Invisible bond

AS CHAIRMAN of Greenbank Environmental Defence in 1995 I vigorously opposed the Scottish Coal Company attempting to obtain planning permission to exploit an 833-acre site, for opencast coal, since piously renamed St Ninians.

In the Greenbank Environmental Defence Submission to Planning Committee Dunfermline on page 22 I stated our case that “a substantial financial bond in the region of £3 million-£4 million should be sought for any given permission to extract coal at the depth and extent of the proposed application”.

There was no such protestation made then by any of the other “interested” parties, that is the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or Friends of the Earth, Scotland.

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At the liaison meetings from time to time we were unctuously assured that “a rolling bond” would safeguard the restoration of the site come what may.

Well, it has come to pass: a near 900-acre site of despoliation by successive Scottish Coal Company managements is now in chaotic limbo. Not only do we have a vast area of sometime pasture and wildlife retreat moonscaped for all to see from the M90 but we have, to crown the effort, a vast, quasi-Assyrian ziggurat which an American landscape “artist” has assured us represents an aspect of Scotland.

My question to the SNP government at Holyrood and its Scottish Mines Restoration Trust is, where has the “financial bond” rolled to?

Alastair Harper


Dunfermline, Fife