Local politicians have mostly tended to emphasise opposition to a planned mine in Whitehaven (to produce high-grade coking coal for exclusive use in steel production) on ‘global warming’ grounds; ‘all coal is bad’ seems to be the leitmotiv.

That pioneer of global warming consciousness, former US Vice President Al Gore, coined the phrase ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ to encapsulate the danger of run-away climate change due to mankind’s activities. Nowadays this ‘inconvenient truth’ is ‘hard-wired’ into every political decision. It is used crudely by activists to ‘trump’ any deeper, logical consideration of climate-sensitive issues. Such is the case with West Cumbria coal; activists have used this ‘trump card’ in their totally spurious arguments against the project to mask other ‘inconvenient truths’ which overwhelmingly support the project going ahead.

As populations grow and the world develops, so steel consumption rises. By definition, this demand can’t be met just by recycling, however efficient; new steel smelted from ore is essential.

For the immediate future, steel can only be smelted using carbon as a chemical ingredient, and that carbon is obtained from coke in all of the world’s commercial steel plants. New processes using less carbon are in development, but are many years away from meeting any significant portion of world demand.

It is desirable that the UK should have a capacity to produce steel. We could just import it, or the coal to smelt it, and add to the £20 billion annual trade deficit and ‘national debt’, already at over £2 trillion.

Finally, the Whitehaven mine will be selling coal, unsubsidised, on the world market. We, and our European customers, will save shipping and pollution costs, and we, the UK, will gain jobs.

Yes, we must honour Al Gore’s ‘inconvenient truth’, but, please, let’s not dishonour it with a ‘cancel culture’ of denying other truths within this complex argument. Councillor Archibald’s blindly polemic argument against West Cumbrian coal (The Mail letters, February 24), and similar contributions from Tim Farron, simply add emotion and spurious ‘fact’ in what is a straightforward decision.

Cumbria County Council were given the ‘judgement of Solomon’ over this application to create jobs and wealth for the county versus environmental populism. Central government then called the decision back in. Let’s hope common sense, prosperity and jobs finally prevail.

Ian Kell