Yesterday marked the final submission date for Scottish Coal to appeal the decision by Midlothian council on the application for an open cast coal mine near Cousland and Ormiston. The unanimous rejection of the mine by councillors in September was in large part due to the massive local opposition to Scottish Coal’s plans.
Chairperson of Ormiston Community Council, Jim Blane stated that, “I believe the plans would have delivered nothing but aggravation, upheaval and irritation for local residents and I’m sure that the overwhelming majority of them will be delighted that the opencast mine will not be going ahead.”
Concerns about the health impacts of the coal mine on the respiratory health of local children, the noise and the large numbers of coal trucks were foremost in the concerns raised by Communities Against Airfield Open Cast (CAAOC). As such, the decision has been hailed as, “a victory for common sense”.
However, the refusal of Scottish coal to appeal the decision shows they have other mines in their sights at the present time. In South Lanarkshire, Scottish coal have applied for 3 new opencast mines in and around the Douglas and Nathan Valleys. If these mines go ahead then it will expose communities in the valleys to many more years of devastating particulate emissions and huge numbers of coal truck journeys. And given South Lanarkshire Council’s inherent sympathy for any application which Scottish coal submits (which may or may not be related to bribery) we cannot rest in the hope that Airfield was a victory for democracy. Democracy for some, means very little for those who have none. The struggle continues!