The planning director of the company behind the Cauldhall opencast mine plan is quoted (‘Firm intentions to mine’, Advertiser, 29 August) as saying: “We are already restoring other sites that we have taken over in
I’d be interested to hear which sites he’s talking about, because our research shows that Hargreaves has specifically sought to avoid buying sites that require restoration. The five ex-Scottish Coal sites “bought” by Hargreaves in July were in fact not bought by Hargreaves at all; they are owned by “Hivecos” that remain owned by KPMG, the liquidators of Scottish Coal. The reason for this was so that Hargreaves would not be made liable for any of the restoration liabilities. Hargreaves has told its investors that it will only buy these sites once the restoration work has been fully funded by others.
Similarly, Hargreaves specifically rejected the purchase of the ex-ATH site at Muir Dean in Fife because of the restoration bill, which is now being picked up by the taxpayer and others as a result of some hard work by the council.
The purpose of these Hivecos is specifically to allow the coal companies to distance themselves from the responsibility to restore sites. Then when they hit problems, the Hivecos are put into liquidation and, if the recent Court of Session decision is upheld, they can walk away, leaving holes in the ground and water contamination for some other sucker to deal with. Anyone in any doubt should go to the abandoned Shewington Extension site, next door to Cauldhall, and see the water-filled holes left behind by the last company to try to make money out of opencast coal.
Stop Cauldhall Opencast
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