LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s government has intervened in a plan for a new deep coal mine in northern England after climate change advisers said the project would “increase global emissions”.
The plans pose a challenge for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government, which wants to boost jobs in northern England after winning many voting regions which traditionally back the opposition Labour Party while setting an example on its green credentials before hosting a climate summit in November.
In a letter, signed on behalf of housing minister Robert Jenrick, the government said the decision to “call in” the application for the mine had been taken because of that advice and added that there should be a public inquiry.
“The Secretary of State has decided to call this application in because of the further developments since his original decision,” the letter said. “The Climate Change Committee’s recommendations for the 6th Carbon Budget have been published since he was advised on this decision.”
The Cumbria mine, being developed by privately owned West Cumbria Mining, will extract coking coal which is used for steel production rather than power generation.
In January, Britain’s Climate Change Committee (CCC) questioned the government’s decision not to intervene in a local council decision to allow the new mine, saying it would “increase global emissions and have an appreciable impact on the UK’s legally binding carbon budgets”.
Last year Britain became the first G7 country to set in law a net zero emissions target by 2050, which will require wholesale changes in the way Britons use energy, travel and eat.