The liquidation of Scottish Resources Group Ltd and ATH Resources Ltd in 2013 left a legacy of economic and environmental damage across central and southern Scotland. This was particularly evident in East Ayrshire where the industry was recognised as an important means of delivering economic benefit to rural communities with a long history of dependence on coal mining. The collapse of the industry highlighted a number of regulatory and environmental shortcomings which are well documented.
To augment the efforts of the Scottish Opencast Coal Task Force which was set up in response to these insolvencies, and in order to re-establish site integrity and facilitate material improvements to the site condition of the Muirkirk and North Lowther Uplands Special Protection Area, the Scottish Government led a working group of partner bodies comprised of East Ayrshire Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Mines Restoration Ltd and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to mitigate negative impacts on the SPA via an agreed package of measures. The report below represents a co-ordinated response to the environmental impacts affecting the SPA and has the support of each of the partners.