Proposed Open Cast Site at Airfield Farm, Cousland
EDITOR'S NOTE. Scottish Coal's application to site an opencast coal mine at Airfield Farm, near Cousland was unaminously rejected by Midlothian Council's planning committee on 12th October 2010. The deadline for appeal of the planning refusal passed WITHOUT Scottish Coal submitting an appeal on 19th January 2011. CAAOC announced in early January that it had reached its fundraising target to pay the final bill for planning/legal advice . This therefore brings the campaign group's activities to a close. This page will no longer be updated but we will leave the information here for future reference. We would like to express our gratitude to all those who worked hard directly or indirectly to support CAAOC and raise funds for our cause.
- No appeal from Scottish Coal 24 January 2011
- Airfield Open Cast Mine Proposal Rejected 12 October 2010
- Climatecamp TV interviews Dougie McKenzie 25 August 2010
- More opencast mine bids 'likely on greenfield sites' 15 August 2010
- Communities Against Airfield Open Cast (CAAOC) Create New Website 02 August 2010
- Suffering for the Cause with CAAOC! 20 May 2010
- CAAOC campaign update newsletter May 2010 08 May 2010
- CAAOC Fundraising Race Night Saturday 8th May 29 April 2010
- Application Plans
- Scottish Planning Policy 16 (Open Cast Coal)
- Public Meeting
- Contacts and further information
- Useful links
A new website has been created by the community group Communities Against Airfield Open Cast (CAAOC) with up-to-date news and information on Scottish Coal's application to open an opencast mine at Airfield farm near Cousland.
This new website will take over from Cousland.net in keeping community members informed of the issues, late-breaking developments and things you can do to support the campaign.
The new website can be visited at www.airfieldopencast.co.uk. Please bookmark it, support us in any way you can, make a donation, make an objection and remember to re-visit for regular updates!
Facebook Campaign Groups
A number of Facebook groups have also been set up by some local community members. Feel free to voice your concerns at: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=116188831752921&v=wall
09/00349/FUL Extraction of coal by surface mining methods, formation of new access to A6093 and restoration to agriculture (this application is accompanied by an environmental statement prepared under the environmental impact assessment (Scotland) regulations 1999) Airfield Farm Cousland Dalkeith Midlothian EH22 2PE . (Link to submitted application documentation)
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EXTRACT: "Planning authorities should use their development plans to identify areas where opencast coal extraction may be acceptable. There should be a presumption against development outwith these areas.
Within identified areas, extraction should only take place if the impact on local communities and the environment is acceptable; or if the proposal provides local or community benefits that outweigh the impacts. If this cannot be done, the presumption against development remains.
The Executive expect planning authorities and operators to work closely with local communities at all stages of the planning process. Where planning permission is granted, arrangements should be put in place to ensure that sites are properly monitored and that legitimate community concerns can be addressed quickly".
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A public meeting was held in Cousland Village Hall on Thursday 29th August 2008 to discuss Scottish Coal's plans for an open cast coal mine at Airfield Farm near Cousland.
The hall was packed to capacity with over 120 members of the local community and many other interested parties meeting to discuss concerns over the proposal plans.
Also present were Rhona Brankin MSP for Midlothian and Lisa Beattie, Local Councillor for Ward 5, which includes the Cousland area. A number of other Councillors attended from adjacent East Lothian areas which will also be affected.
Scottish Coal gave a short update on the progress of their proposed planning application, reiterated points contained in the scoping report and took questions from the floor. They encouraged those present to make comments both to themselves and to Ian McFarlane of Midlothian Council Planning Department.
It was noted that a planning application has not yet been submitted although that is the intention. A public discussion took place involving the whole community and a subsequent show of hands reinforced the communities' view that this is a wholly unwelcome proposal and that opposition will be virtually unanimous on a wide range of contentious issues which were raised.
These concerns were identified broadly as:
- Roads and transport issues - 42 ton trucks each carrying 29 tons of coal making 126 journeys a day from Airfield to Cockenzie via A68
- Wildlife and the Environment - Hadfast Valley (a SSSI) is located 400m from the proposed mine and is one of the most important sites for breeding birds in the Lothians
- Dust and Air quality - Concern has been expressed on possible health effects for those suffering from asthma and other respiratory conditions.
- Noise and vibration - Blasting from the site may pose a risk to the structure of Cousland castle and Cousland homes
- Landscape and visual impact - The area proposed is in an Area of Great Landscape Value and includes a number of Listed Wildlife Sites. It is on prime agricultural land.
- Property and Business Values - The value of any homes situated half a kilometre from an open cast mine will fall. All businesses related to tourism or recreation will suffer. Investment will be discouraged.
- Health impacts - Concerns expressed about the health and safety of our children in particular.
- Cumulative Impact - the proposed recycling plant at Smeaton Bing combined with the proposed open cast mine and other developments would have a seriously detrimental effect on the quality of life in the village which has been blighted by a disproportionate number of developments for the past 25 years.
Both Rhona Brankin, MSP and Lisa Beattie, Councillor asked that members of the public contact them in writing to express their concerns and views on the proposals and also encouraged communication with agencies such as Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Historic Scotland, RSPB, Transport Scotland etc on specific issues.
You can write to:
Rhona Brankin MSP Midlothian
P.O. Box 11, 95 High Street, Dalkeith, EH22 1AX
Rhona Brankin MSP, The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh EH99 1SP
Telephone: 0131 654 1585
RNID TypeTalk calls welcome
Fax: 0131 654 1586
Telephone: 0131 348 5838 Fax: 0131 348 5988
Ian McFarlane, Planning Officer (Major Developments)
Ian Johnson, Head of Planning
Midlothian Council, Fairfield House, 8 Lothian Road, Dalkeith, EH22 3ZN
Iain Gray MSP
65 High Street, Tranent, East Lothian, EH33 1LN
Tel. 01875 616 610
Constituents in East Lothian are encouraged to contact their ward councillors
Ruth Currie, Robert Knox and John Hume have expressed their opposition to the plans.
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Please go to www.airfieldopencast.co.uk
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- Communities Against Airfield Opencast (CAAOC) - www.airfieldopencast.co.uk
- Scottish Resources Group (Scottish Coal) - www.scottishcoal.co.uk
- Coal Action Edinburgh - http://coalactionedinburgh.noflag.org.uk/
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