Croydon’s canaries down a coal mine warn of fossil fuel danger

Die-in: protestors outside the insurance offices at West Croydon this morning

Environmental protesters in Croydon today joined demonstrations across the country to oppose plans to open a coal mine in Cumbria, claiming an early victory as five major insurers gave guarantees that they will not provide cover for the controversial planned mine.

West Cumbria Mining Ltd wants to extract 2.78million tonnes of coking coal annually from what would be Britain’s first new underground coal mine in 30 years. The project has faced fierce public opposition with more than 100,000 people joining the campaign.

Opposition to the mine says that it would go against the government’s legally-binding net zero emissions target.

XR Croydon, with canary yellow feathers fluttering, staged a “die-in” on the steps outside the Station Road offices of insurer Markel, calling on them to rule out insuring the West Cumbria Coal Mine.

“We want to make it clear to Markel that new fossil fuel exploration is incompatible with a liveable planet – we cannot stand by whilst climate catastrophe is unfolding before us,” said XR Croydon protester Gill Slater.

“Insurers like Markel have the chance to stand on the right side of history and reject the West Cumbria mine.”

Battle for the planet: today’s Markel demo at West Croydon

The insurers that have ruled out underwriting the mine so far include Aegis Managing Agency, Argenta Syndicate Management, Argo Managing Agency, Hannover Re and Talanx.

“These are the first financial institutions to rule out any involvement with the project, and the win represents a new phase in the campaign to stop the project from going ahead,” said XR Croydon.

The national protest saw similar demonstrations in Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham, York, Wrexham and Cardiff, organised by Coal Action Network, whose Andrew Taylor said, “The British government has ignored the pressure from people across the UK who are calling for them to stop the climate-wrecking West Cumbria coal mine, so today people have taken to the streets to demand that insurers and banks, including HSBC, turn their backs on this disastrous fossil fuel project.

“Five insurers stating that they won’t be involved is just the beginning.”

Over the past few years coal companies have found it increasingly hard to find traditional insurance for new and existing mines, leading some to take on additional costs and risks. Many mainstream insurers who used to underwrite coal projects have put in sector-wide exclusions for coal.

Coal Action Network hopes that the campaign to cut off insurance from the West Cumbria mine will lead to the insurance industry expanding existing policy exclusions to include coal for steel production.

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3 Responses to Croydon’s canaries down a coal mine warn of fossil fuel danger

  1. Ian Ross says:

    Sad that these sheep have utterly no understanding of steel making which is essential for the wind turbines they all love. Instead they are happy for the coking coal to be imported from the US. Like all eco do gooders they have little grasp on reality. It’s Cumbria’s coal and employment potential and has nothing to do with anyone else. Unless, of course, they have another steel making process to offer?

    • Sad that you’re trotting out insults instead of facts. Hydrogen can and will replace coke to make steel. Swedish company SSAB are already making progress on that, with the aim “to be the first in the world to deliver fossil-free steel to the market” in 2026.

    • timcoombe says:

      Is that the level of discourse we really need? “Sheep”, “eco do gooders” etc. There are definitely material challenges you could make to the transition to renewables, but whether or not we have the same level of steel production is a moot point if a sizeable portion of the worlds population can no longer grow crops, or the oceans can no longer sustain complex life.

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