THE work the UK has done to cut carbon emissions would offset the impact of Cumbria's proposed coal mine, according to Copeland's Mayor.

Mike Starkie believes the plans should not be refused due to Boris Johnson's desire to be a leader on climate change.

He claimed the country is already leading the way in the battle against global warming.

Mr Starkie said: "The Government trying to lead the way on climate change is a good thing. The current Government have a very good record on climate change, we're reducing emissions faster than any country in the world.

"Boris can get on the stage at COP26 and say they're doing more than any other country.

"I think on a worldwide scale the emissions from the mine are nominal.

"We need a significant amount of steel and the manufacture of steel needs coking coal. If we have good quality coking coal here, why should we import it?"

However, the need for coking coal in steel production has been disputed by campaigners against the mine.

In March, Dr Henry Adams, a consultant ecologist and member of the South Lakes Action on Climate Change group said the coal that the mine would produce would contain too much sulphur for one of the UK's blast furnaces to use at all.

An email sent by British Steel admitted that sulphur was a "constraining factor."

The majority of the coal produced at the mine would be exported, with only a small amount used in the UK.

Dr Adams added that most steel producers intend to move away from coking coal in the production of steel in the coming years due to emissions.

But supporters of the mine maintain there is currently no alternative to coking coal in the production of steel.

Mr Starkie went on to say that a balance is needed between the need for jobs and the need to cut emissions .He also maintained that the majority of people in Copeland back the mine.

He added: "The world and their mothers know my views on this. I've written to Boris Johnson, Robert Jenrick, and his predecessor James Brokenshire.

"In West Cumbria this mine enjoys virtually unanimous support. The one thing nobody disputes is the economic impact would be huge.

"After the pandemic we need to build back better. This is not reliant on Government funding.

"It's £160 million private investment, which would be welcomed anywhere in the country - certainly in an area like ours which has been solely reliant on one industry."