The announcement earlier this week by Hargreaves on its cessation of coaling highlights the Scottish Greens’ resolution that the fossil fuel industry cannot be relied upon to maintain or create jobs. On the same day as Hargreaves Services published their Interim Results for the six-month period to 30th November 2015 they also lodged an application with South Lanarkshire Council to extract up to four million tonnes of coal from a site at Glentaggart East, near Douglas, South Lanarkshire

The application is in effect a bid to renew an existing consent for the Glentaggart East opencast mine, which was granted on 18th February 2013 and expired on 18th February 2016.  No development was commenced under that consent so it would have lapsed on 18th February had Hargreaves not put in the application to “vary” it.

Scottish Greens’ Infrastructure and Investment spokesperson Sarah Beattie-Smith said "This application is just a cynical exercise by Hargreaves to keep their balance sheet looking good. They have no intention of developing this site because they know they won't be able to sell the coal. But their actions force communities to spend time and effort ploughing through documents and submitting objections yet again."

"We need to get off the treadmill of mythical coal jobs. Coal is in terminal decline and we don't need any more mines. We should be employing people getting all the abandoned opencast sites properly restored, and developing clean energy."

With further contraction of the industry, there will be even less funds available for restoration so we need co-operative action NOW to commit funds to restoring sites. The Scottish Green Party calls on planning authorities to say no to operators' ongoing attempts to scale down restoration plans and urges the Scottish Government to engage with opencast communities to work towards securing jobs for future generations.  It is only through proper restoration that creation of sustainable clean, green jobs is possible.