Cumbria Crack reported that two national bodies and an environmental group have warned plans to build a new coal mine near Whitehaven could have a major impact on a Cumbrian valley.Friends of the Earth warned that the RLF development wouldBe a huge blot on the landscape. It would be 15 meters high (equivalent to 3.5 double decker buses piled on top of each other) and 75 metres long (six double decker buses) Devalue the tourism potential of the area – The RLF would be visible from the Coast to Coast long-distance footpath and national cycle trails. Visual representations commissioned by Friends of the Earth highlight the severity of the visual impact. Disturb the local environment and nature – The valley is home to ancient woodland and various animals such as birds, bats and badgers whose habitats could potentially be disturbed by the development. Bring more noise and light pollution to the valley -The RLF would also require sidings and floodlights, with six coal trains expected to go in and out of the site, six days a week. Friends of the Earth North West said “A Rail Loading Facility would have a terrible impact on the peace and beauty of the Pow Beck Valley and the area’s significant tourism potential. West Cumbria deserves so much better than this huge blot on the landscape. The government must insist on leaving coal in the ground, and help put Cumbria at the forefront of building a cleaner future by investing in the area’s huge green industry potential, and the new jobs this would bring.”The Woodland Trust is concerned about the impacts to ancient woodland and said “As the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity, we oppose the potential impact on the ancient woodland of Bellhouse Wood that could arise from the construction of a Rail Loading Facility in the Pow Beck Valley. Ancient woodland cover in England is only 2.8 per cent, so we resist any potential disturbance or loss to this incredibly important and irreplaceable habitat.” The National Trust also raised concerns. In a letter to Cumbria County Council when the planning application was first made, it said “The valley has a tranquil, intimate rural character, with sensitive visual receptors in the form of Coast to Coast walkers. The National Trust is concerned in regard to the impact of the proposed Rail Loading Facility, in light of the proposed infrastructure and increase in activity. Structures of the scale and nature of the proposed ‘Loading Building’ are not characteristic of this landscape.” West Cumbria Mining’s controversial application for a new coal mine, which is currently being examined at a public inquiry that started on September 7, includes plans to build a huge Rail Loading Facility in the Pow Beck Valley, which runs from St Bees to Whitehaven. The RLF would enable extracted coal to be transported from the mine.