3 Former Surface Coal Mines
This section provides an overview of how former surface coal mines have been treated in the Survey results for the period 2014 to 2017.
A number of opencast coal mining sites were affected by the liquidation of Scottish Coal and ATH Resources in 2013 across sites in East Ayrshire, Fife and South Lanarkshire. Sites in East Ayrshire were affected by a shortfall in restoration bonds that meant the level of financial guarantees fell short of the amount of money required to return all the land to its original condition.
Analysis carried out by East Ayrshire Council throughout the course of 2015 identified a total of 2,217 hectares of former surface coal mines in East Ayrshire that were considered to be derelict, and these sites were included in the 2015 SVDLS publication for both the years 2014 and 2015 (2014 figures being revised from those previously published).
For the 2016 and 2017 Surveys, East Ayrshire Council updated their analysis which has reduced the total area of former surface coal mines by 133 hectares (6%) to stand at 2,084 hectares.
The East Ayrshire Council analysis is based on the following principles for recording former surface coal mines, which were agreed following discussions between Scottish Government representatives and East Ayrshire, Fife, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire Councils:
- Large areas have been broken down into smaller areas to distinguish between parcels of land that still need to be restored to their original condition, parcels that are unworked and parcels derelict or naturalised.
- Areas of abandoned sites where the only element of activity is the maintenance of the site for health and safety reasons have been considered derelict.
- Areas which have been subject to partial restoration which are below the standard expected within the original planning permissions, but which are not considered to be of such poor quality as they would present a significant health and safety danger or environmental risk, are not considered derelict. Only areas of land identified as being unsafe or of very poor environmental quality and requiring further remediation have been recorded as derelict.
- Any former compounds, coal wash areas or haul routes that are still being used for another operational site have not been considered derelict.
Table A below compares 2015, 2016 and 2017 data for East Ayrshire surface coal mines. The change between 2016 and 2017 has been the continued naturalisation of part of the Dunstonhill site. The East Ayrshire Council analysis for 2016 and 2017 has broken the Dunstonhill site down into separate areas to distinguish between remaining areas of dereliction and other areas that, while in some instances were below the expected standard of restoration, are no longer of very poor environmental quality or comprise a significant health and safety or environmental risk.
Table A: Former Surface Coal Mines in East Ayrshire
|Data submitted in 2015 - based on detailed categorisation of each site||Data submitted in 2016 - based on detailed categorisation of each site||Data submitted in 2017 - based on detailed categorisation of each site|
|Data included in the 2015 SVDLS publication totals (for both 2014 and 2015 survey years)||Data included in the 2016 SVDLS publication totals||Data included in the 2017 SVDLS publication totals|
|Site Name||Size (hectares)||Site Name||Size (hectares)||Site Name||Size (hectares)|
|Benbain Remainder||194||Benbain Remainder||194||Benbain Remainder||194|
|Benbain Remainder North||138||Benbain Remainder North||138||Benbain Remainder North||138|
|Chalmerston Backfill||23||Chalmerston Backfill||23||Chalmerston Backfill||23|
|Chalmerston Compound||10||Chalmerston Compound||10||Chalmerston Compound||10|
|Chalmerston Extraction||19||Chalmerston Extraction||19||Chalmerston Extraction||19|
|Chalmerston Overburden||8||Chalmerston Overburden||8||Chalmerston Overburden||8|
|Chalmerston Processing||11||Chalmerston Processing||11||Chalmerston Processing||11|
|Chalmerston North||110||Chalmerston North||110||Chalmerston North||110|
|Garleffan 1&2||135||Garleffan 1&2||135||Garleffan 1&2||135|
|Garleffan South||4||Garleffan South||4||Garleffan South||4|
|AREA D||57||AREA D||57||AREA D||57|
|Skares Earthworks||4||Skares Earthworks||4||Skares Earthworks||4|
|Skares Extraction||4||Skares Extraction||4||Skares Extraction||4|
|Skares Muir Farm||4||Skares Muir Farm||4||Skares Muir Farm||4|
|Skares Processing||11||Skares Processing||11||Skares Processing||11|
|Dunstonhill ( PATNA)||80||Dunstonhill ( PATNA)||50|
|Dunstonhill (Burnfoothill)||21||Dunstonhill (Forest Road)||15|
|Dunstonhill (Lethan Hill)||3|
|Dunstonhill (Subtotal)||197||Dunstonhill (Subtotal)||104||Dunstonhill (Subtotal)||65|
1. Site size was amended in 2017
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