Opencast mine not going ahead

Monday October 24th 2016

Campaign group Stop Cauldhall Opencast has today welcomed the news that coal company Hargreaves has withdrawn its application for a ten million tonne opencast mine at Cauldhall Moor near Rosewell.

But they have called on Midlothian Council to change the way they deal with planning applications for large polluting developments.

Campaign spokesperson Malcolm Spaven said: “This is great news for local people whose lives would have been devastated by this massive dirty development. Now they can re-focus on using the land sustainably and planning for the future.”

But Spaven criticised the way the Council handled the application. Mr Spaven said “If councillors who voted for it back in 2013 had listened to sensible argument instead of believing the spin from the developer and council officials, we would not have had this blight hanging over people for three years.

“The blight was needlessly lengthened by the Council, who refused to apply Scottish Government guidance that says applications where the legal agreement has not been signed within six months should be withdrawn or refused.

“And both Hargreaves and the two landowners should also think hard about their conduct. All three have known for more than a year that this mine was not going ahead, but they chose not to inform the Council or the public.”

Midlothian Green councillor Ian Baxter has consistently opposed the Cauldhall opencast plan, voting against the application when it was decided in November 2013.

He said, “This is great news for Midlothian, hopefully putting an end to the uncertainty surrounding this project. Since it became clear that the operators were losing interest in developing the site, I have been calling for the application to be withdrawn or cancelled by the council. We cannot develop Midlothian as an attractive place to live or visit while planning to build an enormous, dirty blight on the landscape, visible from much of the county”.

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