Fees for monitoring surface coal mines: consultation analysis

Summary of responses and Scottish Government response to the consultation on monitoring fees for surface coal mining.


1. After the collapse of Scottish Coal and ATH Resources in 2013, the report by the Opencast Coal Task Force revealed a number of issues that had arisen from an unsystematic approach to compliance monitoring by planning authorities, as well as historic practice by certain operators. Among the recommendations outlined in the report was one for a consultation on monitoring fees, that should take place in the future. The introduction of a monitoring fee would provide for the recovery of some of the costs associated with monitoring from operators by the planning authority.

2. The Consultation on monitoring fees for surface coal mining ran from January to April 2017 and all those with an interest were invited to comment. The main points discussed within the public consultation were:

  • Whether allowing planning authorities to start charging for monitoring visits was supported;
  • To confirm certain definitions associated within the surface coal mining industry to be used within the new Regulations and guidance, if the proposal was supported;
  • If a fee of £500 for each monitoring visit to an active site and £250 for an inactive site was appropriate;
  • To allow planning authorities some level of flexibility when gauging the number of site visits required each year;
  • To establish if operators should be responsible for paying the monitoring fee;
  • Whether the principle of monitor reports being issued within 10 days of the date of the site visit was appropriate.


Email: William Carlin

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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