West Cumbria Mining aims to be a good neighbour and protecting the local environment is very high on our list of priorities, whether we are looking at local wildlife, visual, noise or transportation.
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. A key advisor to our team is Caroline Leatherdale who had responsibility for our Environmental Impact Assessment, which identifies any potential impacts on ecology, noise, landscape and visual impact, air quality, water quality, ground conditions and the historic environment. This Assessment, and the resultant Environmental Statement, will challenge the team to always ensure that sustainability is embedded in our decision making.
Once in operation, we have planned that the mine will have very little environmental impact – it 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 filtered and reused to ensure we use as little mains water as possible. No waste water will be discharged to 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 keep within agreed noise levels. These buildings will also be designed to be low-profile and will be subject to barrier planting and screening to ensure they are as unobtrusive as possible.
We have made a commitment that we will not transport coal by road and are looking to ensure that this can, instead, be achieved 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 and cycle to work schemes.
Included in our mine design is the creation of a new 50 metre public space which will be planted with local seed stock, shrubs and trees, and maintained by us to ensure it remains usable and attractive. This will also create a footpath connection from High Road to the coastal path.