Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, has led a key debate in the House of Commons on the Future of Coal in the United Kingdom, held today (3rd December 2020).
The debate, which over forty MPs from across political parties supported, was led by Richard, who opened the debate with a fifteen-minute speech. The speech focused on the need for coal in the UK, and how producing it domestically has far-reaching benefits for both the economy and the environment.
Commenting that the UK is searching for an ‘alternative’ to coal, Richard stressed that ‘we still need coal in the UK’, and pointed out the benefits to the environment of producing it domestically, as opposed to shipping it from abroad, which results in enormous CO2 emissions. Richard also raised the economic benefits of producing coal domestically, flagging that the not to allow the planned new coal mine at Highthorne led to the loss of a potential 250 well paid local jobs. The UK currently imports between five and ten million tonnes of coal a year, representing over £1 billion in imports.
The debate lasted for over an hour and MPs from the Conservative, Labour and SNP parties took part, including the Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth Kwasi Kwarteng MP.
Commenting, Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, stated:
“I’m delighted that my debate on the Future of Coal in the United Kingdom has now taken place and that I was able to lead the debate in the House of Commons. It’s an enormously important issue, especially as there are currently two potential coal mines going through planning, one deep mine in Cumbria and one at Dewley Hill in Newcastle. The key thing here is that if local people back these schemes on a cross-party basis then Whitehall should not stand in their way.
“We still need to use coal in the United Kingdom and we will do for some time. As was pointed out in the debate by myself and my colleagues, many of whom are supportive of my stance on this issue, we can either employ thousands of people in the North, focus on our high environmental standards and contribute to the UK’s economy, or we can ship coal in from abroad at a high cost to our economy and our environment.
“I am grateful to have had the chance to debate this issue in the House and I will continue to work with my constituents, local businesses and my Parliamentary colleagues to ensure that the Government supports the coal industry and continues to level up our areas and communities.”