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02/01/14 15:52

Coal Levy should help pay restoration costs

Ewing makes plea to UK Government

Scotland’s Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has renewed his call for the UK Energy Minister, Michael Fallon, to ensure at least some of the coal levies raised from coal produced in Scotland be made available to restore opencast sites in Scotland.

This is the third plea from Mr Ewing to his UK counterpart. During a parliamentary debate on 17 September he raised the issue and he has also written to Mr Fallon twice on the issue – but has yet to receive any reply.

Commenting Mr Ewing said:

“As the chair of the Scottish Coal Taskforce a key priority to move forward with restoration of opencast coal mines is engagement and collaborative working. Collaboration with Scottish and UK government, agencies, local councils, community groups, coal operators, regulators and unions to work together and bring expertise to the table is vital to secure appropriate restoration.

“We share the same concerns of local communities around the responsible restoration of opencast coal sites and we are supportive of the work of the Scottish Mines Restoration Trust.

“However with a financial shortfall in restoration costs it makes sense that the money collected by the UK Government over the years from coal mined in Scotland be put to good use to help with the restoration of opencast sites.

“We understand the levy income collected from Scotland to date is within the region of £15 million. This money – or at the very least a proportion of it - should now be put to good use to help with the restoration of opencast sites."