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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.


6 Responses to “Scottish Wildlife Trust count sheep as Scottish Coal restore site by draining 170ha loch”

  1. 1 Factual

    No doubt this will be removed as you don’t appear to like people pointing out inaccuracies in your posts.


    SWT are not a ‘statutory consultee’ on planning applications
    SWT are not responsible for enforcing environmental law – that’s SEPA, the Forestry Commission or ultimately the police.
    SWT are not responsible for enforcing planning law – that’s the planning authority.

  2. 2 Factual

    The restoration site is a different site to the current planning application for the ‘extension’.

    Don’t let that stop you though…

  3. 3 admin

    Thanks for your comments –

    Yes, the restoration site is different from the extension, but it is the same mine, same company and the two sites are in fact next to each other.

    SWT are a statutory consultee for most open cast applications.

    SWT’s role is to “Protect Scotland’s wildlife for the future”. Surely part of that should be stopping coal mining companies from destroying wildlife, and not allowing them to get away with greenwash that tries to convince people they’re protecting it?

  4. 4 Factual

    Fair play for replying.

    So you’d agree that the original article is in fact misleading when it says the restoration will involve in a 3.4 million extension?

    Would you also accept that SWT’s involvement in the restoration of the existing site says nothing about their views on the extension?

    And tell me, given that the existing site has been mined and is now in the restoration phase, what do you think the best option would be – have Scottish Coal restore it on their own, no doubt to lovely improved agricultural land bereft of interest or get an organisation like SWT involved to hopefully get some nature conservation benefits built in?

    Also check the EIA Regs and tell me where it says SWT are statutory consultees. I think you’ll find they don’t.

    I’m not a member/employee of SWT or Scottish Coal by the way. I just think that you deliberately post misleading information to suit your own agenda and that does nothing to help the communities you’re apparently so despate to help.

  5. 5 james shankland

    There is land in new cumnock that scottish coal will not use anymore so why cant scottish coal let off road bikers on the land as they are ready and willing to sign a disclaimer,why is this?

  6. 6 Tom Minogue

    How can I speak to someone on the phone about the St Ninian’s artwork scam?

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