From Climate Camp to Cousland
Coal Action Scotland are expecting a large number of protesters to march this Saturday (21st August) against a bid by Scottish Coal to extract two million tonnes of coal from a 154-hectare open cast mine at Airfield Farm, Midlothian, just west of the popular East Lothian village of Ormiston. Activists will be cycling from Climate Camp to Cousland to take part in the event.
Local families, businesses and other supporters of the rural economy and environment are expected to join protesters from the Climate Camp in Edinburgh in a march from the village hall in Cousland, a village in the shadow of the proposed mine, to the site of the proposed development. In true rural style participants on the march have been invited to walk, cycle, horse ride or dog walk along the route.
Dougie McKenzie, chair of the campaigning group, Communities Against Airfield Open Cast (CAAOC), said, “We are delighted that Coal Action Scotland is supporting our campaign.
Local people have real concerns not only about the impact this mine will have on local businesses, but also on our safety, particularly that of our children – the area surrounding the village of Cousland is riddled with old limestone mine workings, and we have serious concerns about the impact blasting will have on the already unstable ground. Already this year we believe there have been 2 land collapses into old mine workings in the fields around Airfield, and a few years previously a 15-year old boy narrowly escaped death when the ground in the local playing field collapsed beneath him .”
“We hope this rural protest march will raise awareness of our campaign and will encourage more people to object to Scottish Coal’s application. We suspect that there will be many people in Edinburgh unaware of this proposed blot on the beautiful landscape so close to the city.”
Fiona Reed from Coal Action Scotland said: “We’re really looking forward to supporting CAAOC in their efforts against Scottish Coal and in persuading Midlothian Council to reject this mine. Communities across Scotland are blighted by open cast and the current push to dig ever increasing amounts of coal from the central belt is hurting communities and making a mockery of efforts to reduce carbon emissions. We will not allow people’s health and the environment to be sacrificed for the quick profits of mining companies.”
Event schedule for Saturday 21st August
- 2.00pm to 2.30pm cycle caravan leaves Climate Camp
- 3.00pm to 4.00pm cyclists/walkers meet at Cousland Village Hall
- 4.00pm – presentation by Dougie McKenzie, Chair CAAOC
- 4.10pm – walk commences from Hall through village to Airfield and proposed site of mine
- 4.30pm – group photo opportunity (at a point on the hill overlooking Airfield Farm (4.30pm). (this will be along a farm track)