Growing Green Energy Project Phase2
Since the initiation of the Growing Green Energy Project (Phase 1) and the establishment of the Skares Field Trial, the mining sector in Scotland has undergone fundamental change. The industry now faces a major crisis following the demise of two of the major operators Scottish Coal and ATH. There is now a major funding shortfall for opencast site restoration and a massive legacy of unrestored derelict mining land, which accounts for tens of thousands of hectares.
Hargreaves Services, a Durham based company has now taken control of seven of the remaining viable opencast mines with the remaining seven uneconomic problem sites now under the ownership of the Scottish Mines Restoration Trust (SMRT), a charity established to facilitate site restoration. There is also a massive shortfall in the Restoration Bonds available which is restricting the opportunities for site restoration. In East Ayrshire alone this amounts to £132m.
Eadha now believes that the Growing Green Energy Project has greater relevance than ever and could offer a solution to the landscaping of mine sites. Taking into consideration the situation outlined above, we have refined and adapted our model to provide an innovative low input cost effective solution to mine restoration, landscaping and reforestation.
The model incorporates the following techniques:
- Natural Tree Protection
- Enhanced Natural Regeneration
- Direct Seeding
- Species Enhancement
and is based on the Principles of Permaculture:
- Work with nature rather than against.
- The problem is the solution.
- Make the least change for the greatest possible effect.
- The yield of a system is theoretically unlimited (or only limited by the imagination and information of the designer).
- Everything gardens (or modifies its environment).
(extract from Permaculture, a Designers' Manual, by Bill Mollison)
Natural Scrub Protection
Planted Aspen at the Skares Trial
This model was trialled at our Glentaggart Opencast Mine Woodland Restoration project
Eadha collaborated with EnviroScience to turn the crisis into an opportunity with a vision to develop a new forest based regional economy in the coalfields area. Eadha's model for landscaping and reforestation sites within this broader vision. A partnership was formed to initiate a study, to investigate the potential for land restoration and reforestation as part of a regional sustainable regeneration model. Phased development is envisaged whereby multiple pilot projects are implemented in partnership with local communities including both large scale reforestation trials in parallel with feasibility studies to investigate the optimum use of biomass, including industrial and commercial pilots.
We are presently consulting with a range of stakeholders to develop a consortium of interests. We have prepared a Discussion Paper to outline our vision and to attract partners to make it a reality