In October last year Scottish Coal announced their intention to submit three new planning applications to South Lanarkshire Council Planning Department in January 2011. These are for a 4 million tonne open cast at Glentaggart East/Townhead Wood, a 1 million Extension to Broken Cross North Extension, and a new 420,000 tonne mine at Auldton Heights, near Lesmahagow. Five months late, and one at a time it seems, Scottish Coal finally submitted plans for a the massive open cast at Glentaggart East in May 2011. Broken Cross North Eastern Extension followed in September 2011 – to object to this application please to STOP! Stop The Opencast Plans. Scottish Coal have now confirmed that they’re not going ahead with Auldton Heights – a small victory perhaps?
These new applications are part of Scottish Coal’s “Forward Strategy” for the area, but in reality are the tip of the iceberg. They will add an extra 5.4 million tonnes of coal production, and at least another 10 years to mining operations in the Douglas Valley – and that’s just the tip. Then there’s Happendon Wood, land West of Poniel, land in between Glentaggart and Glentaggart East, Townhead Wood itself, land South West of Aultdon Heights all the way to Dalquhandy, multiple more extensions to Broken Cross and, of course, the Long Plantation. But why should they stop there? At the rate the Council is depopulating villages such as Glespin and Douglas, in a few years Scottish Coal will probably be given permission to mine there too.
The map below shows current mining operations, new proposals and what the COALcil highlights as “recoverable coal deposits” in its new minerals plan. Shocked? That’s not the half of it. As one Douglas Valley resident recently said: “you might as well just colour the whole thing in black – there’s coal all through the valley and they won’t leave until they’ve had it all.”