The UK government has given approval for the country’s first new coalmine in 30 years at Whitehaven in Cumbria, according to media reports on Wednesday.
Despite wide-range objections, Levelling-up Secretary Michael Gove gave the green light for the project paving the way for an estimated investment of £165 million ($201.4 million), according to The Guardian.
The proposed mine which would be producing 2.8 million tons of coking coal annually for steel production in the UK and across the world, is expected to create about 500 new jobs in the region.
However, the mine will also produce an estimated 400,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year, increasing the UK’s emissions by the equivalent of putting 200,000 cars on the road, the report said.
Meanwhile, developers said that Whitehaven colliery will be the “world’s first net zero coal mine of its kind”, however environmental groups reacted to the project over being “incompatible with the efforts to address climate change.”
On Saturday, COP26 President Alok Sharma said that opening a new coal mine would be a “backward step” for the UK’s leading role in the fight against climate change.
“Opening a new coal mine will not only be a backward step for UK climate action but also damage the UK’s hard-won international reputation, through our @COP26 Presidency, as a leader in the global fight against climate change,” he said in a tweet.