Conservative MPs and local leaders, from constituencies across Britain which have a strong industrial heritage, have spoken out against Labours attempts to block the approval of a new coking coal mine in West Cumbria.
The letter has been signed by 47 Parliamentarians, alongside local leaders Cllr Mike Johnson, Deputy Leader Allerdale Borough Council, Mayor Starkie, Elected Mayor, Copeland Borough Council and Ben Houchen, Elected Mayor,Tees Valley and has been sent to Stewart Young the Labour leader of Cumbria County Council - the local authority that has already approved planning for the West Cumbria Mine three times.
West Cumbria’s mine fits perfectly with the Government agendas for net zero by 2050 and levelling up; with our the 10 point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and with the aim to upskill our workforce to strengthen regional and local economies.
The actions of the Labour-run Cumbria County Council have been backed by Senior Labour politicians such as the Shadow Business Secretary Ed Milliband, and Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds.
Mark Jenkinson MP, the Member of Parliament for the Workington constituency, said:
"Labour claims to represent working class people. What they are really doing over the mine is playing politics with ordinary people’s lives. This stance is putting much-needed future jobs and investment at risk.
I am incredibly disappointed by Cumbria County Council’s short-sighted and eleventh-hour decision to consider the application for Woodhouse Colliery for a fourth time. I am equally disappointed by senior Labour politicians wading into what should be a local and apolitical planning issue in Cumbria.
My colleagues and I have signed this letter to highlight our grave concerns, all represent areas with strong industrial heritage. Many of the constituencies, like my own, are still home to industry. The actions of the council and senior Labour politicians can be seen as a direct attack on industry and job creation.
There is no getting away from the fact that coking coal is needed for the production of steel - a product that is essential to underpin a green industrial revolution. Used also for cement and electric vehicle battery production; without the mine in West Cumbria, more coking coal would have to be transported from other countries, leaving a much larger carbon footprint.
We have written to Stewart Young, leader of Labour-run Cumbria County Council to raise our concerns, to ask for any legal advice on which the decision for redetermination was made, and to seek assurances that politics has not interfered with a quasi- judicial process."
I will continue to champion West Cumbrian projects and the importance they play in building a strong West Cumbrian economy, and providing my constituents with a variety of highly-skilled, well paid jobs. But alongside that, I will champion the role that these projects have to play in the UK meeting our target of Net Zero by 2050.
A copy of the letter sent to Stewart Young is attached below, or can be downloaded here.