Ministers have decided not to ‘call in’ the planning application for the site near Whitehaven.
Bike-riding Mr Johnson has styled himself as pro-environment prime minister and launched plans for what he claims will be a green industrial revolution, although they have been criticised by campaign groups.
Environmental campaigners said the decision by Communities secretary Robert Jenrick not to call-in the West Cumbria Mining development was disastrous.
Greenpeace UK’s policy director, Doug Parr, said: “We are in a climate emergency and in no way, shape, or form should this or any new coal mine be granted planning permission.
“Of course, job creation is absolutely vital to communities but we must look forward to the jobs of 21st century, not back to those in declining industries. Robert Jenrick needs to immediately reverse his decision not to call this in and then can the project completely.”
Friends of the Earth coal campaigner Tony Bosworth said: “Mr Jenrick’s refusal to ‘call in’ this unnecessary and climate-wrecking coal mine shows jaw-dropping inconsistency…last month the government said it would no longer support fossil fuel projects overseas.
“Allowing coal to be extracted from this proposed mine for over a quarter of a century completely undermines the government’s credibility on the climate crisis – especially ahead of the crucial UN summit later this year, which the UK is hosting.
“Global leadership on the climate emergency means leaving coal in the ground, where it belongs.”
Local MP and former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “This decision is a complete disaster for our children’s future – an almighty backwards step in the fight against climate change.
“It’s utter and rank hypocrisy for this Conservative Government to claim one minute that they care about protecting our environment, and in the next give the green light to a deep coal mine.”
Ministers said they believed planning decision were best taken by local communities except in very exceptional circumstances.
It is understood the final decision now lies with Cumbria County Council.