The construction of the UK’s first coal mine in more than 30 years has been suspended by the government after ministers came under pressure over their commitments to tackling climate change.
Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, said he reserved the right to veto planning permission for the site after Cumbria county council approved the building of the pit on Friday.
The UK has promised to be carbon neutral by 2050 and burning coal at the proposed plant would emit 8m tonnes of the greenhouse gas annually, environmental groups say.
Mr Jenrick’s intervention means that approval is suspended until he decides if it should go ahead.
The £160m Woodhouse Colliery near Whitehaven, in north-west England, would create 500 jobs in an area reliant on the nuclear and seasonal tourism industries.
West Cumbria Mining, the developer, said the coking coal will be used in the steel and chemical industry and displace imports,