Housing secretary Michael Gove is expected to approve the UK’s first new coal mine in three decades.
Tory sources told the Telegraph Gove is supporting plans to open a new colliery in Cumbria to help the country cut its reliance on Russian coal. People close to the matter said Gove, who has until 7 July to make up his mind, will announce his decision by mid-May.
“I don’t know for certain, but I get the impression he [Gove] is going to approve it,” a source said.
The plant, the outlet said, will produce coking coal, but instead of burning at plants, it will be used for steelmaking.
“If the answer is more renewable energy, you simply can’t build renewable energy power plants – solar, tidal, hydro or wind – or nuclear, without steel,” an expert told the Telegraph.
“Without metallurgical coal, you can’t make steel. And you don’t want to be importing it from halfway around the world or Russia.”
Even though it is expected to gather more support following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Gove’s decision could be still subject to criticism, especially as the Woodhouse Colliery project faced a huge amount of opposition from activists.