CAMPAIGNERS against the creation of a new £165m undersea coal mine in West Cumbria have been given hope in their fight by a Cumbrian MP.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron has written to James Brokenshire, the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, to ask for the county council's decision to approve West Cumbria Mining's plans to be called in.

The proposals to extract coking coal off the coast of St Bees would include building a processing plant on the former Marchon site at Kells and it has been claimed the development would create 500 jobs.

WCM was given the go-ahead to proceed with their plans by the council's planning panel last week.

Mr Farron said: "I completely understand the motivation over jobs and the local economy, I believe that's what drove the council to make the decision. I'm very supportive of other things in the energy coast in the renewable side of things and I've been very critical of the Government for the failure of Moorside.

"I think we as a community need to agree that fossil fuels need to stay in the ground. We need to stop making excuses for not doing anything about climate change."

Mr Farron admitted he did not hold much hope for the decision to be overturned but he said it was important for him to do all he could to halt the project.

He added Moorside would have created many more jobs than Woodhouse Colliery as well as producing cleaner energy.

Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole protester Marianne Birkby said: “We are delighted that this step to request a call in by the secretary of state has been taken.

“We have been in correspondence with Tim Farron since 2015 on this outrageous plan for a deep coal mine under the Irish Sea and so near Sellafield.

“We will be supporting Tim Farron’s request for a call-in and urge others to do so too.

“If the call-in request is not successful and if the secretary of state does not do the right thing - call in this terrible decision and instigate a public inquiry - then we are ready to push ahead with a judicial review and we have the support of top lawyers Leigh Day to do this.”