ENVIRONMENTALISTS are calling for plans to create a deep coal mine in West Cumbria to be halted.

West Cumbria Mining (WCM) is behind plans to extract coking coal off the coast of St Bees, with a processing plant on the former Marchon site at Kells.

A letter from WWF UK’s head of climate change Gareth Redmond-King said he believed the plans breached policy on climate change and assumed a long-term reliance on coking coal.

The plans were submitted in May 2017, but now the firm was proposing a change in the way it plans to process the material, meaning only premium metallurgical coal would be processed.

Changes to its application meant the plant would now only produce premium metallurgical coal. There would no longer be a middlings coal by-product.

WCM said the by-product middlings was a lower value material than would have been generated by the original design of the processing plant.

With the application to be reconsidered by the Cumbria County Council, WWF UK has written to the Secretary of State asking for the plans to be called in.

Mr Redmond-King said: “A mine would generate significant carbon emissions over the course of the next 50 years and for at least 20 years after the UK is required to meet its net zero greenhouse gas emissions target in 2050.

"The consequences of those emissions in terms of their contribution to global heating and the responsibility to offset them to meet the new 2050 target will fall disproportionately on the young, impacting on their human rights in a manner which we believe cannot be justified at a time of climate crisis. The mine's liable to generate significant air quality impacts and it's well established that air pollution disproportionately affects the young because their lungs are still developing.”

WCM was contacted for comment.