Conclusion and Next Steps
16. The coal industry in Scotland has been in a decline for a number of years, even before the collapse of Scottish Coal and ATH Resources, it was therefore unlikely this consultation would attract lots of attention. Despite the low number of responses, those who did respond have offered some important and helpful input that has been used to help shape the Regulations, prior to their submission to Parliament.
17. It is clear from responses received that the concept of planning authorities being able to charge a fee for monitoring is one that is widely accepted.
18. Setting a fee level that reflects the full cost of monitoring for a planning authority was not the intention of these Regulations and could be an economic burden to certain elements of the industry if implemented. Rather, the aim was to allow planning authorities to recover some of the costs associated with monitoring surface coal mines sites. This is an important step, as resources are stretched and the ability to recover a fee can help to support effective monitoring in the future.
19. The concern of those who responded about the frequency of visits for active and inactive sites has been addressed in the finalised Regulations. Allowing a planning authority the means to gauge how many times they need to visit a site i.e. between 1 and 8 over a 12 month period, can allow visits to be tailored to individual needs and encourage good practices within the sector. We intend to bring forward guidance, in the form of a planning circular, to support the introduction of the Regulations, which will set out expectations on the frequency of visits.
20. The Regulations will be introduced into Parliament in Autumn 2017. The planning circular for The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Monitoring Surface Coal Mining Sites) (Scotland) Regulations 2017, will be made available in time for when the Regulations come into force on the 1 st January 2018.
Email: William Carlin
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House