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Crunch time for the Douglas Valley

The Douglas Valley hosted the Earth First! Winter Moot at the end of February. People from across Scotland and the UK piled into the Glespin community hall to strategise, debate and plan.

Two events highlighted the importance of centring things like Earth First! gatherings in areas of community struggle.

On the Saturday, people from the local community shared their experiences of living next to opencast mines.

The anger and passion was both chilling and inspiring. Local communities have been disempowered, disenfranchised and disregarded by a corporate elite determined to squeeze everything they can out of this troubled area, with the help of local government. But still the people fight on despite some having been bought off and others leaving the area.

The next day we walked the short distance to Glentaggart East, site of Scottish Coal’s next big mining project in the valley. It’s an important habitat, with peat cover, blanket bog and endangered bird-breeding grounds.

This massive new mine would complete the encirclement of the village of Douglas with mining operations, with two primary schools downwind to its activity. Looking out over the expanse of rolling hills and southern uplands you can see why this place is part of the Douglas Valley area of great landscape value.

Worth protecting

Whether for the people that live around it, the wildlife it supports or the carbon buried beneath it, this place is worth protecting.

Glentaggart East has been delayed for 18 months, forcing Scottish Coal into financial difficulties that we need to make sure they can’t get out of.

Coal Action Scotland have been touring the UK on the Dirty Coal Infotour, drumming up support for the campaign and mobilising towards a summer of direct action against mining infrastructure in the area and the anticipated start date of the new mine.

We’re also embarking on two judicial reviews, taking the council to court for supporting the mining company and their unacceptable disregard for local people.

It’s crunch time in South Lanarkshire, and everyone’s invited.

Topics: Energy
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