Stopping Glentaggart East
The Struggle Continues!
After 20 years of struggle against open cast coal mining, a hard-fought battle against Scottish Coal’s plans for Mainshill and the occupation of Happendon Wood, the next phase of struggle is well underway. Scottish Coal, as with mining operators across Scotland and the UK, are looking to continue the massive expansion of their operations. This part of South Lanarkshire is already one of the most heavily mined places in Europe with 5 operational or as yet unrestored opencast mines. Not satisfied with the millions they’ve already scraped out of communities in the area, Scottish Coal is going after more new sites with their “Forward Strategy” and three new applications (see map below). One of these, Auldton Heights, was successfully opposed last year – one down, two to go…
The application for a huge new 4 million tonne mine at Glentaggart East and the 1 million tonne North Eastern Extension to Broken Cross were, needless to say, approved by South Lanarkshire Council. The approval for Glentaggart East and the outrageous way in which it was done is now being resisted in the courts by a local resident.
All roads lead to Glentaggart East
Despite their flashy websites and well-paid executives, Scottish Coal are actually in a spot of bother. They’ve had massive falls in profits, failed attempts to float on the stock market, numerous head honchos resign, a series of lay-offs reducing employee numbers by at least a fifth – and now they’re even selling off machines they’re so strapped for cash. What they need now is new sites, both to increase production again (they were hit hard over the winter by the rainy weather) and so that their bank will lend them more money. With mines closing near-by, defeats over Airfield Farm (Midlothian) and Auldton Heights (South Lanarkshire), they desperately need Glentaggart East.
But Glentaggart East will by no means be the end if they successfully mine it – after Glentaggart East there’s a whole new set of mines they’ve got in the pipeline and you can bet that they won’t stop voluntarily until they’ve taken all they can out of the valley. Stopping Scottish Coal from getting their opencast at Glentaggart East is vital.
So why a camp in Lanarkshire?
Scottish Coal (and arguably South Lanarkshire Council) are only interested in one thing – their profit margin. If its not economically viable to dig up coal then they’ll stop doing it. As already explained, they’re in trouble, and years of organising against them, from South Lanarkshire to Midlothian, Fife to Ayrshire, has cost them dearly. Now is the time for concerted direct action against their operations – by targeting pinch-points like new mines and rail terminals we can focus our efforts and who knows – even actually win. There hasn’t been a better time to take action against opencast in the Douglas Valley.
For more information on the campaign so far see Coal Action Scotland