A Bolton MP has told the prime minister it would be “legitimate” to bring back coal mining to meet the country’s energy needs.

Chris Green MP, who represents an area rich in mining heritage including the Horwich coal field, says that British coal is in fact cleaner than that mined in Germany or China and that bringing back the long dormant industry could boost jobs and help the UK meet its environmental commitments.

As such, Conservative MP Mr Green took the opportunity at Prime Minister’s Questions this week to ask Boris Johnson about the consequences of “holding back” the British coal industry.

Speaking afterward Mr Green said: “Basically, we in the UK can feel virtuous about low carbon emissions but those same people know that we’re suppressing manufacturing and we’ve lost a whole lot of working class jobs all over the place.”

He claims reviving the coal industry would not only create jobs in the mines themselves, but also further new opportunities by boosting manufacturing.

The Bolton News:

Pretoria Pit was one of the biggest coal mines in the area

Bolton was historically home to several coal pits since the nineteenth century and was a regional centre for the National Union of Mineworkers but went into heavy decline following the pit closure programmes of the 1980s and 90s.

But Mr Green believes that the return of mining could also be better for the environment than importing dirtier "lignite" coal from abroad and could help address the mounting energy crisis.

He said: “In principle, if you can have Germany with massive open cast mines, mining some of the dirtiest coal in the world then if we really understand what net-zero is all about, its clear British coal is a far cleaner alternative to what Germany is going.

He added: “In our transition to the Net Zero target in 2030, it is legitimate reopen coal mines.”

Mr Green says he has felt encouraged by Boris Johnson’s response to his question.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson said: “I think we can all be proud of the way we have reduced CO2 emissions in this country.

“But plainly it makes no sense to be importing coal, particularly for metallurgical purposes, when we have our own domestic resources.”