Government 'failing to show leadership' over plans for new coal mines

Government 'failing to show leadership' over plans for new coal mines

2/21/2020 11:58:00 PM

Government 'failing to show leadership' over plans for new coal mines

Some residents in Northumberland are against plans to open a new site near Druridge Bay, which has a rich history of coal mining.

During the first three quarters of 2019, less than 2% of Britain's electricity was generated using it.Image:The company wants a new mine established near the dunes of Druridge BayThe government plans to phase out coal-fired power stations by 2025.

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But there is still a domestic demand for the fossil fuel in industries such as steel, cement and even heritage railways.In 2018, Britain imported just over 10 million tonnes of coal which accounted for 80% of the country's coal usage.Nearly half came from Russia. It is also imported from America, Australia and Columbia.

Image:The government plans to phase out coal-fired power stations by 2025Banks Mining, which wants to open the new Northumberland mine, argues it is better to use local coal than bring it from overseas.But the company is refusing to guarantee it will not export any abroad.

Jeannie Raine, Community Relations Manager at Banks Mining, said:"We agree that the government are moving towards carbon neutral by 2050, and we're part of that transition, but at this present time and for the next few years at least, we are looking at a need of five to six million tonnes of coal in the UK.

"And if that need is met by UK businesses, then that's far better for the environment than importing it from abroad."Image:Jeannie Raine is community relations manager at Banks MiningBut that is disputed by Professor Phil Taylor, who was the chief energy expert witness at a public inquiry.

Evidence was presented to the inquiry that emissions created by transportation are insignificant compared to the emissions from burning coal.Professor Taylor argues that coal from existing global coal mines should be used first as those are"committed emissions".

He said:"If we want to make cement and steel we can do that with coal from other places. We can get that from coal mines that have already opened."Image:Professor Phil Taylor argues that coal from existing global coal mines should be used first

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He added:"If we don't open Druridge bay coal mine then we're not adding additional emissions from coal. So at some point, you've got to stop opening coal mines. Keep it in the ground."Every time we refuse to open a coal mine, global CO2 emissions are kept under control. Every time we open one global CO2 emissions increase - that's the basic fundamental truth about this.

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