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  • Oliver Hodgson

Controversial mining plans for West Cumbria won't be scrutinised by Government

The MP for Copeland has today welcomed a decision by the Ministry of Communities Housing, and Local Government to reject a request to ‘call in’ the West Cumbria Mining project for the second time.

In a letter to Cumbria’s Conservative MPs today, the Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick said that ‘the general approach is not to interfere with the decision-making process of local councils on planning matters and that ‘the Government’s position is that these matters are generally best determined locally, by local councils that know their own area best’.

The Secretary of State who previously rejected calls for the WCM project to be ‘called in’ in November 2019 confirmed, ‘It is now for Cumbria County Council to determine the application’.

The project is supported unanimously by Cumbria’s Conservative MPs who have described today’s announcement as ‘great day for West Cumbria’.

Trudy, said: "I have consistently fully supported the West Cumbria Mining Project which will bring considerable investment, hundreds of well paid permanent jobs, apprenticeship opportunities, skills training for young people, opportunities for local suppliers and Woodhouse Colliery will be sited in an area which has been one of Copeland’s more deprived areas.

"I very much welcome that West Cumbria Mining have indicated that 80% of jobs will be sourced locally and that is good news for Copeland. West Cumbria Mining will be an innovative leader in coking coal extraction. I welcome the news that the government has decided not to call in the original planning decision.

"I would now urge West Cumbria Mining and Cumbria County Council to work closely together on the remaining legal planning obligations to get this project over the line."

The proposal for the mine to produce British metallurgical coal, used specifically to make steel, has received county council planning approval three times.

When operational the mine will supply metallurgical coal to the UK and international steel industry, deliver hundreds of local jobs and support a first-class supply chain across the county.

CEO Mark Kirkbride said on hearing the news “I am delighted that the holding direction has been lifted following what has been an extremely rigorous planning process. My team and I are now looking forward to concluding planning sign-off and then being able to commence preparatory steps to begin site work later this year.

“WCM would like to thank all those people and organisations, both in the local community and further afield, who have supported the project over the past six years with particular thanks to Copeland MP Trudy Harrison, Workington MP Mark Jenkinson, Copeland Mayor Mike Starkie and Allerdale Deputy Leader Mike Johnson.”

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