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SURFACE SHOT FIRED - Gazette
13 February 2010
SURFACE SHOT FIRED
Protesters have grilled Scottish Coal bosses on proposals to extract a further 500,000 tonnes of coal from the existing Glentaggart Surface Mine in Glespin.
Prior to their recent eviction, campaigners camped out for eight months at Mainshill Wood in protest at Scottish Coal getting permission to mine 1.7 million tonnes of coal there.
The protesters were also furious at plans for a similar scheme in a neighbouring village.
Arid they made their voices heard at a recent meeting with Scottish Coal bosses.
Protester Anna Keith, one of six Mainshill Wood demonstrators to attend a six-hour pre-application consultation public event in Glespin Hall, said: "I'm furious at this proposal for Glentaggart.
"There were a few local people at the Glespin Hall meeting and they were all really angry at what is going on.
"Although there were sheets of paper for people to write their views on the proposed mining, the consultation was a total farce.
"The Scottish Coal people said that they would only take opinions into consideration if they were appropriate.
"So Scottish Coal will decide if they are appropriate or not !"
When Mainshill Wood protesters said to the manager that the consultation was a farce, he replied: 'If it is a farce then so be it'.
"Scottish Coal does not seem to have any consideration for the lives of local people who are going to be affected by any extension.
"We are standing in solidarity with the locals in the area who don't want this."
Anna also slammed the accuracy of information presented by Scottish Coal at Glespin Hall.
"It was ridiculous," she said. "Scottish Coal said that no water would be affected by the additional mining, yet there is a river running right through the middle of where it is going to extract.
"And the officials couldn't provide an answer when we asked how much carbon would be emitted because of the high volume of cars and trucks on the site.
"Scottish Coal said that these questions would be answered later but they never were.
"I would urge the planning committee to block this proposal. They should think about how this work could adversely affect the health of local people, plus its wider environmental impact."
A spokesman for Scottish Coal responded by saying: "The purpose of the pre-application consultation was to comply with planning requirements by making the public aware of this proposal.
"It was felt that the detailed questions raised were not relevant to the specifics of the extension or the general proposal for the mine.
"But we take the concerns of Mainshill demonstrators and local people very seriously and want further dialogue with them.
"There will be further opportunities for these people to present us with their opinions after the extension planning application is lodged."
Scottish Coal proposes to extract up to 500,000 tonnes of coal from Glentaggart within 30 months. Restoration of the site would take a further 12 months.
Five million tonnes of coal have been unearthed from Glentaggart Surface Mine since 2001.
The recent Glespin Hall meeting attracted some 20 visitors and eight written comments were received on the day.
By Craig Goldthorp
Carluke and Lanark Gazette 11/2/10