with a message that ‘coal is our heritage, green jobs our future’.

Campaigners are calling on the new Labour government to ensure that West Cumbria, and areas like it, are at the forefront of building a clean and green future so that they get the investment, business opportunities and new jobs that are so desperately needed.

In their legal challenges, South Lakes Action on Climate Change and Friends of the Earth contend that Mr Gove failed to account for the significant climate impacts of the mine, including the acceptability of carbon credits to offset the mine’s emissions, the international precedent that opening a new mine would set and the impact of opening the mine on the global coal market.

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Ruth Balogh, from West Cumbria and North Lakes Friends of the Earth, said: “West Cumbria desperately needs investment in new green jobs to breathe life into a clean and affordable future.

“We invite local residents to join us to oppose the Whitehaven coal mine and recognise that while coal is our heritage, climate jobs are our future.”

Pro mine figures have called on the new Labour government to fully commit to building the mine, which would bring hundreds of jobs to the area and a boost to the local economy, but it is unlikely that they will go through with the project.