Many years ago when I was exploring old railways in Ayrshire and Lanarkshire I was appalled by the horrendous damage inflicted on the environment by opencast coal mining but I understood that licences were only issued if sufficient finances were locked away to insure that the mining areas were restored after the coal was removed.
I was reassured by seeing impressive restoration of opencast mining areas in Fife. I know that the local populations in Lanarkshire and Ayrshire have put up with much during the active opencast mining and I think we owe it to them to restore the blighted areas.
At the end of the day, the public authorities will have to foot the bill if sufficient finance has not been put aside to meet the cost of restoration.
If the authorities who issued the mining licences did not ensure that sufficient funds would be available to restore the environment in the event of the mining companies gong bankrupt then I think heads should roll. You do not need to be a financial wizard to know mining is a high-risk business
Hugh M Mackenzie