Commenting on the revelation that many old opencast sites are years late in being restored, Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:
"About the only reassurance given to any community which has to put up with opencast mining is that the site will be restored afterwards. It seems these promises are being widely broken and the government may even be working to let the industry off the hook at more sites.
"These companies have made large profits at the expense of the environment and local communities. There can be no excuse for this industry failing to clean up after itself. Instead of trying to prop up an ailing industry the government needs to be guaranteed that overdue restoration work with get underway and that restoration plans will be fully delivered.
"The delays and possible ultimate failure to deliver on promises to restore opencast sites calls into question the current crop of application for new sites and extensions. The Scottish Government urgently needs to reassure communities and planning authorities that no developer will ever be allowed to simply walk away from their obligations to clean up after themselves."
2. Friends of the Earth Scotland is * Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation * An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland * Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups - covering every continent. www.foe-scotland.org.uk