Significant oversights have been identified in South Lanarkshire Council’s initial planning documents relating to local mineral industries. Coal Action Scotland has carried out a critical examination of the Health Impact Assessment Report commissioned by planners at South Lanarkshire Council, revealing inadequate solutions for significant issues relating to the health and well being of residents in and around existing and proposed mineral industries. The numbers of effected residents are to be further exacerbated by the many new proposals for mineral workings covered by the Local Minerals Development Plan.
As part of its new “Local Minerals Development Plan” (LMDP), South Lanarkshire Council (SLC) carried out a series of community consultations in which local residents affected by mineral industries (including: coal, sand and gravel and peat extraction) raised grave concerns about existing mineral mines in the area. These concerns included: the health impacts on residents resulting from excessive noise and deteriorated air quality, dangers posed by speeding lorries, damage to road infrastructure and restoration of spent mines. SLC then commissioned a HIAR to provide recommendations as to how these issues may be addressed in the Local Minerals Development Plan.
Coal Action Scotland found the issues to be systematically ignored throughout the HIAR with superficial recommendations being made to problems which have dramatic and sustained impacts on the lives of South Lanarkshire residents. The document which can be viewed here, looks at the analysis provided by the HIAR and then comments upon the recommendations suggested. Particular cause for concern arises from the impacts of Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) traffic in the area, which is considered by the HIAR a “high risk factor” of minerals industries. Over half of the injuries caused by road accidents involving HGVs in South Lanarkshire, were in areas covered by the LMDP. There are also, significantly increased incidences of all types of road traffic accidents in the LMDP area. Speeding coal lorries have long since been an issue raised by residents of Douglas and Glespin with a number of significant accidents being caused recently. More info see here
Other issues raised in the consultation related to noise and dust monitoring which is carried out by the industries themselves and submitted to the council as raw data which is neither analyzed or actively published (raw data was requested for by Freedom of Information). There is mounting evidence that dust and noise from mineral works are having significant health impacts on the communities around them and yet the HIAR fails to properly address or even consider these issues appropriately.
To quote the Coal Action Scotland document
Such an assessment is simply to show that the council has noted concerns, produced a document and then will continue doing nothing to address the actual issues raised. The planning department is making a mockery of its own consultation process, ignoring the interests of communities they are supposed to represent and instead pandering to industries which have one simple goal; profit.
The question remains to be asked; at what price are council officials willing to sell the health, well being and environment of the area for? Private mineral companies sell their projects on local jobs in jobless times but the numerous negative factors imposed on the region cannot be allowed to continue unchecked as this minerals plan appears to suggest it will. Objections to the local minerals plan can be submitted to SLC directly or for further information please contact us via our email (contact[at]coalactionscotland.org.uk) or post on this article bellow.