WCM recognises and understands the value of the community fabric that it is working within and as a business is continuously seeking to find ways to enhance and protect the community wherever possible.
Woodhouse Colliery intends to be a world class mine, with the highest standards of operational performance, employee relations and to always be a good neighbour.
Over the past five years a team of expert and independent consultants have carried out an extensive programme of more than 300 different ecological surveys for the most highly protected species in and around our sites, both onshore and offshore. The results of these surveys have enabled us to make technically informed and scientifically evidence-based decisions about how best to follow a careful process of ecological mitigation and habitat improvement.
The company believes that the social licence to construct and operate Woodhouse Colliery is one of the most important aspects of the project and we take our community responsibilities very seriously. Development of the WCM Sustainability Fund is already taking shape, with a view to its launch following the start of production at the mine. WCM will be seeking feedback from the local community on this element of the project later in the year, once fully developed.
Our commitment to carbon offsetting is a core part of our Corporate Social Responsibility policy and will form a key element of the WCM Sustainability Fund.
The project is currently evaluating the environmental benefits relating to a number of ideas for a ‘carbon sink scheme’ including tree planting within managed sustainable forests, restoration of existing established woodland, rewilding and peat bog/wetland restoration. Trees, plants and peat bogs are known to not only absorb carbon but turn it into foliage, branches and root systems; a process known as sequestration. They also act as excellent natural ‘sponges’, absorbing greater volumes of surface water run-off from rainfall and helping as part of flood defence schemes. Carbon is locked into their structures and into the soil structure below.
WCM is also looking to invest in the Haig Powerhouse building on our site at Kells, to ensure the protection of the community’s mining heritage and to bring life back into the building as the WCM training centre. Following the closure of the Haig Mining Museum in December 2015, the first step in this process was to undertake cataloguing of the collection on site, in the summer of 2017. This enabled us to rescue, safely store and safeguard the mining legacy of the area for future generations. The catalogue is available to view by the public and individual items can be viewed by appointment, upon request, with the ambition to create a permanent rolling display in the future. The second step was to purchase the Haig site from the liquidators and this was completed in May 2018. WCM is now reviewing the next steps for the former Haig Colliery site including future restoration works to the headgear to ensure its long term survival.
WCM will further be looking to work with local projects who share the same beliefs and values around improving and supporting both the physical and mental health of our employees and their families. WCM currently works closely with the ‘Well Whitehaven’ initiative which addresses inequality by improving the wellbeing of the community, increasing resilience and reducing unemployment.