Friends of the Earth Scotland today (24 April 2013) called on the Scottish Government to ensure that opencast mine sites abandoned by Scottish Coal did not create environmental problems because of a legal uncertainty over who is responsible.
Administrators KPMG have kept on a skeleton staff at Scottish Coal's nine active opencast sites, but it is not clear who will be responsible for preventing pollution for any sites that are not sold on.
Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:
"Contaminated water from these sites is a major threat to local watercourses, yet it is not clear who is going to be making sure the environment is protected. The last thing we need is for local authorities or SEPA to be lumbered with looking after pollution problems from abandoned mines.
"Public funds must not be used to deal with this pollution legacy. KPMG needs to prioritise on-going environmental maintenance at all Scottish Coal's sites, funded by the sell off of the company's assets. The Scottish Government needs to step in and sort this out because other mining and landfill operators are likely to go bust over the next few years.
"In the longer-term all of Scottish Coal's sites must be restored, as promised to local communities when planning permission was granted. We know that there is not enough money in the restoration pot, so again KPMG must prioritise the clean up of all these sites.
"Local authorities must be extra vigilant in setting conditions for restoring sites when planning permissions are given for mines, landfill sites and other development to ensure we do not end up in this mess again."
For media enquiries, please contact: Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland
t: 0131 243 2719
1. Previous release on the restoration bond issue:
2. Friends of the Earth Scotland is * Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation * An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland * Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups - covering every continent.