City of Chester

2015 Result:
Conservative: 22025 (43.1%)
Labour: 22118 (43.2%)
Lib Dem: 2870 (5.6%)
UKIP: 4148 (8.1%)
MAJORITY: 93 (0.2%)

Category: Ultra-marginal Labour seat

Geography: North West, Cheshire. Part of the Cheshire West and Chester council area.

Main population centres: Chester, Ledsham,Aldford, Eccleston.

Profile: Covers Chester itself and surrounding villages, running up to the border with Wales. Chester is a historic walled market town, which became an upmarket residential town for the upper classes fleeing the industrial sprawl of Manchester and Liverpool during the industrial revolution and, and like much of Cheshire, it remains a relatively affluent area. However, Labour support in housing estates like Blacon and Lache make Chester into a marginal seat..

Politics: Conservative for most of the twentieth century, Chester fell to Labour in the 1997 landslide, unseating the television celebrity Gyles Brandreth. It was briefly won by the Conservatives in 2010, but regained by Labour in 2015.

Current MP
CHRIS MATHESON (Labour) Educated at LSE. Former trade union officer. First elected as MP for Chester, City of in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 18995 (41%)
Lab: 16412 (35%)
LDem: 8930 (19%)
UKIP: 1225 (3%)
Oth: 1228 (3%)
MAJ: 2583 (6%)
Con: 16543 (37%)
Lab: 17458 (39%)
LDem: 9818 (22%)
UKIP: 776 (2%)
Oth: 308 (1%)
MAJ: 915 (2%)
Con: 14866 (33%)
Lab: 21760 (48%)
LDem: 6589 (15%)
UKIP: 899 (2%)
Oth: 763 (2%)
MAJ: 6894 (15%)
Con: 19253 (34%)
Lab: 29806 (53%)
LDem: 5353 (10%)
Oth: 358 (1%)
MAJ: 10553 (19%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
STEPHEN MOSLEY (Conservative) Born 1972, Solihull. Educated at King Edwards School and Nottingham University. IT consultant. Chester City councillor 2000-2009, Cheshire county councillor 2005-2009. MP for City of Chester 2010 to 2015.
CHRIS MATHESON (Labour) Educated at LSE. Trade union officer.
BOB THOMPSON (Liberal Democrat) Born 1956, Chester. Educated at Nottingham University. Retired HR director. Chester councillor 2002-2009, Cheshire West and Chester councillor since 2008. Contested Eddisbury 2010.
Comments - 285 Responses on “Chester, City of”
  1. Yes Chester seems like a sort of seat where Corbyn wouldn’t be terminal. Bits of it are indeed “trendy and cosmopolitan”. Nevertheless the Tories are surely the favourites here, solely from the seat’s marginality. Also much depends on whether the Greens stand a candidate next time round.

  2. Christian/Tristan
    In answer to both your questions I don’t think Corbyn has any special appeal here yet Chester isn’t as much of an oldy world traditional market town as one might think, every time I visit it resembles the likes of Warrington or Oxford more so than it does somewhere like nearby Nantwich.

    The main shopping streets are very windy and quaint true but go a little beyond them and the city centre is made up of either pretty dilapidated terraces or extremely modern apartments clearly aimed at young professionals. Throw in the pretty staggering increase in students in the area, the numerous council estates and the strong middle class public sector that gives Lab a base in even the most affluent Chester suburbs and its really not hard to describe the seat as “metropolitan” indeed judging by the results in Chester West I’d hazard a guess this seat voted pretty comfortably to Remain in the EU for one.

    I reiterate people look at Chester’s main shopping street and see a quaint market town not the small city it actually is.

  3. Put it this way, as odd as it sounds Chester doesn’t really feel like part of Cheshire, rather it seems to kinda do its own thing.

  4. I know that Labour won the police crime commissioner seat in chesire off the Tories last may but not knowing the area I can’t explain the ins and outs of why that was

  5. Matt- it was partly because turnout was boosted in Labour areas by the fact that Halton and Warrington had council elections on the same day whereas CWAC and Cheshire East did not.

  6. Tory gain 5000 majority

  7. Blacon Ward By-election:

    Labour: 59.1%
    Cons: 21.8% (+4.0)
    Ind: 16.5% (+16.5)
    Lib Dem: 2.7% (+2.7)

    Labour hold

  8. Chester Cons have selected local Will Gallagher as the PPC here.

    I’m told by a colleague that they dodged a bullet as Cllr Pamela Hall made it to the shortlist (she is by all accounts of the blonde airhead variety I mentioned on another thread).

  9. Gallagher is not really local, yes he was born in and went to school in Chester but he has been parachuted in and lives in London, and if he loses he will no doubt be going back.

    Chester has a very popular Labour MP in Chris Matheson, it’s a university city sure to support the scrapping of tuition fees in large numbers, and voted Remain and may be more inclined to Labour’s soft Brexit. It has large numbers public sector workers, particularly in the NHS.

    The city and its environs are threatened by fracking; locals know that the local Labour council and MP can do little to prevent it while there is a Tory government, evidenced by Lancashire planning rejection being overturned. Labour will ban it, and that appeals strongly in the Tory inclined wards affected.

    Only three candidates,Greens and Ukip not standing. The Tories are banking on the Ukip vote, but they should be a little worried, as that vote came largely from strongly Labour voting wards.

    Odds must favour a small Tory majority, but it will a lot closer than many think, in a city that has been gradually moving left for decades.

  10. Despite all that’s been mentioned above I still think Lab will lose this, the seat is just too marginal to withstand the tide. that being said I don’t rule out a pretty miserable swing to the Tories here like what Mosley managed in 2010.

  11. Cestrian – Chester a ‘university city’ – really?

    IIRC it has Chester College which I think award its degrees from the University of Liverpool. Although I realise it’s expanded a bit like Liverpool Hope Uni College so it may now be classed as one of the very new unis? But I’ve never heard Chester being referred to as a university city by anyone and Chester certainly doesn’t have the LD/Green connotations that that phrase usually means eg Bristol, Sheffield etc.

    There’s the College of Law in the seat though.

    As for ‘trending Left for decades’ and your assumption that all locals oppose fracking – both are plain wrong and merely opinion. It’ll be close here but I can’t see anything other than a Tory gain.

    As for ‘parachuting in’ – surely that only applies to non-locals. That phrase is now used so often to even refer to people who moved away for a job for 5 years, even if they lived in the seat for 90% of their lives!

  12. Lancs
    Re Chester being a university city its a bit of s stretch to call it that at present but its heading that way. The University of Chester is expanding rapidly, indeed every time I visit it seems like another dozen blocs of student accommodation have been built.

    The seat has an above average student population its just that its mostly concentrated in the Garden Quarter ward which is 48% populated by students and indeed the Greens came a close second there in the 2015 locals managing 34.5% of the vote.

  13. Lancs observer

    I live here! Your research is poor .

    See my post(posted twice in error) at the top explaining why Labour failed to win in 66 and what has changed that caused that, RE: Chester is a ex military city. The change began in 1973 with the closure of Western Command. Military presence always swings a seat to the right. it HAS been gradually moving left FACT. Check election results!

    No assertion needed, local polling has been extensive (published in all local papers) in the affected areas and show consistent 80+% opposition to fracking -EXAMPLE In fact it was cited by many as the decisive factor when Labour won the seat against the national trend in 2015. Last time it went against the national winner was in 1974-twice.

    And yes it is a university City, the University of Chester has been rapidly expanding, not without controversy over student accommodation springing up across the city. It is a full university in its own right, given full university status in 2005, it now has campuses spread throughout the city.

    Local means living in or near the constituency or more tenuously having only recently moved away for work.

    Tories opinion poll lead is narrowing and will narrow further, though probably not enough to lose their majority, So while the Tories will be favourites , local factors will make this seat very close.

  14. Cestrian – just for you I have checked the results.

    In fact you are wrong in each of the following: 1979, 1983, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2010 – when Chester swung in line with the national and regional trend.

    The only arguable result you could cite is 2015 (although it simply meant that 93 more 2010 LD votes went Labour than Tory) and I fully expect Chester to return to the Tory column again next month.

    As for Chester Uni – you’re almost correct. Again I checked and the regulators allowed Chester to award it’s own undergraduate degrees after 2005 (so in reality 2007) and post graduate degrees after 2007. I see ex-MP Mr Brandreth represents Chester Uni.

    As for your other claim, “Tories (sic) opinion poll lead is narrowing and will narrow further, though probably not enough to lose their majority” – that really is cloud cuckoo land! Not even Corbynistas on here claim that.

    Ah I see – so you think someone who recently moved to the seat is more of a “local” than someone who lived in a seat for 90% of their lives. I thought so – I was just checking. This is sadly the oft mis-use of the term “parachuting” that I’ve heard wrongly used by losing candidates in recent days in 9 seats including Liverpool Walton.

    As for fracking: I’d be dubious of any poll showing over 80% for almost anything. The only independent polls of which I am aware on the issue throughout the North West show 44 – 58% opposed to fracking so it’s rather more mixed than the often non-local protesters claim. Indeed, all 18 of those recently arrested in Lancs lived 20 miles away from the site!

  15. Lancs observer

    Chester University was granted its status in 2005. The date of the first graduates is irrelavent as is the name/politics of the University Chancellor.

    My claim about a gradual long term move to the left is born out by even casual analysis. A seat that Labour could not win in 1966 or 1945 for that matter goes Labour against the national trend in 2015, was won three times by Labour 97, 01. 05. How would you account for that? The major explanatory factor is the decline in the military effect particularly since 1973. The university being a secondary factor. Both are probably now almost played out, leaving a genuine marginal in what was until at least the late 1980s a safe Tory seat.

    Do some research! Chester Chronicle/Chester Standard, have over the last couple of years conducted may local polls and ALL overwhelmingly oppose fracking, not surprising really as no sane person would want fracking near their place of residence. And the polls were not taken of views of protesters, just residents. The opinions of unaffected areas are a different and unrelated matter.

    You clearly have an agenda to push on here, I have strong political views but I will not express any on here, I am attempting analysis not electioneering.

    Yes I was expressing an opinion on the polls, based on the popularity of Labour’s leaked policy agenda, and I also acknowldge the unpopularity of Corbyn as a potential PM due to percieved lack of leadership capabilities , The two are in conflict, but a policy ‘bounce’ is not an unreasonable expectation. I still expect the Tories to win a majority, and Labour to wiped out in Scotland., and have stated that the odds are on a narrow Tory win in Chester, nothing very radical or beyond the reals of reason there. So you may call my opinion cloud cookoo land , if so it equals your ‘analysis’

    I do accept that my use of the term parachute was wrong, an exaggeration with pejorative connotations ,but the fact remains he is not a local resident.

    Plopwellian Tory – Proper University?! That is pure snobbery, and I’m a graduate of Liverpool University!

  16. Cestrian – don’t worry about disclosing your own views, most people on here are aware of roughly where most other people are on the political spectrum. Feel free to declare your hand – it actually contextualises people’s comments and, for me at least, improves the quality of discussion.

    So long as we don’t get sidetracked into partisan stuff which goes nowhere. There’s the rest of the internet for that.

    As for your comments on “popular stuff in the Labour manifesto” – anecdotally I too have seen people observing “well this is better than I was expecting”, but I’m also aware that Guardian comment sections are not a representative cross-section of the public, and we shouldn’t pre-empt a poll movement that may or may not happen. There’s also the issue that we don’t know what’s going to be in the Conservative manifesto – just as Labour’s offering wasn’t quite the repeat of 1983 many were prophesying (though ham-fisted comparisons were made regardless), I don’t think the Tories will have as right-wing a manifesto as some pundits would have you believe.


    Sorry P I wont, but you may make a guess at my alleigence from what is below, I am not a member of any party.

    The poll swing I was reffering to was actually a bounce back from the pro Tory swing prior to the local elections after May’s jinogoistic peice of megaphone diplomacy outside No10. Both that and the positive policy polls can be viewed on Britain Elects Twitter Guessing election outcomes is a mugs game!

    The Labour manifesto is to the right of Harold Wilson’s in the 70s, but it is just left enough to qualify as a traditional Labour manifesto, a radical switch away from the ‘Third Way’ of New ‘Neoliberal’ Labour, Thatcher’s ‘greatest political achievment’ . The melding of neo classical economics with social democratic values was a delusion/con trick that gave us two right wing major parties by definition. The policy assault on rentiers (housing and energy oligopolies) is more Adam Smith than Socialist, still a move in the direction of more realist classical economic models should be welcomed.

    The Tories may throw in the odd surprise in their manifesto, but hard Brexit, a refusal to admit that the revisionist experiment with a returrn to the normative models of neo classical economics after 1979 has failed, Neocon foreign policy agenda, and an odd peice of barbarity like the free vote on fox hunting, suggests to me the most right wing agenda of any mainstream political party in Britain in the modern age.

    In my view the clear distinction between the two sides is a good thing, a real choice of the kind of society you want to live in..

    Neither leader is a convincing orator, neither is good at thinking on their feet in debate, Though May’s social awkwardness could lose her a number undecided votes. It would be a very good thing if people forget media induced prejudice, ignored personalities, and voted purely on policy, In short a return to the politics of ideology.

    All of us should ask ourselves, would I prefer the Uk to be closer to the economic/social polity we find, for example, in the USA or that found in Norway? I guess that really could be labelled la la land, given the unfortuate grip that identity politics currently has on our politics.

  18. And yes, I said just an hour ago:

    “So long as we don’t get sidetracked into partisan stuff which goes nowhere. There’s the rest of the internet for that.”

    Take your campaign pitch elsewhere, please. Apart from that, you’re very welcome on these forums 🙂

  19. Cestrian: “you clearly have an agenda to push on here”

    Says the person who claimed, “Tories opinion poll lead..will narrow further but probably not enough to their majority”


    PT is right. If Chester’s first graduates only came into existence in 2007 and post grads in 2009, it is by definition neither a red brick nor even a new university (such as former Polys eg Lpool John Moores).

    It will therefore not be regarded as the rest for a great deal of time, if ever. It’s not a valued judgement – it is merely a fact that if you want to study medicine, veterinary science, dentistry, architecture and so on you will have to attend Lpool Uni.

    Re fracking: you are plain wrong. As I said the only independent polls in the North West show 44 – 58% opposed to fracking, not 80%+. Unless you mean they asked 10 people and 8 opposed it next to a site. Of course many ‘sane people’ in Lancashire support fracking. They will each receive large cash sums as locals affected.

  20. “All of us should ask ourselves, would I prefer the Uk to be closer to the economic/social polity we find, for example, in the USA or that found in Norway?”

    I’ve lived in both the USA and Norway and have to say I far preferred the US, as I’m guessing would a majority of the British public if they got to experience both.

    Norway = sky high prices for everything (£10 a pint), appalling customer service, chromic lack of choice in almost everything, very high taxes, supermarkets that look like museums from the Soviet Union, nanny state to a degree that very few Brits would find comfortable.

  21. I agree however that it is indeed a clear choice on policy facing the Country.

    I simply disagree – as does all polling evidence – that the public support your stance and Corbyn’s.

    As for social awkwardness: that surely applies to Corbyn more than any leader of any UK Party over the past 40 years.

    But then I see you wrote the word, ‘neocon’ and I can therefore probably guess the rest of your views. You’re not an anti-fracking protester by any chance are you?

  22. Hemmy, Lancs – it’s not worth getting into an argument. Really.

  23. When he was elected Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn made a big statement pledging to re-open closed coalmines.

    Well, fracking is basically coal mining (in the form of a gas) without having to send anyone underground to fetch it. Many of the most promising areas for fracking will be former coal mining areas which will welcome the jobs.

    Though it may undoubtedly be quite challenging to live over a fracking site, it will be far less damaging and dangerous than living next to a coal mine.

    If he really is going heavily against fracking I’m surprised no-one has pulled him up on the inconsistency.


    Well you have got an idea of my political compass now! And it was nowhere evident in my previous posts which were a mix of evidence and reasonable expectation. My discussion of polls was evidence based.

    I am certainly not campaigning! I began posting on here last year when no GE was expected til 2020.

    But in discusing manifestos I could not resist revealing a few opinions. That I admire the classical economists which by definition means to oppose the neo classical, and a wish for a clear, ideological political ‘vision thing’ choice at General Elections.

    So I do not like, blood sports, identity politics, hard Brexit, or ‘new’ Labour. Well a wide range of people in a number of political parties dislike the contents of that list!

    Thanks but no thanks, I wont be posting here again

  25. I grew up on Wirral and know Chester reasonably well, so it was interesting reading about the demographic changes which could affect voting patterns in this seat. While I don’t start from the same political position as Cestrian, broadly agree with their dislike list in the penultimate paragraph.

    There appears to be a tendency on this site currently to jump down on anyone who tries to suggest that there may be reasons why a particular seat may buck the trend of a Conservative landslide suggested by the polls. Suggestions that Tories may topple Labour in very safe seats don’t seem to attract similar derision. Most, including Cestrian are expecting this seat to fall to the Conservatives, but the swing here may be significantly less than the national one.

  26. I live here and this will not go Tory.

    I personally think May has “scored too early”, huge leads in opinion polls have made people think about the likelihood of a huge Thatcher like majority – that doesn’t go down well to most working class people of which Chester has plenty.

    Lots of champagne socialists live in Chester as well as a significant working class. Chris Matheson is very well liked, much more than the waste of space Mosley that did nothing in his time here as the last MP.

    Some of the comments on Cestrian on here have been out of order.

  27. Dude, the majority is 0.2%. It’d be one hell of a buck if Labour hold on here!

  28. As a lurker and occasional poster I’m also a bit taken aback at the hostility to Cestrian on here, as their posts have been informative, with good local knowledge. This forum is as its best where there’s a range of views accommodated and someone with an outlook slightly different to the majority on here shouldn’t be made to feel unwelcome.

    This seat was one of Labour’s best results in 2015 and whilst its most likely to turn Blue this time round the swing will be lower than many other seats in my opinion and will remain a marginal.

  29. Plop
    “It’ll be hard for Chester Uni to grow with many more ‘proper’ universities like Liverpool and Manchester close by”

    Depends how they pitch themselves, here in Liverpool one of our “less reputable” universities Liverpool Hope has a pretty crap reputation locally with the joke saying amongst Liverpool University students that “Liverpool Hope is for those with no hope” yet despite the rep Liverpool Hope has grown significantly in recent years primarily on the back of a very good nationally recognised teacher training course.

    Indeed having attended Liverpool University I do think a lot of the old red brick “proper” universities are just coasting along on nothing more than reputation while many of the newer universities are offering genuinely practical degrees of much greater use to society.

  30. HH
    “I’ve lived in both the USA and Norway and have to say I far preferred the US”

    To be fair HH your speaking from the position of (by your admission) a successful business owner and top rate tax payer which is precisely the type of society the US caters for and the type of society Norway doesn’t. Your not really the target market if you will.

    I’d suggest one just look at the statistics and on most every measurable index (most notably the Human Development Index) Norway ranks amongst the highest in the world and above the US.

  31. Bill: yeah, I’ve been feeling a tad guilty about that. I don’t think it’s deliberate, it’s just that sometimes how a sentence plays in your own head and how it comes across to someone else reading it are two different things. That, to me, is why internet is such a magnet for toxicity – it’s not really the anonymity, it’s more the fact that communication is ninety percent non-verbal, and that the subtleties of tone of voice and body language get lost in plaintext. That’s also why emojis, and their forerunners emoticons, are so wildly popular – in a very real sense they convey meaning that pure words would do somewhat more clumsily.

  32. For my own part, I realise now that the way “take your campaign pitch elsewhere” sounds like a rather middle-class way of telling someone to eff off. That’s not how I meant it – what I meant was that I was really more interested in how the campaign was going up here, rather than what Cestrian’s personal politics were, because however committed the views are, he/she still only gets one vote. Invariably that distinction can easily get lost, especially in an online exchange between strangers. I wish Cestrian the very best.

    Can we please – please – draw a line under this now?

  33. PS Chester University is going to get a medical school, separate from Liverpool – may only be a clinical one to start with but it’s definitely on the rise.

  34. PT:

    Not sure the NHS would agree with you on that point

  35. I did a mickey mouse course but I’ve never claimed benefits in my life. Just more assumptions based on very little evidence

  36. Plop
    Re Mickey Mouse subjects aren’t you studying Politics? A Politics graduate from Oxford is less valuable to society (especially these days) than a qualified teacher from Liverpool Hope or an IT specialist from Leicester Polytechnic.

    And I don’t mean that in a snobbish way after all I studied politics too!!!

  37. Plop
    Also for the record the former energy secretary admitted fracking wouldn’t lower energy bills hence why Cuadrilla have had to bribe effected residents with the offer of lower energy bills, seems odd to offer it as an exclusive bribe when supposedly we’re all going to benefit?

    There is however a discussion to be had about the Green Belt regardless of how uncomfortable it makes many including myself.

  38. From the earlier main threads, this is number 1 on the Conservative target list surely?

    If this doesn’t go Blue, then Labour are going forward in seats not backwards. We are looking at PM Corbyn if this seat doesn’t go Conservative.

    There are over 4,000 UKIP voters who have to go somewhere, and no Green candidate last time for Labour to squeeze.

  39. “Also for the record the former energy secretary admitted fracking wouldn’t lower energy bills”

    It won’t.

    What it will do, if it takes off, is massively close up the trade deficit.

    Fracking is the easiest way for the government to deal with an unsustainable trade deficit without either having to rebuild a significant manufacturing sector nor stop people from importing all their stuff cheap from China.

  40. Incidentally upthread I didn’t claim ‘sane locals’ in Lancs supported fracking because it would lower the bills.

    I was merely pointing out that each affected local resident will receive large cash sum from the developer. IIRC this eg £10-30k payment for everyone within a mile or so may even make it into the Tory manifesto as May has suggested it previously as a way of compensating locals.

  41. Once the Emma Thompsons and assorted protestors have moved on, fracking will become a valued and welcome part of local economies just as the coal mines were a generation ago.

    Even here in Mid Sussex, where we have virtually 0% unemployment so less to gain than communities further north, work is quietly ticking along without much fuss. One of my next door neighbours is working as a geologist on one of the fracking prospects and he’s hardly being strung up by neighbours with pitchforks. Aside from a small vocal minority most protestors are professionals from outside, I imagine that’s true here as well.

  42. HH
    Just wait until the point you can set your tap water alight thanks to groundwater contamination which is very common in parts of the US effected by Fracking

  43. “HH
    Just wait until the point you can set your tap water alight thanks to groundwater contamination which is very common in parts of the US effected by Fracking”

    People from mining communities like myself are used to arguably worse side effects, notably the subsidence which routinely affected houses, on occasion causing British Coal to pay to move entire villages (google “Arkwright Town”, in Bolsover). Plus frankly appalling pollution and despoiling of the landscape, and the occasional awful disaster. Yet coal mining is lionised by the left and can do no wrong, to the extent that your party is in favour of restarting mass deep mining in the UK.

    Even if flammable tap water isn’t a ludicrous exaggeration, it is arguably no worse than a deep mine under your house causing it to subside. How come you’ve no problem with that?

  44. HH
    “Even if flammable tap water isn’t a ludicrous exaggeration, it is arguably no worse than a deep mine under your house causing it to subside. How come you’ve no problem with that?”

    I do have a problem with that, amongst the lefties I know (at least those of my generation) we don’t lionise coal we just think the communities were thrown on the scrapheap and left to rot. For purely environmental reasons the industry needed to be phased out.

    Most of us don’t want to restart coalmining and no its not Lab policy that’s just a populist gimmick Corbyn spoke about in his backbench days. Indeed the ever decreasing importance of coal for UK power needs is a constant source of celebration for the left and one of the very few things we’ll give the government credit for.

  45. As for the validity of the flammable water story…

    Coming to a kitchen near you courtesy of Cuadrilla.

  46. “For purely environmental reasons the industry needed to be phased out.”

    The coal industry (globally) can’t be phased out.

    Every tonne of steel (unless it is recycled) consumes a huge quantity of coking coal. Same with almost every other metal, including those most heavily used in renewables. Eg a tonne of silicon metal used in a solar panel requires 1.5 tonnes of coal.

    What you mean is, phase out the industry here and let China, India and Russia deal with the pollution….not sure that’s a very sustainable attitude long term. We’re going to have to generate more of our own energy here and take responsibility for the side effects.

  47. HH
    I by no means claim to be an authority on the metal industry but am I right in saying that coking coal is a necessary “ingredient” in most metal production as a source of Carbon? If so that’s a very different kettle of fish to using coal as an energy source where the Carbon is a waste product released into the atmosphere and thus contributing to climate change.

    Of course you can’t phase out the industry totally, but if my above query is correct then you can certainly phase it out as an energy source and thus most of the environmental damage with it.

  48. “I by no means claim to be an authority on the metal industry but am I right in saying that coking coal is a necessary “ingredient” in most metal production as a source of Carbon?”

    Carbon is required in any kind of smelting to separate metal from its oxide…eg iron from iron oxide (iron ore) to make steel. Almost all metals use coal or coke though a few use charcoal or petroleum coke (residue from oil refining).

    “that’s a very different kettle of fish to using coal as an energy source where the Carbon is a waste product released into the atmosphere and thus contributing to climate change.”

    In the above process, the carbon reacts with the oxygen in the ore so is emitted as carbon dioxide, hence steel plants etc contribute to climate change in the same way as a coal fired power station.

    “Of course you can’t phase out the industry totally, but if my above query is correct then you can certainly phase it out as an energy source and thus most of the environmental damage with it.”

    The challenge being that it wouldn’t be worthwhile for a mine to remain open if the power station market disappeared. Steel etc represents only 10% or so of coal demand. Fortunately for the coal producers there is zero chance of coal-fired energy disappearing in the developing world.

  49. HH
    Thank you for the explanation, given everything you’ve said I’d have thought/hoped that the industry might have been looking for a more sustainable alternative than coal?

    Regardless I agree its very unlikely that the coal industry will die in the developing world for the foreseeable future which is all the more reason why developed countries like ourselves need to phase out fossil fuels sooner rather than later lest the environmental ramifications wipe us all out. It might seem futile given what China/India are doing and that we have a climate change denier in the white house but still…

  50. ““Frack my garden anytime you like” – Edwina Currie”

    Is that what she said to John Major?

    Sorry couldn’t resist XD

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