A request by Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie for the Auditor General to investigate the scandal of coal mine restoration failure has received a boost.

The Auditor General has confirmed that auditors have been asked to carry out enquiries with a view to establishing what went wrong.

Earlier this year a judge at the Court of Session ruled that liquidators for Scottish Coal could ignore environmental and planning obligations that were designed to limit pollution and restore land once a site was mined.

Local authorities such as East Ayrshire are facing shortfalls of tens of millions of pounds to make good on restoration promises.

The auditor general's intervention comes just days after planning permission was granted for a 10 million tonne open cast coal mine in Midlothian, in the face of local concerns and climate impacts.

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow and Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said:

"This is a welcome response by the Auditor General. The failure of open cast mine restoration is nothing short of a national scandal and I hope we see auditors getting to the bottom what went wrong and what a successful financial model might look like.

"We know that taxpayers and local communities are being left to pay big-time for the mess of a collapsing industry, and the last thing we should be doing in Scotland is giving green lights to more of the same. How we can trust any fresh promises that are made on environmental maintenance and restoration?"


Copies of the letter to the Auditor General and her response are available here.