CONTROVERSIAL plans to open the UK's first new deep coal mine in more than 30 years will be met with protest this weekend.

A rally will be held at Bowness Bay on from noon on Sunday by campaigners opposed to the coal mining plans at St Bees.

The plans are to be decided at a meeting of Cumbria County Council on November 1, with the group hoping to open the Woodhouse Colliery in 2019.

Marianne Birkby, of Radiation Free Lakeland, said: "West Cumbria Mining assume that the county operates in a time warp where mining and exporting fossil fuels is a good thing."

A statement from Friends of the Earth said: "It is clear that this is a very large mine, with a very long life span of 20-50 years and a peak of 2.8 million tonnes a year.

"That could be a total production of 80 million tonnes, which will emit around 175 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. The level of emissions and proposed life-time of the mine is of major concern."

A spokesperson for West Cumbria Mining said: "Our planning application is currently with Cumbria County Council for consideration and there is no further comment at this time."