Tories Call Halt on First Deep Coal Mine in Decades, ‘We Must Satisfy John Kerry’ Says Fmr Chief Science Adviser

mine
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Boris Johnson’s government has halted development of the first new deep coal mine in Britain for decades, after a former Chief Science Adviser insisted the country “must satisfy John Kerry” on its devotion to the climate change agenda.

The long-planned mine in Cumbria, Northern England, would have created hundreds of jobs providing the high-quality coke which remains necessary to produce steel — the dream of so-called green hydrogen as a replacement for coke in the industry remains far from being fully realised, particularly at scale — but the development has now been “called in” for a public inquiry by the Johnson administration.

This appears to be a result of the left- and left-liberal Labour, Liberal Democrat, and Green opposition parties joining with climate activists to try and use the mine to embarrass Johnson ahead of the COP26 climate summit, with figures such as former government chief science adviser Sir David Kind saying the British government “must satisfy John Kerry” — the failed Democratic presidential candidate and now U.S. President Joe Biden’s climate envoy — that it is “serious” about climate change”, and “one element of satisfying [him] is to forget about building a deep coal mine in Cumbria.”

Kerry recently warned that “coal is not the future” after the publicly-funded BBC deliberately pushed the mine as an issue in an interview with the jet-setting official in a Newsnight interview.

Britain producing its own coke for the British steel industry would obviously be “greener” than shipping it in from abroad or letting the ailing sector die off and relying on foreign steelmakers, but the proposed mine has still drawn a level of criticism from left-liberals out of all proportion to its implications simply because it involves coal, which has become something of a folk devil for green activists.

Government minister Robert Jenrick had previously said that the mine was a matter for local decision-makers when the local council, which had already approved its development three times, according to The Times, said it would be reviewing it again, after Tory MPs in Northern constituencies urged him to help the project along.

The fact that he has now decided to intervene after all, but to slow down and possibly kill off the project with a public inquiry, has left many of these MPs angry with the party leadership, which had pledged to “level up” the constituencies the party won over in Labour’s so-called “Red Wall” in the 2019 general election, after working-class voters turned to the Conservatives in order to “get Brexit done”.

“This represents a complete reversal of the position taken just eight weeks ago, and a capitulation to climate alarmists,” lamented Mark Jenkinson MP.

Backbench Tories were even more forthright in a private WhatsApp group, according to The Times, with MPs accusing their government of having “bowed to climate terrorists” and given Red Wall MPs who backed the mine as a job-creating investment a “kick in the teeth”.

Instead of meeting his pledge to represent the traditional Labour voters in the Red Wall, who felt left behind by the left-wing party, Boris Johnson appears to be pushing many policies Labour’s new, middle-class metropolitan liberal base would be right at home with, such as the green agenda and increased immigration.

While the Labour Party under Harold Wilson shut more mines than the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher, the closure of pits and mass job losses in mining during her premiership has been used as a stick to beat the Tories for decades.

The right-leaning party’s brand was further toxified across swathes of Northern England when miners in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, who worked through the unlawful strikes called by socialist union leader Arthur Scargill in the 1980s, were “stabbed in the back” by Thatcher’s successor, John Major, with the announcement of more closures in the early ’90s.

This helped to deliver a landslide majority to Labour’s Tony Blair in 1997 and ushered in 13 years of left-wing rule — although nothing was done to restore the mining industry they had claimed to champion in this period, and Labour are actively campaigning against the creation of new mining jobs with the proposed Cumbria mine today.

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery
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