What should be monitored?
21. Fees are chargeable for site visits to monitor surface coal mining permissions, from their initial implementation to the end of the period of aftercare required by a condition of the planning permission relating to:
- the winning and working of coal by surface mining methods and associated ancillary operations.
22. The amount of time spent on monitoring a site is likely to depend on the site, the number and type of planning conditions and the aspect of the operations that are being monitored. Individual visits may be tailored to monitor specific aspects of operations but, over a 12 month period, planning authorities should aim to include a review of:
- the site, establish whether there is or has been any breach of planning control on the site and if any enforcement action is required,
- the planning conditions, including those related to the operation of mining waste facilities and the adequacy of any financial guarantees relating to restoration,
- any development permitted under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1995,
- the boundary limits.
23. In terms of the scope of monitoring visits planning authorities will want to ensure appropriate arrangements are in place to avoid as far as possible duplication with the responsibilities of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Health and Safety Executive. The assumption should be that other control regimes are being properly applied and enforced and authorities should not seek to duplicate monitoring required through other regimes not least as this would effectively mean operators being billed twice for monitoring the same matters. This may require liaison between regulators to ensure that there is no duplication of regulatory control or monitoring effort.
24. The final visit in a 12 month period should include a meeting to discuss operational progress over the year and to set and agree the number of chargeable monitoring visits for the following year, in light of the previous year findings.