PROTESTORS gathered at the former Marchon site at Kells in Whitehaven to resist plans for the new mine. 

This is co-oridinated by Earth First as part of their Summer Gathering event which runs from August 29 until September 4. 

They say they will offer skills-sharing for 'grassroots ecological direct action' and are hosting workshops. 

Earth First! says that their gathering brings people together from across the country who are interested in defending nature. 

They were formed in 1991 as a grassroots movement to confront 'ecological destruction'. 

The group doesn't have leaders or members and is organised according to green anarchist principles. 

The group has said: "We encourage people to take direct action against those destroying the natural environment. We fight against the domination and exploitation of both people and nature. 

"We have chosen to occupy the site of the proposed Whitehaven mine to send a message to those on these Isles and across the world: This mine will not go ahead, leave the coal in the hole.

"West Cumbria Mining Ltd wants to extract 2.78 million tonnes of coking coal each year from Whitehaven, right up to 2049. The mine is proposed at the contaminated brownfield site of the former Marchon Chemical Works. 

"They claim the coal mine would be carbon neutral, but that's a lie. The downstream emissions (emissions from the use of coal) are not counted in its emissions.

Whitehaven News: Protestors on the siteProtestors on the site (Image: Newsquest)

"The mine itself would directly release methane. WCM Ltd says it'd offset emissions, but even the offsetting company is against its use in the project."

Earth First! also referred to the area's local mining history saw a number of fatal accidents and is concerned that a new mine could unsettle old workings and release toxins into the sea.

A spokesperson from Cumbria Police said: "Officers are currently at a site on Wilson Pit Road, Whitehaven following a report at 9.15am today (August 29)

"Officers remain at the scene, where they are engaging with all parties including the landowners, and offering reassurance to the community."

Mike Starkie, the former elected mayor of Copeland added: "This mine has been through an extremely rigorous process with an initial recommendation from the planning officers that was supported three times by the planning members. It's gone to an inspector and on every occasion it's been given the go-ahead. 

"These people protesting have no respect for due process which arrives at these decisions and they have no respect for democracy. 

"Very few of them are local people, the vast majority will be serial protestors or people from outside the area."

West Cumbria Mining Ltd was approached for comment but did not respond.