Doncaster’s Tory MP criticised for backing bid for new coal mine

Conservative Doncaster MP Nick Fletcher has been criticised for urging a council to approve a new coal mine in Cumbria.

Saturday, 20th February 2021, 10:02 am

Mr Fletcher, alongside 30 other Tory MPs representing northern constituencies, co-signed a letter to Cumbria County Council to back the plan for the new mine in Whitehaven.

Doncaster Labour councillor Dave Shaw, said the support for a new coal mine was ‘beggar’s belief’ and that fossil fuels should stay in the ground in wake of the climate emergency.

The Northern Research Group MPs – which Mr Fletcher is a member of – accused Labour of ‘turning its back’ on northern communities by opposing the development in Whitehaven.

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Nick Fletcher, the Conservative MP for Don Valley

In a letter to Cumbria County Council’s Labour leader, Tory MPs warned that threats to block the mine represent a ‘serious risk’ to the area’s economy and jobs.

The group said the mine would produce coking coal which aids in the development of steel and ‘underpins every single renewable technology’ needed for construction and the alternative would be importing it from elsewhere.

Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband also commented on the plans and said the UK ‘cannot claim to be a climate leader whilst opening a new coal mine’.

Coun Shaw said: “It’s beggar’s belief that any elected member, whether they be a councillor or an MP should be calling for any extraction of fossil fuels in this day and age.

“It particularly feels wrong that MPs from another area should be bringing pressure to a separate council, especially given that Mr Fletcher’s own party councillors in Doncaster voted to adopt the climate and biodiversity motion recognising the emergency that we are all facing.

“It’s unlikely to generate the level of jobs that we would have previously seen within mining operations much of it is likely to be automated and we know from our own experience in Doncaster that we should not be sending people downlines anymore, because we are still dealing with the aftermath of serious illnesses.

“It’s dirty and dangerous work and in this day and age we shouldn’t be sending people underground so I’d argue that there aren’t many jobs, and probably quite dangerous jobs.

“We should be looking to create green clean jobs and Cumbria is an area that is awash with potential for natural energy production.”

Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher, said: ‘I support this new mine as it will help create jobs in this vital industry.

“It’s important to keep looking forward and innovation like this is the best way to ensure this industry keeps striving ahead.”

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