Call for safety assessment of former opencast sites

Alex Rowley views the hole where the Fordell Day Level runs in
Alex Rowley views the hole where the Fordell Day Level runs in

Cowdenbeath MSP has formally written to Fife Council and requested that safety risk assessments be carried out on both the Muir Dean opencast site in Crossgates and the St Ninian’s site at Kelty stating that whilst restoration of both sites has been carried out it is not to the specification that was agreed at the time of planning approval being granted.

Alex Rowley said; “Both these sites were abandoned when ATH and Scottish Coal went into liquidation and the new operator has restored them as far as the insurance monies have allowed but it is clear that both have far greater volumes of open water than was proposed when in the case of Crossgates the Scottish Government overruled the council and gave planning permission and in the case of St Ninians planning was approved through the council.

“I am highlighting through a Parliamentary motion the dangers of water for children and adults and I hope to secure a debate on this in the coming weeks. The fact is that death by drowning is the third highest accidental cause of death in the UK and that, per head of population, there are twice as many accidental drownings in Scotland as in England. In Fife there is ongoing work by the Fife Water Safety initiative, which has brought together the fire and rescue and police services, the RNLI and the Royal Life Saving Society UK to educate young people about the importance of water safety and the dangers of abandoned water pools. I am applauding this work but I also think we need to do what we can to remove unnecessary dangers and I worry these open cast sites create more risk.

The Labour politician is also calling for a detailed breakdown of the financial arrangements of the sites, what was paid in insurance, what work was done and who will be responsible for future maintenance and security of those sites.


Photo shows Alex Rowley looking at the hole into which the Fordell Day Level flows and which will be full of water within months.

Post Author: Alex Rowley