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"Our environment and economy have been scarred" says Scottish Lib Dems leader

"Our environment and our economy have been scarred by the Scottish Government's failures on open-cast mining. We need assurances that lessons have been learnt.

"But more importantly, we need confidence that these failings will not be repeated. The unrestored mines have left local communities environmentally bankrupt.

"Taxpayers may also face the unacceptable burden of meeting the multimillion-pound hole in restoration costs.''

– Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats

"The Scottish Government will shortly hold a consultation on more effective regulation.

"More effective regulation is the principal way of improving confidence in the sector and it will keep onside the insurers and banks that underwrite risks on opencast mining.

"Asking the right questions about policy and practice, about site surveys and restoration guarantees will pave a way forward so that future sites are run to the best of standards and progressively and appropriately restored."

– Fergus Ewing, Energy Minister for Scotland

Calls to improve the Scottish coal industry

The Duke of Buccleuch with the Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing earlier this year Credit: ITV News Border

A consultation is being launched on how to improve the way the coal industry is regulated in Scotland.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing says the move is part of Scottish Government efforts to save and create jobs and ensure appropriate restoration of coaled-out mines.

It comes before a Holyrood debate on open-cast mining this afternoon.

Scottish Coal and Aardvark TMC both collapsed earlier this year.

Glenmuckloch mine in Dumfriesshire was one of several sites at risk of being left untouched, after a court ruled liquidators did not have to pay to clean them up.

A restoration project only got underway because of a collaboration between Hargreaves, the Duke of Buccleuch, Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Scottish Mines Trust.