1. The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Monitoring Surface Coal Mining Sites) (Scotland) Regulations 2017  introduce new provision for planning authorities to be paid a fee for monitoring surface coal mining sites.
2. Surface coal mining sites are typically subject to a number of detailed conditions and associated legal agreements, aimed at controlling potentially negative impacts on neighbouring communities and the environment. Effective monitoring of a site and the conditions that are attached to it is vital, in order to ensure that on-going operations are in line with the planning permission and conditions, including those relating to any financial guarantees for restoration purposes, ensuring they provide sufficient funds to undertake the restoration work if it ever has to be called upon.
3. Regular site visits can help maintain an on-going dialogue between the planning authority and the operator of a site, allowing any issues to be discussed openly and constructively. Although site specific monitoring measures can be tailored to individual sites, the outcome should always be to put in place a systematic, documented, transparent, periodic and objective evaluation of how each site is performing.
4. The purpose of this guidance is to outline how the regime might work in order to achieve its purpose of securing good practice monitoring. However, final decisions on implementing a monitoring scheme rests with the relevant planning authority and should be tailored to local needs.