Politics Column

6 March 2020

On Wednesday of last week the Court of Appeal ruled that plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport were illegal because they did not adequately take into account the Government’s commitments to tackle the climate crisis. This is the first major ruling in the world to be based on the commitments made at the Paris Climate Agreement, and it is thought that it will have major implications worldwide.
 
Seventeen year old climate activist Greta Thunberg said “Imagine when we all start taking the Paris agreement into account.” Maybe one of the early climate-damaging projects to be stopped in its tracks will be here in West Cumbria.
 
Earlier in February it was announced that the lawfulness of a decision to allow Cumbria's first deep coal mine in 30 years is to be considered by a judge. The controversial project by West Cumbria Mining in Whitehaven was given planning consent by the County Council last March. The decision, ratified in October, was not called in for scrutiny by the Government. 
 
Nevertheless, campaign group Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole, led by Marianne Birkby, persisted and has been granted permission for a judicial review of Cumbria County Council's approval. 
 
The County Council had been warned it had failed to consider the greenhouse gas emissions of the mining operations, solicitors said. The similarities with the Heathrow case seem close enough to give us hope that this can be stopped. It's just a shame that so many projects have slipped through the net before now. 
 
Jill Perry
 
Published in Whitehaven News 5.3.20 and Times & Star 6.3.20






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