At Triodos Bank we recognise the key role that the financial system plays in shaping our planet. We only finance companies that make tangible, positive impact – and investment in fossil fuel projects does not fit in with our criteria.
We are on a mission to transform our economy and society so that it protects and promotes quality of life and human dignity for all, but we can’t change the system alone.
Our longstanding partnership with Friends of the Earth is an important part of this journey to make a positive change.
Isn’t coal mining fading out in the UK?
A new mine in Whitehaven was granted planning permission in December 2022. The amount of emissions from the fuel burned at this new sites goes completely against the UK’s commitment to minimise the rise of global temperatures.
The total lifetime emissions from extracting and burning the coal from the Whitehaven mine will exceed 220 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. That is equal to almost half (47%) of UK’s total CO2 equivalent emissions for the whole of 2020. Did you know that the amount of emissions when fuels are burned isn’t part of the decision process to grant planning permission for sites like these? That’s something we’re fighting to change. The outcome of one case due later this year could mean that change will apply to future fossil fuel projects.
The total lifetime emissions from extracting and burning the coal from the Whitehaven mine will exceed 220 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. That is equal to almost half (47%) of UK’s total CO2 equivalent emissions for the whole of 2020.
Did you know that the amount of emissions when these fuels are burned isn’t part of the decision process to grant planning permission for sites like these? That’s something we’re fighting to change. The outcome of one case due later this year could mean that change will apply to future fossil fuel projects.
How do you involve local communities with campaigns?
As a grassroots organisation, campaigning starts within local communities. We’ve got a history of success, from introducing doorstep recycling back in the 70s, to making the government rewrite its net zero strategy last year.
We’ve also been supporting Sarah Finch and the Weald Action Group for four years, fighting against the decision by Surrey County Council to expand oil drilling at Horse Hill. This June, we stood together in the Supreme Court, in a case that could have huge implications for future fossil fuel projects.
It’s the emissions from the oil that are at the heart of our legal argument. When planning permission was given, the only emissions that were considered were those that would be emitted at the site, as the oil was brought out of the ground. The huge emissions that are inevitable when the oil is used, as fuel for transport, weren’t included in the Environmental Impact Assessment.
If the court agrees with us that these emissions should be included in these assessments, that could affect future planning decisions for fossil fuel sites, including the permission given for the coal mine at Whitehaven at the end of last year.
We’re going to court in October to argue against the decision to open the UK’s first new coal mine in over 30 years in Whitehaven on the Cumbrian coast. Again, we’re arguing that all the emissions should have been considered. If we win the Horse Hill case, we’ll be able to take that decision into our legal argument against the Whitehaven mine.
How important is nature protection in your campaigns?
On the rocky coast of Northern Ireland, we’re supporting the communities around Larne Lough, who are saying no to seven huge caverns being dug under the loch to store gas.
Digging out the caverns would create a huge “dead zone” of super salty water that would kill all the marine life, just 450m offshore. This is an area that’s home to seals, porpoises, and dolphins splashing through the waves, whilst lobsters, crabs and starfish scuttle underneath. Eleven legally protected species live within 100m of the discharge point.
We’re going to the High Court in Belfast, and for the first time, the courts will be asked how developments like these relate to the Northern Ireland Climate Change Act 2022, a law we campaigned for.
Do you have any examples of campaigns you are particularly proud of?
Some of our campaigns are really quite historic. Our local action groups in Wales have been campaigning against the UK’s largest opencast coal mine, Ffos y Fran on the outskirts of Merthyr Tydfil, for over 20 years. In April 2023 the whole local community celebrated the end of the mine, when the local council voted unanimously against an application to extend mining until 2024.
Since that decision, the mine operators have continued mining without planning permission. We’re now asking the Welsh government to issue a stop notice, to silence the diggers and stop mining here for good.
How can we help?
Digging more fossil fuels out of the ground doesn’t make sense in the middle of a climate crisis.
We need to stop these planned projects from going ahead, and instead support renewable and sustainable forms of energy. You can help by signing our petition, asking the government to stop new fossil fuel projects.
Our successes come from the support of our network, people just like you.