10 February, 2021
WCM was informed by Cumbria County Council (CCC) yesterday that it has decided to return the planning application for Woodhouse Colliery back to their Development Control and Regulation Committee for redetermination, on the basis of the Committee on Climate Change report recommendations for the UK’s sixth carbon budget.
The planning application has been approved by CCC on three separate occasions, and the Secretary of State for MHCLG has twice rejected requests for the project to be ‘called in’ (the latest on the 6 January 2021).
Mark Kirkbride, WCM CEO commented:
‘WCM and its advisers are clear that the Committee on Climate Change report and sixth carbon budget are not factors which would have led the committee to reach a different decision.
The construction of every wind turbine depends upon the availability of high-quality steel, which in turn requires large quantities of metallurgical coal for its manufacture. This status quo will not change within foreseeable timelines. The Committee on Climate Change Report contemplates the construction of vast numbers of wind turbines, which will require steel from UK and European steelmakers. Metallurgical coal for these producers is currently imported over long distances from the USA, Australia and Russia. We have a real opportunity to reduce the dependence on overseas imports and the offshoring of emissions, as the country works towards its net carbon zero goals, at the same time as generating many hundreds of skilled and well-paid new jobs for Cumbria, together with significant tax revenues and overseas earnings for UK plc.
We look forward to CCC reconfirming approval of our planning application once more which will provide a clear path for my team to deliver the project.’
WCM will not be providing any further commentary at this time.
1. WCM is a privately owned business which has invested £34m to date in the development of a 21st century metallurgical coal mine to supply a critical raw material to the steelmaking industry
2. WCM submitted its planning application and Environmental Impact Assessment to CCC in May 2017. The first unanimous committee decision was 19 March 2019, the second unanimous committee decision was 31 October 2019 and the third majority committee decision was 2 October 2020.
3. Metallurgical coal is an essential specialist form of coal, listed by the EU as one of 27 critical raw materials, and is crucial for the production of iron within the steelmaking process.
4. The UK currently imports metallurgical coal from USA, Russia and Australia.