AHEAD of a key call over the application for a new coal mine in the west of the county, Extinction Rebellion South Lakes (XRSL) protesters have taken to the water to voice their discontent at the council’s expected resolution.

Cumbria County Council is due to hand down its decision concerning whether or not the proposed deep mine near Whitehaven should go ahead this week, after months of deliberation.

According to national reports, the local authority is likely to recommend permission for the mining project to proceed - albeit with some amendments.

West Cumbria Mining was forced to make changes to their application, following a legal challenge.

Instead of the initial 2070 end date proposed, councillors will reportedly recommend a reduced lifespan, meaning the project would run until 2049 - just one year before the UK’s carbon neutral deadline - at which point it will be considered in light of changes to industrial steel-production methods.

Last weekend, XRSL demonstrators held a ‘kayak protest’ at Windermere. Just a few days prior to this, members had staged a ‘semi-naked’ protest outside the county council’s Kendal offices.

The £165m Woodhouse Colliery project would see millions of tonnes of metallurgical coal dug up to supply the steel-making industry domestically and abroad in what would be the UK’s first new deep mine in more than three decades.

Experts estimate that the proposed coal mine will emit 8.4 million tonnes of CO2 each year, equivalent to the emissions of more than 1 million households.

A further action is expected later this week, should commissioners decide in favour of the mining project once again.

One of the weekend protesters, Maggie Mason, said: “The government has committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 but it needs to step down very quickly by 2030, not go full tilt to some kind of ‘cliff edge’.

“Allowing extraction of 2.74 million tonnes a year of coking coal to 2049 will slow the essential process of reducing coal-use for making steel, and add to global Greenhouse gas emissions.

“This application needs to be refused, not tinkered with.”

Activist Rhod Vaughan said: “Cumbria County Council still doesn’t recognise that we’re in a climate emergency. Parts of Cumbria, including Workington, Walney Island, Maryport, Barrow and the Solway Coast, will be underwater by 2050."