AN MP claims the case for a coal mine in west Cumbria is 'dead in the water'.

It comes as British Steel announced it will replace two blast furnaces at Scunthorpe and Tata Steel, which operates Britain's biggest steelworks in the Welsh town of Port Talbot, is looking to transition to a 'decarbonised future' which could involve the closure of its two blast furnaces. 

Both companies would instead use an electric arc furnace, using much less coal as they do not require a constant coke supply. This would represent a large reduction in coal use by UK industry. West Cumbria Mining plans to produce millions of tonnes of coking coal at Woodhouse Colliery in Whitehaven. 

Tim Farron, the MP for Westmorland and Furness, said: "This week’s announcement from British Steel proves that any economic case for a new coal mine in Cumbria is now completely dead in the water. The jobs that were promised to people in Cumbria as part of the coal mine will not materialise.

READ MORE: Banners on major Cumbrian roads oppose Whitehaven coal mine

“It is abundantly clear that steel industry is now going full steam ahead to decarbonise. The Government need to wake up to this fact and invest in renewable energy here in Cumbria so that people in our county have secure and well-paid jobs.”

The decision notice approving the site in December outlines Michael Gove's view on the need for coal in the UK and Europe as the minister involved in planning.

It says: "The secretary of state has carefully considered the inspector’s analysis of the need for the coal.

"He is satisfied that there is currently a UK and European market for the coal and that although there is no consensus on what future demand in the UK and Europe may be, it is highly likely that a global demand would remain

"He agrees with the inspector that there is no certainty in the pace that commercial and viable alternatives to Blast Furnace-Basic Oxygen Furnace (BF-BOF) may come on stream and therefore the longer-term demand for coking coal cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty."

West Cumbria Mining did not respond to a request for comment.