By Rachael Grealish
Copeland’s MP has written to Cumbria County Council demanding a public inquiry into the opening of West Cumbria Mining is held locally.
Last week the Secretary of State for the Ministry for Communities, Housing and Local Government announced a decision to ‘call in’ the proposed application to open a new coal mine in Whitehaven.
This was following ‘further developments since his original decision’ which previously handed back planning approval to Cumbria County Council after rejecting the call in request.
Following the decision, a public inquiry will now be held, overseen by an independent Planning Inspector who will make arrangements for the inquiry.
Trudy Harrison MP is now appealing to the local authority to demand that the inquiry is held in Whitehaven to allow those who are affected to access the inquiry easily.
Trudy said: “The requirements for a suitable venue include easy access for those most affected, which is why this inquiry must be held in Whitehaven.”
In January Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for MCHLG wrote to MPs stating that ‘the general approach is not to interfere with the decision-making process of local councils on planning matters and that ‘the Government’s position is that these matters are generally best determined locally, by local councils that know their own area best’.
But, later, when Mr Jenrick made the decision plans for the Whitehaven coking coal mine should be made at a national level – Mrs Harrison, along with Copeland’s Mayor, Mike Starkie, and Workington MP Mark Jenkinson expressed their dismay and disappointment.
However, the Liberal Democrat’s MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, Tim Farron, who called it ‘fantastic’ on social media and expressed his hope for the plans to be ‘axed’.