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17/09/13 00:01

Improving the coal industry

Ewing to consult on industry regulations.

Speaking in advance of the Scottish Parliament debate on the coal industry being held today, Tuesday 17 September, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing MSP, has announced that the Scottish Government is to consult on more effective regulation for the industry. Mr Ewing said that the move came as part of Scottish Government efforts to both save and create jobs in the industry but also to ensure appropriate restoration of coaled out mines.

Mr Ewing co-chairs the Scottish Open Cast Mining Taskforce, which brings together a wide range of stakeholders from across the sector and was set up earlier this year in the wake of the closure of Scottish Coal.

Commenting Mr Ewing said:

“The Scottish Open Cast Mining Taskforce have heard lots of evidence about what works well in the field of opencast restoration – and since last October a Restoration Bonds Working Group has been examining the finer details.

“It is clear that every site is different. Compliance monitoring, enforcement and financial assurance systems are all in place, but they need to be made to work more effectively – tailored to each site.

“That is why today I am announcing that the Scottish Government will shortly hold a consultation on more effective regulation. More effective regulation is the principal way of improving confidence in the sector and it will keep onside the insurers and banks that underwrite risks on opencast mining.

“Asking the right questions about policy and practice, about site surveys and restoration guarantees will pave a way forward so that future sites are run to the best of standards and progressively and appropriately restored.

“I believe there is a role too for the Scottish Futures Trust to advise on corporate health checks, and there may be a role for an independent compliance monitoring unit or a local authority shared service. Equally the Scottish Mines Restoration Trust has an important facilitation role to play in moving restoration plans forwards.

“I shall ensure that the consultation reaches out to all of those with an interest in the coalfield communities and the wider coal industry.”