A CLIMATE protest including the proposed West Cumbria coal mine plan hit the streets of London this week but a local MP has said coke mining is “necessary” to the nation’s steel production.

Extinction Rebellion UK was out on the streets of London on Thursday and Friday, protesting about the climate crisis.

At 7am Friday they dumped black rubble, representing coal, on the street outside Lloyd’s of London’s headquarters, which protesters claimed facilitated the fossil fuel industry by insuring and investing in it.

The pile of “coal” blocked the entrance to the bank before activists placed signs, including one that read: “Do not insure the West Cumbria Coal Mine.”

Climate activists in London were seen damaging the windows of HSBC’s headquarters at Canary Wharf on Thursday.

However, Marianne Birkby of Radiation Free Lakeland said: “The Radiation Free Lakeland and Keep Coal in the Hole campaign does not endorse damage to property such as smashing windows and we did not endorse the hunger strikes – our campaign is peaceful.”

She went on: “It’s good that climate activists are opposing the coal mine, but it was Radiation Free Lakeland and Keep Coal in the Hole that galvanised climate campaigners to see this coal mine as an issue and we really feel that the nuclear aspects of this coal mine are being buried under the climate impact.”

Copeland MP Trudy Harrison said: “I am committed to the transition from fossil fuel to low carbon alternatives.

Mrs Harrison said: “It’s why I’m the greatest advocate of nuclear as a real solution producing the essential, reliable baseload power to supplement renewable generation. To give an idea, 180,000 tonnes of steel will be required for the construction of just one 440 mega watt small modular reactor.

“To create the necessary steel, some level of coke will also be required. It’s up to us whether we are happy to continue to transport this vital ingredient thousands of miles on fossil-fuelled ships and trains to UK blast furnaces.

“I’m in favour of a UK steel industry – the alternative dependency on international imports for our manufacturing is neither a sound environmental or economic policy.”