Legal challenge to Cumbria coal mine

10 January 2023

Friends of the Earth and local protest group SLACC (South Lakes Action on Climate Change) are both about to mount legal challenges to the UK Government's granting of planning permission for a new coal mine under the sea off Whitehaven in Cumberland, announced by Michael Gove on 14 December last year.  On 9 January SLACC announced

SLACC Trustees made an unanimous decision yesterday (8th January) to ask our legal team to challenge the decision of the Secretary of State for Levelling Up Housing and Communities to grant planning permission for the Whitehaven Coal mine to go ahead. We believe there is a strong legal case against the interpretation of planning law* made by the planning inspector and (hence) the Government. As a small charity we have launched a fundraising campaign to finance our legal costs.

The mine, if it were to go ahead, would significantly contribute to the climate crisis both here in the UK and globally. It would also severely damage the UK Government’s global climate leadership and give the green light for other countries to approve coal extraction and use. We believe that the Government needs to be forward looking, encouraging jobs in Cumbria that have a future. The people and communities in Whitehaven deserve better than what a mine can offer.

Friends of the Earth announced on 4 January that it was also taking legal action against the UK government.  FoE's lawyer said

“By giving the go-ahead to this polluting and totally unnecessary coal mine the government has not only made the wrong decision for our economy and the climate, we believe it has also acted unlawfully.
.   .   .   .
With the world facing a climate emergency, we shouldn’t have to take this challenge to court.  Any sensible government should be choosing to leave coal in the ground, and accelerating the transition to a safe, clean and sustainable future.”



We are part of the rapidly expanding worldwide Transition Towns movement. The Black Isle is a peninsula of about 100 sq miles ENE of Inverness in Scotland, UK.