West Cumbria Mining aims to be a good neighbour and as part of this protecting the local environment is a key priority. This includes monitoring visual and noise impacts, local wildlife and transport movements.
There are sustainable principles set out by the International Council on Mining and Metals which we will be aiming to meet and exceed where possible. These principles ensure that sustainability is built into the core of our business at all stages of the mine’s lifecycle.
We believe that the challenges and opportunities of sustainable development are addressed most effectively with careful planning. Our Environmental Impact Assessment, which identified any potential impacts on ecology, noise, landscape and visual impact, air quality, water quality, ground conditions and the historic environment was produced by a team of highly experienced independent, expert consultants. This Assessment, and the resultant Environmental Statement, ensures that the WCM team is continuously challenged to ensure that sustainability is embedded in all our decision making.
Once the mine is constructed and in operation, we have planned that there will be very little environmental impact – the mine will certainly be very different from mining operations of the last century. Silenced fans will provide fresh air to those underground and air vented from the mine will be filtered to ensure it is not expelling dust, dirt or any contaminating elements. Water will be harvested from rainfall and ingress to be used in the processing plant and then filtered and reused to ensure we use as little mains water as possible. No wastewater will be discharged into the environment.
Whilst the coalfield we are developing is under the sea, thus providing natural sound protection and no physical subsidence issues, acoustic enclosures will be applied to buildings above ground to ensure operations are all within agreed noise levels. These buildings have been designed to be low-profile and the site shall incorporate barrier planting and screening to ensure they are as unobtrusive as possible.
We have made a commitment that coal with be transported by rail, conveyor and sea. We are also looking at ways to reduce our impact on local roads, with designated delivery routes and times, shift-worker buses, ample parking (with electric car charging points) and cycle to work schemes.
Included in our mine design is the creation of a new large public green space which will be planted with local seed stock, shrubs and trees, and maintained by WCM to ensure it remains usable and attractive. This will also create a new footpath connection from High Road to the coastal path.