Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Willie Rennie has called for the Scottish Government to contribute towards the clear up efforts of failed opencast coal sites instead of recklessly promoting the exploitation of new sites.
It comes as Hargreaves today announced they are to halve production and cut costs at their seven opencast coal sites in Scotland as they grapple with the falling price of coal.
Mr Rennie said:
"Opencast mining communities across Scotland continue to feel the effects of the Scottish Government's cavalier approach to the industry. Instead of recklessly promoting the exploitation of new opencast mines the Scottish Government should have focused on a plan to restore the failed sites that are already blighting our countryside.
"The financial and environmental cost of the failures of the industry and the planning system are high.
"I am exploring the possibility of support from the UK Government for a CPS Exemption Scheme to restore the orphan sites which are blighted by barren land and polluted water. However, the Scottish Government needs to contribute towards the clear up too rather than always passing the buck to someone else."