South Lakeland District Council leader Giles Archibald talks climate change...

THE Government has ‘called-in’ the decision on whether to allow a coal mine to be built on the west coast of Cumbria, writes Cllr Giles Archibald, leader of South Lakeland District Council.

There will now be a public inquiry run by the UK Planning Inspectorate followed by an independent decision as to whether to allow it to proceed.

I was pleased the Government realised this was not a local decision.

But I was also saddened by the fact we are continuing to drag out the decision-making on whether to proceed with the coal mine.

It has become clear this coal mine is damaging our global reputation and that the climate stakes are too high for it to be allowed to continue.

We are now going to spend time and resources arguing about a decision which is surely inevitable.

While the Government said it was the letter from the Climate Committee established by statute that changed its mind, the committee’s findings did not reveal any startling new information.

The weight of logic, the science and international opinion made the ‘call-in’ inevitable.

A lot of people have been given the impression this mine will not increase the global volume of annual greenhouse gas emissions.

COLUMN: Cllr Giles Archibald, leader of South Lakeland District Council

COLUMN: Cllr Giles Archibald, leader of South Lakeland District Council

I and others have consistently argued that this is not the case.

We should now focus on alternative local job opportunities.

Cumbria Action for Sustainability has just produced a fascinating report suggesting 9,000 new jobs could be created in Cumbria as we transition away from fossil fuels.

I wish we could focus all our energy in implementing this terrific report, rather than fighting an outdated battle about a coal mine.

More on this report next week.