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Thursday, 26 October 2017

Representatives from Scottish Mines Restoration Trust welcomed a local MSP on a tour of four opencast mines to show the progress being made in bringing the sites back into community use.

Jeane Freeman, SNP MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley, visited the SMRT sites across East Ayrshire and South Lanarkshire to find out more about the restoration process.  

Professor Russel Griggs OBE and the team from Scottish Mines Restoration Trust took Jeane – also minister for social security – on a tour of the Powharnal, Ponesk, Spireslack and Mainshill sites and provided updates on the works which have taken place.  

Russel said: “Jeane was keen to see first-hand the work that has gone into the restoration of each of these sites so far.

 “Restoration is about bringing these abandoned sites back into community use by working with all of the stakeholders involved in the process. The works are creating useful environmental features on vast landscapes which were once unsightly and barren.

“We’re on course to complete the restoration of each of the East Ayrshire and South Lanarkshire sites by the early 2020s and we’re continuing to work in a strong team with all of the local authorities and other stakeholders involved.

“It was great to welcome Jeane and we hope that the tour of the sites clearly demonstrated how the sites are inextricably linked to their surrounding communities.”

Works on the Powharnal site have created 25 jobs for local people for the next five years and at Ponesk, works are more than 70 per cent complete.

The geology found in the Spireslack canyon continues to attract interest from students from across the globe and works at Mainshill are scheduled to increase in volume in spring 2018.

Jeane Freeman MSP said: “I was delighted to accept SMRT’s invitation to see these sites and see the scale of the challenges faced due to the collapse of surface coal mining.

“The restoration plans will leave a lasting legacy and bring the land back into use to be enjoyed by the local communities.

“The plans for the Spireslack canyon are particularly exciting.”