There has been another court triumph for those battling to have the Douglas Valley’s countryside restored after the ravages of years of opencast mining.
The insurers for the operators of the former Broken Cross Muir site near Douglas Water have been ordered by the Court of Session to cough up £3.1m for the abandoned mine’s restoration.
This follows the court’s ruling of five months ago that a French financial insititution stump up £4.5m for the restoration of the former Mainshill quarry near Douglas.
Had South Lanarkshuire Council not won both these cases, the area’s taxpayers would have been landed with the £7.6m bill to restore the sites.
During the opencast mining boom, many developers made restoration bond pledges as part of planning permission conditions to carry out their massive excavations in the Douglas Valley.
However, when major operators such as Scottish Coal went bust, liabilty to meet these guarentees and pay over the bonds were contested by their insurers.
Now the council has successfully forced the paying of restoration cash, in the latest case - that of Broken Cross Muir - by insurance giant Aviva. Payment is expected to be made within 30 days of the ruling.
On hearing of the court decision, Clydesdale’s MSP Aileen Campbell commented: “I welcome the news that this bond, which was part of the original planning permission, is having to be paid to South Lanarkshire Council to finance the restoration.
“We know of too many horror stories where companies have gone bust and the public has had to pick up the bill to restore a site.
“Hopefully this money will help to fully restore the site at Broken Cross Muir so that it will be of benefit to the local community and lessons will be learned so that these cases don’t have to be tied up in court in the future. ”
South Lanarkshire Council, claiming to already be under severe financial pressure, understandably welcomed the decision, saying that it had been sure from the start that it had a strong case to present to the court.
For its part, insurers Aviva were reported to be “considering their position” .