"Restoration is key": Scottish Government

MINE restoration will be the key item on the agenda of the third meeting of the Scottish Open Cast Mining Taskforce.
"Restoration is key": Scottish Government "Restoration is key": Scottish Government "Restoration is key": Scottish Government "Restoration is key": Scottish Government "Restoration is key": Scottish Government

Courtesy Scottish Coal.

Staff Reporter

The taskforce was formed following the April liquidation of Scottish Coal and has worked to rescue the flailing industry. Monday’s meeting, which will have restoration as its “main focus”, follows concerns from local communities that not enough money has been set aside for the restoration of Scottish Coal sites.

The meeting will be held in East Ayrshire, an area mined heavily by Scottish Coal, whose council has been vocal about the costs of restoration.

In May, the East Ayrshire council released a report that claimed taxpayers could be left with a bill for as much as £62 million for restoring opencast mines in the region.

Just over £27.6m is thought to be in place to pay for work estimated by liquidators KPMG to cost between £48m and £90m, the report stated.

KPMG has asked the Court of Session to rescind the responsibility of Scottish Coal to restore its open cast mines to their former condition.

The taskforce, chaired by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing, includes representatives of affected councils, the Coal Authority, trade unions, the Scottish government, environmental agency Sepa and the UK government.

Ahead of the meeting the Scottish Government said the taskforce “will discuss all possible responsible restoration of opencast coal sites.”

“Since the last meeting of the taskforce there has been some significant developments,” Ewing said.

“The Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR), who attended the last meeting of the taskforce faced strong criticism of their proposed increase of rail freight charges. Since the meeting the ORR took into account the impact of the charging regime on the future of the Scottish coal industry.”

“The Scottish Government is also working hard to support continued mining operations and the preservation of Scottish jobs, as well as ensuring the responsible restoration of sites.

“Today’s taskforce meeting will focus on the issue of restoration, and its importance for both the environment and for job creation,” he added.

Ewing said the taskforce has already made significant strides in saving jobs.

Of the 648 people made redundant by Scottish Coal, 300-500 new jobs will be replaced by those lost, he said.

"This positive news is down to the hard work of the taskforce, the co-operation from those affected and the engagement with councils, with workers and with coal operators," Ewing said.

Most read Archive



Most read Archive