Permission Granted For Cauldhall Moor Open Cast Mine
Midlothian Council’s planning committee gives permission for surface mining to commence on land to the east of Penicuik.
Hargreaves Services’ plans to mine ten million tonnes of coal from site over its ten year lifespan have been granted today (Tuesday) in a planning committee meeting at Midlothian House, Dalkeith.
The controversial plans, which will see the creation of 230 full time jobs, aim to create a surface mine on largely uninhabited land to the south of Rosewell beside the A6094. Throughout its predicted lifespan of ten years Hargreaves Services Plc will mine around ten million tonnes of coal from the area. When broken down, twenty thousand tonnes of coal will be extracted on a weekly basis, with around the clock operations between Mondays and Saturdays allowing this yield.
Hargreaves will also finish restoration works on the neighbouring Shewington Surface Mine after Scottish Coal entered administration leaving the restoration works only 85% complete.
Peter Gillant, Managing Director at Hargreaves Production said:
This is extremely positive news for the people of Midlothian and the Scottish coal industry, who will see genuine benefit from the hundreds of jobs that the Cauldhall Moor project will create.
This is a fantastic development and will make a considerable contribution to all our energy needs for the next ten years
However the development is highly controversial. Councillor Ian Baxter (Greens) took to social networking to express his discontent calling the move “climate change travesty”.
All in all just under three hundred letters of objection were received and a five hundred signature strong petition was lodged by the community group, Stop Cauldhall Opencast. Midlothian Council’s new leader, and the chair of the planning ommittee, Owen Thompson, has reassured objectors that the mine will be stringently monitored :
Having taken into account the extensive work done by officers, including a full consultation process and a pre-determination hearing, on analysing this proposal, we have fully considered this proposal and approved it. We are putting in strict conditions and have guarantees in place on the restoration of this land once mining has been completed. This will be a phased development, with each area mined and restored before the company moves onto the next area as the project progresses and that gives us some peace of mind over the future restoration of the site.
Economically the mine will benefit the country by £475m. A community fund will also be set up to give local community organisations £2.75m over the opencast’s lifespan.
[Image © Richard Webb (Placeholder Image)]