Carola Godman Irvine. Farmer, Campaigner & Columnist. 17-02-21

  • Written by Carola Godman Irvine
  • Posted on Feb 17, 2021
  • Articles

The vaccine roll out is increasingly impressive as over 15m people had first doses by Monday.

Having experienced the process first hand, I am impressed by the ‘human effort’, at several centres.

From the volunteers on car park duty, the door keepers and registration teams, to the administrators of the jabs, and those sanitising the seats as you leave. They are without exception amazing, cheerful, competent and very kind. Exactly as one would expect from Britain’s army of volunteers.

The sooner the whole country is vaccinated the better for everyone.

It is good news that the West Cumbrian Mining project in Whitehaven was given consent. How wise of Copeland Borough Council to approve this project, and that the government decided not to intervene.

What is puzzling is the decent by spokesmen from Friends of the Earth, Green Peace, Cumbrian Wildlife Trust, and the PM’s father Stanley Johnson, who criticise the decision.

This proposed deep coal mine will remove coking coal from beneath the Irish Sea, for the production of steel in the UK. The project will create at least 500 jobs at the mine, and enable the UK to manufacture more British steel rather import so much from European countries. Even manufacture wind turbines rather than import them from China. ‘Green Warriors’ should be ecstatic not critical.

Who needs enemies when Boris has a father like Stanley, and some of his more disloyal siblings?

The PM has promised repeatedly that he wishes to build, build, and build. So it goes without saying that we need steel. Surely British steel, manufactured using UK coke, in our highly efficient state of the art steel works, by British workers, is more environmentally sustainable than shipping steel half way round the world. Scope 3 should not be ignored.

I am sure ‘Climate Warriors’ would admit, if they would draw breath from criticising the PM, that environmentally British steel is far less damaging, effecting ‘climate change’, than importing the stuff.

The PM has repeatedly said he wishes to shift away from fossil fuels to protect the planet. A very laudable aim, but not one which can or will happen overnight, certainly not by 2030 or even 2060.

This mine is in an area of high unemployment. Yes, jobs should be generated by investing in clean energy and we can be sure in time they will. Technically steel can be made using low-emission methods which will in time phase out metallurgical coal/coke. The limiting factor now and the foreseeable future is cost.

Just because something can happen, does not mean it should – yet. For example, solar-powered flight is now technically possible. They have managed to circumnavigate the world in a solar-powered plane. We can (technically) travel by solar-powered plane.

However, when you consider the economics, it’s not a practical, affordable solution. It took 505 days at an average speed of 70km an hour and could only carry two people. It is not economically feasible for solar power to replace fossil-fuel passenger jets. The energy density of sunshine and battery storage is just too low to make it practical and affordable.

The UK is hosting the COP26 climate summit later this year. Far from the PM being “humiliated” as has been suggested, those with an intellectual understanding of the science, logistics and technology will praise this mining project and admire those who have supported it.

As Mike Starkie, the Conservative mayor of Copeland Borough Council, said: “I think the project is fantastic, it’ll bring jobs and prosperity to the area, and is broadly welcomed across Copeland. I have never known a project that has carried so much public support.”

Let us hope they and the government are not knocked off course by those who clearly do not wish GB to prosper, develop and enlarge our manufacturing capabilities.

To read Carola’s columns in full, go to: