South Lanarkshire COALcil » Uncategorized » Revolving door between planning department and Scottish Coal explains new South Lanarkshire minerals plan

Revolving door between planning department and Scottish Coal explains new South Lanarkshire minerals plan

South Lanarkshire Council (SLC) have just announced a 6 week consultation on the proposed new minerals plan, setting out areas of recoverable coal that the planning department would accept applications for open cast mines on. Whats the major difference between the new one, and the old one from 2002? As a Douglas resident put it: the “mysterious appearance of gray matter”.

The proposed minerals plan highlights great swathes of land in the Douglas Valley, as well as huge new areas in northern South Lanarkshire around Forth, East Kilbride and Larkhall, as having recoverable coal deposits – a massive increase from the previous plan. The new plan is also a number of years early, the Council say that this is because changes to planning legislation mean that it’s time to update it. We say however, that its a move to help Scottish Coal dig even more coal even faster, and allow them to establish bigger mines sooner. Scottish Coal and South Lanarkshire COALcil have been planning this for years.

Its no surprise that just before Scottish Coal submit an application for a huge new 4 million tonne mine at Glentaggart East, which isn’t included in the old minerals plan, a new plan is proposed covering the whole site boundary area and more. The revolving door between South Lanarkshire Council Planning Department and Scottish Coal has for years meant that the community has no say in mineral matters, and allowed Scottish Coal to get away with destroying community health and the environment.

So who’s been in and out of the revolving door? Here are a few examples.

Philip Rayson
Philip Rayson came to the Council Planning Department straight from his previous job with Scottish Coal, just before the application for Broken Cross OCCS. The Planning Department then oversaw and agreed the application and, mission accomplished, Philip left the Council only to return to his previous employer, Scottish Coal. It is thought that he joined the Council specifically to learn how to get open cast applications approved. He presently works in the companies East Ayrshire sites.

Terry Burns (a good guy?)
Philip was replaced by Terry Burns who lasted only months in the Planning Department. Apparently, he was not comfortable with what was going on and cleared his desk at SLC and moved his employment to an English Council. He wasn’t involved in the approval of any Scottish Coal applications while he was there.

Theo Phillip
Theo Phillip appears to have joined SLC straight from college as a Minerals Planning Officer. After a short time in this job and after dealing with a number of Scottish Coal applications, you guessed it, he left the Council went to Scottish Coal. His name appears in reference to Scottish Coal’s ‘Fife Earth Project’, a laughable restoration of St Ninnian’s, which will now site next to a massive 3.4 million tonne extension, swallowing up a whole 170ha loch.

Roger Dick & Donald Wilkins

The “terrible two”, are current Minerals Planning Officers – their jobs supposedly enforcing the planning conditions imposed by the Council on Scottish Coal, as well as upholding the legal agreements. They are also overseeing the new minerals plan, paving the way for decades more of coal extraction for Scottish Coal. Their salaries are paid for by Scottish Coal too – did someone say “conflict of interest”? Roger worked for British Coal before privatisation, an old coal-board stalwart. Wonder who Roger and Donald will work for once their time with the Council is up?

To view and comment on the proposed Minerals Plan click here.

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