The final day of an inquiry into the West Cumbrian coal mine took place on Friday with legal heavyweights on all sides of the arguments landing their parting shots.

The Woodhouse Colliery coal mine proposed by West Cumbria Mining was called-in by the secretary of state and has therefore been subjected to a 16-day public inquiry which concluded on Friday.

Secretary of state Michael Gove will now make the final decision on whether to approve the mine based on the inquiry's findings.

In his closing statements, Paul Brown QC, solicitor for Friends of the Earth argued that the evidence against West Cumbria Mining's planning application was too much for it to go ahead.

He said: "The starting point in terms of planning policy both in the NPPF and the Development Plan is that permission should not be granted for coal extraction unless an application can satisfy one of two exceptions, namely that it is environmentally acceptable or can be so by conditions and obligations, or that if it's not environmentally acceptable that it offers national, local or community benefits which clearly outweigh it's likely impacts.

"Firstly our case is that the application is not environmentally acceptable - first because it would result in additional greenhouse gas emissions, it's therefore contrary to national policy on the need to limit climate change and secondly because of the adverse impact it would have on landscape.

"Second I would say that neither of those objections can be overcome by conditions or obligations. Third, the national, local or community benefits which the scheme might provide do not in our summation come close to outweighing the likely impacts. And fourth that permission should therefore be refused."

Estelle Dehon QC for South Lakes Action on Climate Change said: "The production of the proposed mine at 7.8 million tonnes per annum would at most meet five to six per cent of the level of European need predicted within the base case of 55 million tonnes per annum.

"Article 4.4 of the Paris Agreement places a particular obligation on developed country parties like the United Kingdom to continue taking the lead by undertaking economy wide absolute emissions reduction targets.

"To that end G7 countries recently reaffirmed in their June 2021 commitment, their commitment to the Paris Agreement. And called on all countries in particular major emitting economies to join the G7 in these goals as part of a global effort, stepping up their commitments to reflect the highest possible ambition and transparency on implementation under the Paris Agreement.

"The commitment of the UK as a global leader in the international efforts to meet the temperature goals set out in the Paris Agreement is clear, taking the lead which is an obligation from that agreement means that the decisions taken in the UK relating to climate change will meaningfully influence those taken by other countries."

Gregory Jones, QC for the applicant West Cumbria Mining said: "So at the outset of this inquiry, SLACC identified what it alleged were a series of myths that have been sprung around this development. But here are a few of the real myths: that we and the EU do not need any coal mines and can continue to offshore our emissions for the next 30 plus years, by importing coal or by importing steel products. That we can stand aside while the global steel demand is fed by polluting mines from around the world.

"That we can turn our backs on jobs and economic growth because of a conservative estimate of 9,000 'green jobs' for Cumbria, which are possible, but for which there are absolutely no plans still less funding or consent."