Cumbria County Council has welcomed the news that a legal challenge for a deep coal mine to be created in west Cumbria has been withdrawn.

The authority gave permission to West Cumbria Mining to go ahead with the project last year.

It would see the company extract coking coal off the coast of St Bees, with a processing plant on the former Marchon site at Kells.

But the campaign group Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole submitted a legal challenge, with a judicial review hearing due to be heard later in the year.

The challenge has now been dropped, after West Cumbria Mining's plans have been amended, with the council's planning panel due to consider the changes soon.

A county council spokesman said: “Cumbria County Council welcomes the decision on behalf of Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole to withdraw from the judicial review proceedings.

"We stand by our belief that all planning procedures and considerations were correctly followed throughout by the council.

"We therefore believe it would be in no one’s interests to hold a lengthy and costly judicial review into this case.

“West Cumbria Mining has revised their planning application so that only metallurgical coal will now be exported from the mine.

"In the original application it was envisaged that up to 15 per cent of all coal extracted would be middlings or industrial coal.

"This coal will now be reprocessed to remove sulphur content so that it can be classified as metallurgical coal.

"WCM has also taken the opportunity to provide a greenhouse gas emissions plan and to respond to the findings of a Green Alliance report.

"The revised application is expected to be considered at a meeting scheduled to be held on July 8.”