On Tuesday 12th October Midlothian Council voted unanimously to reject Scottish Coal’s application for a 2 million tonne open cast coal mine next to the village of Cousland. Communities Against Airfield Open Cast have staged their hard-fought campaign for over two years now, achieving the best possible outcome, and very successfully convincing the planners to turn down the proposal.
Dougie McKenzie, CAAOC Chairperson said: “I’m sure every household in Cousland and Ormiston will be celebrating.
“Scottish Coal’s application breached around a dozen planning policies, and they failed to demonstrate any real beliefs to the local communities affected, so we were in no doubt that the only outcome of today’s vote would be a resounding rejection.
“It has restored our faith in both the planning system and our councillors, who have clearly listened to their electorate’s concerns. We’d like to thank every single person who has supported this campaign.
“We’d also call on Scottish Coal to do the right thing and not lodge an appeal against this decision. The reasons for rejection are indisputable. It’s already cost many of us two years of our lives, and we’d ask they spare the taxpayers’ money at a time when our council can least afford the cost of a lengthy and expensive appeal process.”
This refusal is the first rejection of an open cast proposal in over 5 years in Scotland, since Fife Council made the costly decision to reject ATH Resources 2 million tonne application. That decision was eventually overturned by Scottish Ministers, and Fife Council paid out some £250,000 to ATH for the inconvenience of having rejected it. On that precedent, it looked like councils in Scotland wouldn’t reject a proposal again. Let’s hope the ministers keep out of this one!