UK inches closer to first coal mine in three decades
Michael Gove is reportedly inching closer towards approving a new coal mine – Britain’s first in 30-years – as the government looks to cut its reliance on Russian energy imports.
The levelling up secretary is understood to be supportive of plans to open a Cumbrian deep coal site, Conservative sources told The Telegraph, which will increase domestic supplies for steel plants.
Gove is now set to mull recommendations given by the Planning Inspectorate, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted the cabinet to favour the plans, according to Whitehall sources.
“I don’t know for certain, but I get the impression he [Mr Gove] is going to approve it,” one source said.
A decision could come as soon as mid-May, with Gove having until July 7 to make the final decision.
The Woodhouse Colliery, worth around £165m in 2019, was given the green light by the local council in October 2020, amid an already turbulent energy and commodity market.
While prime minister Boris Johnson told the summit that he was “not in favour of more coal”, he refrained from directly opposing it.
However, opposition from activists in the lead up to the UK’s hosting of COP26, the UN’s flagship climate conference, saw ministers launch an inquiry into the project.
The Levelling Up committee declined to comment on the claims, and the backlash that it is anticipated to prompt, while the public inquiry is still underway.