This week saw the public launch of the new community group Stop The Open-cast Plans (STOP!) with two highly anticipated meetings bringing together local opposition to Scottish Coal’s plans for the Douglas and Nathan Valleys.
Over 5,000 leaflets were distributed throughout Douglasdale and Lesmahagow and despite poor weather conditions, both meetings brought significant numbers of people together to share experiences and ideas on how to resist these new open-cast mines.
Speakers at both meetings shared information on Scottish Coal’s “forward strategy” and the health impacts on local communities from opencast workings.
Outrage and anger were the main theme throughout both meetings. Residents next to existing open-casts told of the degradation of mental health due to relentless noise at all hours of the day and night. Others told of the deterioration of their respiratory health since moving to the area. Residents also noted the dangers posed by speeding coal lorries. All agreed that this has to stop!
“Scottish Coal do nothing but lie to you”, stated one resident. “Broken and unchecked dust monitors, coal trucks speeding down roads they should not be on and excessive noise throughout the night are simply normal practice here.”
“But they aren’t public enemy number one. That honor has to belong to the council!”.
Corruption and incompetance have long been a part of the intimate relationship between Scottish Coal and South Lanarkshire Council. The links are well publicised and residents have had enough.
These meetings have shown the intensity of opposition to the expansion of coal mining in South Lanarkshire and have been a promising beginning for a growing and energetic new group.
For more information on STOP, see here