Plans for a mine off the coast of Whitehaven will not be scrutinised by the Government.
Cumbria County Council gave the go-ahead to West Cumbria Mining to create the mine, off Kells, last year.
But the Government had the option to ‘call-in’ that decision and campaigners pressed for it to happen.
South Lakes MP Tim Farron asked the Government to call it in.
Mike Starkie, mayor of Copeland, said he had been formally notified today that the Government would not be calling it in.
Mr Farron said: “This decision is a complete disaster for our children’s future – an almighty backwards step in the fight against climate change.
“It’s utter and rank hypocrisy for this Conservative Government to claim one minute that they care about protecting our environment, and in the next give the green light to a deep coal mine.”
Plans were approved in 2019, but the firm was forced to amend its application after legal challenges by campaigners.
Penrith and Eden campaigners against the coal mine have held several protests.
In August, they took to Penrith town centre ahead of a crunch county council online meeting to debate the application.
Members of Eden’s Green Party, Extinction Rebellion and Penrith Action for Community Transition, gathered in Penrith town centre.
Campaigners against the scheme claim the mine will not produce the promised benefits and will have far greater negative impacts than are acknowledged in the planning application.
The mine is set to produce 2.78 million tonnes of coking coal a year for around 50 years.
Mike Starkie, mayor of Copeland, issued a statement this afternoon saying he had been formally notified that the Government would not be calling it in.
He said: “I am thrilled. In the letter I have received today following my support of the mining application, the Minister of State for Housing writes that the Government has decided that this a decision best taken locally – and I wholeheartedly agree.”
Mark Kirkbride, chief executive of West Cumbria Mining, said: “I am delighted that the holding direction has been lifted following what has been an extremely rigorous planning process.
“My team and I are now looking forward to concluding planning sign-off and then being able to commence preparatory steps to begin site work later this year.
“WCM would like to thank all those people and organisations, both in the local community and further afield, who have supported the project over the past six years with particular thanks to Copeland MP Trudy Harrison, Workington MP Mark Jenkinson, Copeland mayor Mike Starkie and Allerdale deputy leader Mike Johnson.”