Thank you for contacting me about the UK’s Climate Change targets, the Woodhouse Colliery in Whitehaven and for expressing your thoughts and concerns.
I understand your strong views regarding the Woodhouse Colliery. However, from my further research into the need for the mine, I have seen that the extracted coal will be used exclusively for steel production and not for direct energy production. Our demand for steel will actually be increased as we push towards achieving our essential Climate Change targets and the mine will allow us to produce our own wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles etc. The pandemic has demonstrated the issues of not having our own supply and I hope that by opening this colliery we will not have to rely as much on foreign imports from Australia, Brazil, the US or Russia.
What’s more, the planning decision for the colliery was primarily made at the local level, a fundamental and important element of local democracy at the heart of our planning system. Cumbria County Council (controlled by a Labour/Lib Dem administration) concluded that: “We are convinced that there are considerable benefits resulting from the development, not least the potential number of highly skilled jobs on offer and benefit to the UK economy. The project also contributes to the supply of coking coal for the UK steel industry, which is a critical raw material. Overall, the development and its wider impacts when considered as a whole would currently reduce global [greenhouse gas] emissions as a result of savings made from reduced transportation distances of coal to the steelworks and other emissions being neutral.”
It is also worth mentioning that the Government has confirmed its commitment to end unabated coal-power generation from 2025 and is consulting on bringing this date forward to 2024. This would ensure that the deadline for the phase-out of coal from Britain’s energy system is 1 October 2024. Either way, coal-generated energy will soon be a memory as the UK seeks to build a greener recovery in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Regarding the Government’s commitment to its Climate Change targets, I support the proactive stance and actions of the Government on climate change and other environmental issues to date, and I will continue to support it as it continues to introduce further appropriate measures. The UK is taking a leading role globally both on the environment and on climate change; the other countries of the world now need to follow both our lead and our example. It is an inescapable fact that the U.K. itself produces a small percentage of overall global emissions, so this has to be a global effort if it is to be successful. You can read several more of my responses on Climate Change and related issues on the ‘campaign emails’ section of my website here.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about these important matters.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking