Today (18th September 2017) Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed that the UK will stop using coal for electricity generation by 2025.
In a speech delivered in Canada she said, “[W]e have confirmed our joint commitment to supporting the global transition away from a reliance on coal as an energy source. Once again, the UK and Canada will lead the way, and I am pleased to announce that the UK will aim to phase out unabated coal by 2025.”
The plan to phase-out coal was announced in November 2015 but progress on making this a reality has been slow. A consultation on the issue closed in February 2017 with a final decision being delayed by the snap election.
The effects of a coal phase-out were already being felt in the coal industry, as common understanding became that coal would be phase-out in 2025 when only an intention had been laid out.
Anne Harris, from the Coal Action Network says, “We welcome a final end date for coal usage in the UK. However this does not mean that all the battles in relation to coal have been won, there is still huge amounts of work to be done to get companies to begin to restore the damage caused by opencast coal mining and to support those working in the coal industry into new employment.”
“With confirmation that coal will be phase-out in 2025 we need to see the four applications for new opencast coal mines in England and Wales rejected. Specifically this creates a strong legal case to reject Banks Mining company’s application to mine coal at Highthorn, near Druridge Bay in Northumberland, which is currently awaiting the decision of the planning inspector.”
She goes on to comment that, “For the communities at the frontlines of coal extraction and climate change we can’t wait until 2025, we need to be turning off coal power stations now. People living next to coal mines in Russia, Colombia and the USA 2025 could be too late to save their homes and the ecosystems they rely on. Utility companies must quickly enact coal power station closure plans.”
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