Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has renewed his call for the UK Energy Minister, Michael Fallon, to ensure at least some of the £15 million in levies raised from coal produced in Scotland be returned from the Treasury to restore opencast sites in Scotland.
Ewing has twice raised this issue before with the Energy Department (DECC), but has never received a reply. He said:
“As the chair of the Scottish Coal Taskforce a key priority to move forward with restoration of opencast coal mines is for Scottish and UK government, agencies, local councils, community groups, coal operators, regulators and unions to work together and bring expertise to the table is vital to secure appropriate restoration.
“We share the same concerns of local communities around the responsible restoration of opencast coal sites and we are supportive of the work of the Scottish Mines Restoration Trust.
“However with a financial shortfall in restoration costs it makes sense that the money collected by the UK Government over the years from coal mined in Scotland be put to good use to help with the restoration of opencast sites.
“We understand the levy income collected from Scotland to date is within the region of £15 million. This money – or at the very least a proportion of it – should now be put to good use to help with the restoration of opencast sites.”