South Lanarkshire COALcil » Archive

Criminal Investigation into South Lanarkshire Council Planning Committee – just the tip of the iceberg?

A BBC investigation has revealed the extent of relationships between planners and developers, showing how Michael McCann, the new Labour MP for East Kilbride, Strathhaven and Lesmahagow, has had an undeclared relationship with local property tycoon and Labour donor James Kean while he sat on the planning comittee at South Lanarkshire Council. Does this surprise us? Not one bit. What about a criminal investigation into the revolving door between Scottish Coal and the planning department? Read the full article here. … Read entire article »

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Someone say corruption? Scottish Coal bribe East Ayrshire Councillor

From Coal Action Scotland: Another case of political corruption has been exposed today with the revelations that Labour councillor for Ballochmyle, Jimmy Kelly accepted a number of “gifts” from Scottish Coal prior to chairing the committee which recommended the controversial mine at Dalfad for approval. The former miner and councillor of over 20 years accepted an all expenses paid trip to Spain from Scottish Coal in 2008 which included flights, hotel and tickets to the Barcelona vs Celtic Champions League match. Kelly has also received complementary Christmas hampers from the company and was their guest at a fundraiser dinner. Despite all this, Kelly felt he had no conflict of interest in chairing the committee which reviewed Scottish Coal’s application to mine a controversial site at … Read entire article »

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Scottish Coal threatens Council with job cuts – but will they fall for it?

Last week Scottish Coal bosses sprung the news of up to 200 job cuts on their employees, calling a mass meeting of workers at the Broken Cross site in South Lanarkshire. That’s a fifth of their entire workforce in Scotland. Up to 50 employees could lose their jobs in the Douglas Valley with 30 going at Glentaggart as the mine comes to a close. Where the others are to go isn’t clear. One Scottish Coal employee working in the Douglas Valley is reported to have said that they felt this was a case of the company “pointing a pistol at the head of the council” to ensure planning permission for new developments was granted. He continued: “When you look at these proposals, already being talked about with the council, plus those which … Read entire article »

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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. … Read entire article »

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New windfarm policy limits impact – but what about open cast?

A new South Lanarkshire Council windfarm blueprint highlights areas where new windfarms aren’t appropriate – areas such as Douglas, Forth and Abington, owing to the fact that these areas already have plenty of them. So if multiple windfarms in an area constitute an unaccpetable cumulative impact on Clydesdale communities, why the hell don’t open cast coal mines? In blatant disregard for planning policy which states that multiple open casts can’t exist within certain distances of communities, the council has consistently imposed countless open cast coal mines on the Douglas Valley, and residents have been calling for a moratorium on new ones becuase of their overwhelming cumulative impact. South Lanarkshire Council couldn’t possibly introduce policy that harms Scottish Coal’s interests. But windfarms? Well, there’s just not enough money in it, is there. Full article … Read entire article »

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Councillor’s Expenses under Review as Scandal Just Won’t go Away

Hamilton Advertiser article here. COUNCIL chief executive Archie Strang called in the auditors to check councillors’ expenses after a bitter row that was inevitably dubbed ‘Torbaygate’. It erupted in early October and followed the incident in which finance department staff lost £102,000 to African conmen in a bank details scam. There were fears the staff responsible might face disciplinary action. Corporate committee chairman Hugh Dunsmuir subsequently sent an e-mail to Mr Strang, copying in 4000 council staff. It asked why finance staff faced disciplinary action when it was “widely known” that SNP Group leader Anne Maggs had claimed expenses illegitimately in 2005 for attendance at a conference on waste in Torbay, south of England. Mr Strang said at the time that no one had been “disadvantaged or disciplined” over the conman incident. However, he asked external auditors … Read entire article »

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Union leaders urge council to stop wasting our money

Rutherglen Reformer article here. SOUTH Lanarkshire Council should stop all unnecessary expenditure as a way of tackling the serious financial problems they face. That’s the message from the council’s 6500-strong Unison branch, who this week wrote to all South Lanarkshire councillors, urging them to ditch some of the cost-cutting proposals drawn up by bosses. In the seven-page document, Unison question the allocation of £50,000 to fund Christmas lights switch-on ceremonies at Hamilton, East Kilbride and Lanark. They also point out that staff at the council’s headquarters in Almada Street, Hamilton watched recently as four vans, a hired low loader with a crane and around 15 workmen were utilised to erect a Christmas tree outside the building. Unison add: “Why do we need a tree outside headquarters as well as a tree and a larger-than-life Santa … Read entire article »

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South Lanarkshire Council shuts Community out of its own liaison meeting with Scottish Coal

In what is becoming an all too familiar story in the Douglas Valley, South Lanarkshire Council (SLC) made a determined effort to exclude community members from the Mainshill open cast coal mine liaison meeting earlier this month. With court threats from SLC, the launch of a new anti-opencast action group and the occupation of another Scottish Coal site all since the last Mainshill liaison meeting, this one was set to be an exciting one. Apologies for the length of this article, but you can’t do justice to the injustice of SLC-sponsored open cast in a few lines. The lengths SLC representatives have gone to over the years to defend Scottish Coal and their actions is alarming – this time round it was Roger Dick (Minerals “Enforcement” Officer), Donald Wilkins (Minerals Planning … Read entire article »

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