Cowdenbeath MSP Alex Rowley has stepped up his campaign for further investment into the restoration of opencast sites and has written to the Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell MP urging him to intervene and support the case for more resources to pay for restoration.
Mr Rowley visited the Muir Dean site near Crossgates to see for himself the progress that is being made and said he was pleased with the ongoing restoration of this site where a further 35 hectares of land has been restored and grassed.
Speaking to the Times he said; “The level and standard of restoration at this site is good and has to date been paid for from the ongoing coaling. This means the majority of the bond monies some £6 million is still in place to help fund the rest of the restoration to an acceptable standard.
The MSP and deputy leader of Scottish Labour said coaling at the site is on schedule to be completed by July 2016 with the full restoration completed by September 2017. However he said it is a ‘fact’ that the restoration will not reach the ‘standard and level agreed’ when the Scottish Government over ruled the planning refusal of Fife Council and gave permission for the opencast site to go ahead.
Mr Rowley said; “I am keen to explore how the machine made mound/hill can be lowered further than is being currently proposed and I have written to Fife Council to explore this further with them and the company. It basically comes down to cost and that is why I have also asked the Secretary of State for Scotland to intervene and support a Carbon Tax exemption from the coal coming out the site so that those monies can be reinvested into the restoration of the site.
He continued; “There are so many questions about why and how those companies that went into receivership abandoning these sites were able to do what they did and I will continue to pursue this through Parliament but I am also very focussed on trying to get the very best restoration of these sites given the circumstances. Hargreaves Mining is doing a good job and this is very evident at the Muir Dean site where there is good progress and a real commitment to work with all concerned to achieve a good restoration of the area”.
Picture Shows Alex Rowley viewing the site