It would seem that the only person with the power to stop the steady approach of Scottish Coal’s excavators, earth movers and dumper trucks from getting to Mainshill Wood in South Lanarkshire is David Alexander Cospatrick Douglas-Home, 15th Earl of Home, CVO, CBE, a Scottish peer and the only son of former Conservative Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home; AKA Lord Home.
Lord Home owns the land that Scottish Coal recently got planning permission to dig 1.7 million tonnes of coal from, a site called Mainshill Wood, loved by local residents, dog-walkers, nesting birds and other wildlife. The land has not been sold to Scottish Coal, but rather Lord Home has brokered a deal whereby Scottish Coal dig his patch for a hefty sum, as yet undisclosed. As a major land owner in the area, this is not the first dirty deal of its kind that Lord Home has had with the UK’s largest open cast mining group, and not the first time that he has come up against fierce local opposition for it.
The Real People
Understandably, local communities such as in Douglas and Uddingston are outraged that the wishes of the people who actually live there and have to put up with possibly the world’s worst neighbour have been completely disregarded, as shown by the over 700 objections submitted in response to the planning application. They have been failed yet again by the planning process (thanks South Lanarkshire Council), a profit-hungry, climate and community-destroying mining company and a wealthy local laird who has so many homes he need never return to his Douglas estate, or even see his mine for that matter.
This is an all too common story in South Lanarkshire where 4 other Scottish Coal-operated mines – Broken Cross, Poniel and Glentaggart, all within 5km of each other – tear up the land and cause respiratory diseases and rare forms of cancer amongst local residents.
So Lord Home, is it not time to put your esteemed foot down and stop the pain and suffering that you are set to inflict on yet another deprived Scottish community? Surely you’re wealthy enough to commit an altruistic act, an act of charity even (or is that a dirty word amongst the aristocracy?), and give this land back to the people who love it and the wildlife that lives in it? What about skipping the open cast mining and going straight to restoration, tree planting and improving access for the public?
What are your views on climate change Lord Home? Are you aware of the current rates of sea level rise, glacier and ice cap melt, thawing of the Arctic tundra, melting of the sea ice, habitat destruction, alarming rates of species extinction, increased cyclone and hurricane intensity, the island nations disappearing beneath the waves, the Inuit communities losing their hunting grounds, the Andean communities with no freshwater access, the dying Amazon Rainforest and the hundreds of thousands of people dying every year as a direct result of climate change?
And do you know that coal is the dirtiest of the fossil fuels, the largest contributor to human-induced CO2 increases, and that leading climate scientist James Hansen has stated that if we don’t stop a new generation of coal fired power stations and mines we will have no hope of avoiding dangerous climate change?
Have you any idea how much 1.7 million tonnes of coal mean in terms of CO2? 3.1 million tonnes of CO2 – that’s a carbon footprint to be ashamed of!
David Alexander Cospatrick Douglas-Home
So who is this person holding communities and the climate in a stranglehold? Well, he’s the son of the former Conservative Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home, he went to school at Eton and then Oxford University. He is a hereditary peer elected as a member of the House of Lords and sits as a Conservative, having served some time on the Conservative front bench. He is also the current President of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation. Shooting and conservation? Maybe it refers to the conservation of the British feudal system through shooting.
He is Chairman of the private bank Coutts & Co., which is the private banking arm of RBS, and he also serves as Chairman of the Grosvenor Group, a large property investment & developer and fund management company. Lord Home is also Chief of the Name and Arms of Home and heir general to the House of Douglas.
Lord Home is certainly wealthy and most definitely greedy, he’s educated but stupid for putting communities at risk, both in the Douglas Valley and world-wide and he’s a respected pillar of the community and yet destroyer of the communities health and environment.
I’d say that this man has a few bob to spare, and that his personal fortune won’t be hurt much by a change of heart and agreeing not to destroy Mainshill Wood. So how about you listen to ‘your people’ for once and tell Scottish Coal to “F orf”?