Cauldhall Open Cast Coal Mine in Midlothian, Scotland, UK


Since 2002, all coal produced in Scotland originates from opencast sites. Scottish Coal, formerly the UK's largest opencast mining company, started the process of opening a new open cast site in Midlothian in 2008. Since the company went bankrupt in April 2013, Hargreaves Services have taken on the application as part of a series of Scottish Coal 'assets' they have since acquired. They have been given green light to go ahead with Cauldhall Open Cast Site on 500 ha of land. It is hoped that the mine will result in a whopping 10m tonnes of coal, most of which will be burned in Longanet power station. Most of the land belongs to the local landlord, the Earl of Rosebury, an aristocratic relative of an ex-UK prime minister, who owns a big house in the area but lives in London.

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Basic Data
NameCauldhall Open Cast Coal Mine in Midlothian, Scotland, UK
CountryUnited Kingdom
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Coal extraction and processing
Specific Commodities
Project Details and Actors
Project Detailsjobs m tonnes of coal Operation over 12.5 years
Project Area (in hectares)500
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population84,240
Start Date2008
Company Names or State EnterprisesHargreaves Services from United Kingdom
Relevant government actorsScottish government, Midlothian Council
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersStop Cauldhall Open Cast, Coal Action Scotland, WWF Scotland
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of MobilizationMedia based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseEnvironmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Strengthening of participation
Development of AlternativesNot to build the opencast mine.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.On 19th October 2013, the proposal for a huge new opencast coal mine in Midlothian has been given the go-ahead.
Sources and Materials

Scottish Planning Policy SPP 16 Opencast Coal:
[click to view]

Edinburgh and the Lothians Structure Plan 2015:
[click to view]

Midlothian Local Plan (2008): Strategic Development Plan Approved 27 June 2013.pdf
[click to view]

Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004:
[click to view]

The environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 1999:
[click to view]


Objections to Cauldhall Opencast by Stop Caildhall Opencast campaign:
[click to view]


Newspaper press: Cauldhall opencast coal mine given green light:
[click to view]

Website from the campaign Stop Cauldhall Opencast:
[click to view]

Website from Coal Action Scotland:
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorAmaranta Herrero
Last update24/06/2014