Colin Ortlepp (Scottish Coal Planning Director) and the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) swapped hand shakes and smiles today as they welcomed a flock of sheep onto the Fife Earth Project, part of the restoration of the St Ninians open cast site in Fife. The restoration plan is possibly the biggest cover-up Scottish Coal has so far unveiled, involving not only a giant art project, but also a 3.4 million extension to the already 10-year-old site that will involve draining nearby 170ha Loch Fitty. SWT, it appears, can’t see the wood for the trees.
True to form for Scotland’s so-called environmental bodies, SWT are helping to polish Scottish Coal’s image by indulging them in their ridiculous Fife Earth project, and completely letting them get away with the environmental travesty that will be the extension to this mine.
In reference to these sheep which will help create new habitats, etc, etc, Alistair Whyte, Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Reserves Manager said: “We are very pleased to be involved in the restoration of the open-cast site at Kelty. When completed, this is going to be a spectacular place for visitors and wildlife, and it’s great to be able to play a part in the process.”
Given that the site isn’t being restored but instead massively extended, involving the destruction of a beautiful loch and hundreds more hectares of countryside, and at least 10 more years of negative impacts on communities such as Kingseat, what on earth is Alistair Whyte talking about? PR stunts and slimy handshakes are all it takes to win over Scotland’s “statutory consultees” it appears, the people who are supposed to ensure environmental and planning law is adhered to. Instead, these groups are merely apologists for big business and people like Colin Ortlepp.
Using dirty tactics also seen in Midlothian with the Airfield Farm application (resoundingly defeated by CAAOC), letters of support flooded in from Scottish Coal employees after many letters of objection were submitted to the plans by community members. Scottish Coal are once again dangling the carrot of jobs in front of Fife Council, which anyone living in an open cast area knows is rubbish. The stick, of course, is the fact that last time Fife Council listened to the community and rejected an open cast application, the government overturned the decision and ATH Resources sued them for £250,000.
There’s also been token support from the National Union of Mineworkers, who once again forget their class and community struggle credentials for the myths of “clean” open cast coal.
You can object to the St Ninians extension on the Fife Council website here, application reference 10/03505/EIA.
Link to Fife Today article here.privacy