ARCHBISHOP William Nolan of Glasgow and Bishop John Arnold of Salford, both Catholic episcopal leads on the environment for England, Wales and Scotland, have sent an open letter to the UK government deploring the decision to approve a new coal mine in Cumbria.
The first new coal mine in Britain for 30 years, they said it contradicts the government’s commitment to phase out coal during its COP26 presidency.
The letter, also signed by Dr Chris Manktelow of the Young Christian Climate Network and many others, is addressed to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and Minister Michael Gove.
“We acknowledge that this region needs investment, but the Government is supporting a dying industry, instead of securing sustainable green jobs for the long term.”
The letter adds: “We lament this great injustice. As Pope Francis says in his encyclical ‘Laudato Si,’ we must listen to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, instead of covering our ears.
“Despite a government commitment to phase out coal mining, in spite of the possibilities of creating jobs in renewable energy production in Cumbria, despite the fact that UK steel producers will not use this type of coal, the government is permitting the opening of a new mine. While illogical, it is a blatant contribution to further climate damage at a time when the Prime Minister has recently stated, at COP27, that the UK is taking a lead in environmental care.”