UK Student Climate network has penned a letter to Cumbria County Council regarding their decision to approve plans for a new £165m coal mine. It’s vital that such destructive practices do not take place at all; especially without the social license for them. You can read our letter below and get it in PDF format here.

The UK Student Climate Network is deeply troubled by Cumbria County Council’s unanimous decision to grant permission for a new £165m coal mine in the region.

Over the previous two months students have demonstrated in their tens of thousands all around the United Kingdom, calling for urgent and radical action to address the climate crisis. This included strikes in the Cumbrian towns of Kendall, Cockermouth and Carlisle.

The actions of Cumbria County Council articulate in no uncertain terms that they do not care for the future of young people in Cumbria, the United Kingdom and beyond. Many are already suffering the devastating effects of climate change; thousands lose their lives every year, with the figure only increasing as the climate crisis worsens.

That Conservative MP Trudy Harrison “wholeheartedly” endorsed the new undersea coal mine due to the “huge investment” it would bring to the area, shows the level of contempt for the welfare of people and the planet and demonstrates a clear lack of imagination in creating a fairer, sustainable economy based upon environmental principles. Only last year, Ms Harrison signed the Divest Parliament Pledge citing climate concerns, yet your climate betrayal in endorsing this new coal development only highlights the hypocrisy of your actions.

Furthermore, as reported in The Independent; Geoff Cook, Liberal Democrat councillor and chair of Cumbria County Council’s development committee, said:

“It wasn’t an easy decision. All of us would prefer to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and we recognise that during construction there will be disruption to many local residents.

“However we felt that the need for coking coal, the number of jobs on offer and the chance to remove contamination outweighed concerns about climate change and local amenity.”

We understand the need for good jobs, especially in an economic climate that doesn’t work for the majority of the population. However, promoting fossil investment is the wrong way to go about this. We need to see an industrial strategy that leverages public and private finance to incentivise green industry, well-paid and secure jobs, and is ultimately based upon sustainability.

We have one message to Mr Cook and Ms Harrison: your era is over. We the youth are rising up and want a world that works for us, our future, and those already suffering. If you’re prepared to sell us out, it’s about time you step aside and give platform to those that will fight for green investment, green jobs,  and clear steps to avert the climate crisis, not exacerbate it.

Yours Sincerely,

Those whose future you’re gambling with