How a major new deep coal mine got its green light

Cumbria County Council has approved a major new deep coal mine that will release an estimated 450 million tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime. James Fair looks at how the council weighed up the economic and climate change implications.

When Cumbria County Council approved its climate change strategy in 2008, it seems doubtful that anyone involved in its development believed coal mining had a role to play in the region’s future.

The new strategy required businesses to understand that this was more than just about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and planning to cope with extreme weather events. “A low-carbon economy opens up the possibility for innovation, entrepreneurship, regeneration, jobs and a significant boost to GVA [Gross Value Added] in Cumbria,” it boldly proclaimed. This was about imagining a brave new world for the way both the economy and society at large operate.

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