Local MP Tim Farron has told a major public inquiry that if plans are approved for a new coal mine in Cumbria it will "squander" the UK's ability to lead on climate change ahead of COP26 later this year.
On the first day of the public inquiry into the mine, Tim said that opening a new coal mine would go against the steel industry's move to decarbonisation and implored the Government to be investing in renewable jobs in Cumbria instead.
Tim has long campaigned against the mine, presenting a petition to Parliament in 2019 opposing the plans and he led the calls asking for the Secretary of State to call in the application last year.
Speaking during the public inquiry this afternoon, Tim said: "In a matter of weeks time, the United Kingdom will host and lead COP26.
"Our ministers are going to need to look China, India, Russia, the United States, Brazil in the eye and urge them to decarbonise.
"They will not be ignorant to this discussion we are currently having.
"If we sanction the opening of a new coal mine in the United Kingdom then we will be laughed at and our ability to lead will be diminished.
"This moment - where we are able to potentially to bring with us a series of nations to make big decisions and decarbonise - will be critically undermined. We will have squandered our capacity to lead.
"So this is an incredibly serious decision. This is a massive issue. This is not just something for us Cumbrians to concern ourselves with. This is something which is potentially going to rob us of the capacity to push world leaders towards the radical decarbonisation that we desperately, desperately need."
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