THE case for the proposed new coal mine in Cumbria is a no-brainer for most sensible people. The state-of-the-art mine will extract and process 3.1million tons a year of high-grade coking coal for use in steelworks in the UK and Europe, which currently have to import it from the US and Russia.
The mine is designed to be a clean operation with very little environmental impact, with the coal transferred by underground conveyor to a rail depot for shipping to customers. There will be no road freight of coal at all, and all waste will be buried.
The project will create 500 direct jobs, plus many more in supply chains. Unsurprisingly the local council have given full approval to go ahead.
However the government’s recent decision not to block it on environmental grounds has infuriated extreme groups such as Greenpeace. Leading the charge is the BBC’s Roger Harrabin, who is improperly using his role as the BBC’s Environmental Analyst actively to campaign against the new colliery.
His latest BBC report, ‘Climate change: Boris Johnson “risks humiliation” over coal mine’, is wholly devoted to a letter to the Prime Minister from James Hansen, a ‘leading’ US climate scientist and extreme environmental activist. Naturally, Hansen wants the mine banned, though quite what relevance the views of one US activist has to do with the democratic process in this country defeats me.
In common with most Harrabin articles, this one fails to offer any counter views of those in favour. It follows other articles in the last month, such as ‘Climate change: Six questions about the Cumbria coal controversy’, ‘Government defends Cumbria coal mine green light’ and ‘Climate change: Minister rapped for allowing Cumbria coal mine’.
All are heavily slanted to the views of Greenpeace and other extreme environmental groups, while virtually nothing is reported about the substantial benefits the mine will bring. In particular, Harrabin consistently fails to publish the views of the local council, community or West Cumbria Mining who are developing the mine.
It is abundantly clear that Harrabin is abusing his position at the BBC to campaign politically against the mine. If he wants to be an environmental campaigner, fine. But he cannot do that and be a BBC employee at the same time.
This article first appeared in Not A Lot Of People Know That on February 5, 2021, and is republished by kind permission.