As part of what they’re calling their “forward strategy”, Scottish Coal have begun the process of closing the circle of open cast mines around the communities of the Douglas Valley. This week saw the submission to pre-application of three new open cast proposals – a 4 million tonne mine at Townhead, Douglas, a 1 million tonne eastern extension to the existing extension at Broken Cross, and a new 420,000 tonne mine at Aulton Heights, Lesmahagow. That’s 5.4 million tonnes worth of new open cast.
Local residents are furious at these new applications. After the destruction fought against at Mainshill only a few months ago, these new applications are a slap in the face for the people living in the area. Residents have described
Here’s a summary of what the “forward strategy” involves:
A 4 million tonne mine, south of Townhead Wood near Douglas, that they are calling Glentaggart East. Even though it is entirely independant of the existing Glentaggart mine, they are branding it a “satellite extension” of Glentaggart.
The site will be 350 hectares and 4 million tonnes of coal and 0.5 million tonnes of fireclay will be extracted. The mining process will take a grand total of 10 years, 8 years mining and one year either side for start up and restoration. The site is less than a mile from Douglas and it will be operating 24 hours a day “due to its remoteness”.
Broken Cross North (East) Extension:
The proposed extension at Broken Cross is expected to involve the excavation of one million tonnes of coal, from an area of 131.3 hectares. Scottish Coal expects that to take a maximum of five years, with 12 for restoration.
At Auldton Heights, between Coalburn and Lesmahagow, Scottish Coal proposes to extract up to 420,000 tonnes of coal from a 100.5 hectares site. Most of the land is currently used for grazing and some for forestry but Scottish Coal is also looking at an additional 10.7 hectares which includes part of the Coalburn Moss Site of Special Scientific Interest. The site also includes Neuck Farmhouse and steadings.
There are homes along the eastern boundary of the site, but Scottish Coal states the majority of the site would be left unused, including part covered by Ancient Woodlands in the north.
Scottish Coal expects to extract an average of 4000 tonnes of coal each week over 24 months from Auldton Heights.
They are planning to apply for the mines in early 2011. Meanwhile they say they are going to be busy with a Public Consultation programme, where they will hold Drop-in exhibitions of their plans in village halls around the Valley, and will surely listen to and take into account all the concerns of the local community which they have been imposing them selves on for 25 years.