I welcome that the Government has called in this application for review. I had previously signalled my support for the project with my fellow Conservative Cumbrian MPs. However, on reflection I now believe that the project should not go ahead. The world is changing and we are witnessing ever increasing adverse weather events leading to catastrophic floods and fires; we just need to look at the western North America, Greece and Italy in terms of fires just now, and the recent catastrophic flooding in mainland Europe this summer, and just this week in the eastern USA. The publication this summer of the IPCC report makes stark reading and we need to act collectively as a world to fight climate change. Accordingly, with these developments and the changes in circumstances in mind, on reflection I do not think we should be progressing with new coal exploration, even for coking coal. I ask that the Government now acts to cancel this project and have made representations to that effect to Government and the Public Inquiry. With our leadership of the COP26 we have a real opportunity to set an example to the world if we do this. I understand the economic implications if such a decision is made and I encourage the Government as a priority to invest in opportunities for local and national employment in the renewable energies sector.
I welcome that The Government has confirmed its commitment to end unabated coal-power generation from 2025 and is consulting on bringing this date forward to 2024. This would ensure that the deadline for the phase-out of coal from Britain’s energy system is 1 October 2024. I hope that coal-generated energy will soon be a distant memory as the UK builds a greener and more resilient future in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.