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England which built an empire out of coal, to stop burning coal by 2025

Coal News - Published on Wed, 20 Jun 2018

Image Source: PRI
PRI reported that the first successful steam engine was invented to pump water out of British coal mines. Coal powered the railroads and ships that built Britain’s empire. It helped the country survive two world wars, and at its height between those wars, coal mines employed 1.2 million people. So this winter, when the United Kingdom announced its plan to stop burning coal for electricity by 2025, the shift was seismic.

The announcement signaled the dethroning of King Coal in a country where it had reigned for more than a century, and where just six years prior it provided more than 40% of the nation’s energy.

The historic shifts were felt nowhere more acutely than in Yorkshire, the country’s largest coal region and a part of northern England where farms and villages sit on top of vast coal reserves. It’s been called England’s Texas, but without the sun and guns. For generations, entire communities there were built around the coal pits. Mines had their own social clubs and brass bands. Coal companies sponsored bus trips to the seaside and swimming nights at local pools for mining families.

As a third-generation miner, it was a way of life Shaun McLoughlin knew well. Mr McLoughlin, 57, who grew up in public housing in Castleford said that “Where I lived in particular, when people went to the local schools, it was sort of taken that unless they went on to university, they would just move into coal mining,” a small West Yorkshire village that was surrounded by mines. The son and grandson of miners, he followed in their footsteps at age 16.

Mr McLoughlin started in the industry in the 1970s, at a time when its future looked brighter than it had in years.

The UK had hit peak coal production back in 1913. By the 1920s, jobs started declining as mechanization, decreasing demand and competition from other fuel sources started to impact the industry. The decline in mining jobs continued for decades.

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Posted By : Amom Remju on Wed, 20 Jun 2018
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