Bottomless pits

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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