ENVIRONMENTAL activists have laid bare their case against Cumbria's planned coal mine at the county council's South Lakes headquarters.

At around 1pm yesterday afternoon, a 'semi-naked' protest was staged by Extinction Rebellion (XR) Cumbria outside the council's offices in Kendal.

Demonstrators - stripped to the waist, with slogans like ‘Turn your Back on Coal’ and ‘The Naked Truth – Coal Kills’ painted onto their bodies - took a final stand against the proposals for a new deep mine near Whitehaven, which the county council is currently deliberating over.

The protest followed a series of other minor demonstrations and actions over the planned West Cumbria mine which have taken place this year, as well as larger actions that have taken place in London and Manchester during recent weeks.

One protestor, Henry Adams, told The Mail: "We want the county council to urgently rethink its previous decision to approve this mine.

"Just at the moment when the market balance and broader will within the steel industry begins to shift, we simply can't choose to go in this regressive direction.

"When, on top of this, the UK is about to host the annual UN climate summit, COP26, what kind of a message would such a decision be sending out?"

Earlier this month, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick rejected plans to dig up millions of tonnes of coal at a prospective opencast mining site in Northumberland.

However, he has so far refused to call in the Cumbrian application.

Next Friday, the local authority is set to make a critical decision over West Cumbria Mining's plans for the £165m Woodhouse Colliery project - which would be the UK's first new deep mine in three decades.

But this may not be the end of the story, the demonstrators explained.

"If Cumbria County Council give the green light to this project, it will face probably two separate legal actions, at least," Mr Adams said.

"One of the key forces driving this project essentially comes down to a desperate bid from local politicians wanting to be popular with their constituents.

"In areas of the county where jobs are scarce, investing in lasting green jobs is surely the 'win-win' solution our representatives should be pursuing.

"To approve this mine at this moment would be reckless and irresponsible."