Hannah Bardell MP Heaps Praise on Banks Mining
Wednesday, October 21st, 2015
on behalf of Banks Group
A Scottish Member of Parliament has praised a major West Lothian private sector employer following a recent visit to an operational coal mine.
Speaking following her time spent at the Rusha Surface Mine, operated by Banks Mining, part of the family-owned Banks Group, Hannah Bardell, Member of Parliament for Livingston, applauded Banks’ engagement with the neighbouring communities and its commitment to the West Lothian economy.
The Hamilton based firm has been operating at the Rusha site, near Breich, since 2012, as part of a seven-year project to extract coal from the site. The coal extracted is used for industrial, domestic and coal fired power generation in both Scotland and England.
At present, around 50 people work at the site with Banks Mining recently revealing it is now spending close to £4million per year with various central belt suppliers.
Hannah Bardell MP, said: “Banks Mining has proven itself to be a welcome addition to the local economy and it is great to hear of them prioritising smaller local firms in the supply chain as well as providing skilled jobs for a local workforce.
“When the surface mine Rusha was in planning concerns were raised in the local area and I am pleased that Banks Mining have addressed those concerns and will also restore the site back for the benefit of the region. The local community continue to monitor the level of traffic and I’m confident Banks are listening.
“However by going the extra mile, through measures to minimise dust and debris leaving the site, as well as closely monitoring traffic and noise levels leaving the mine, Rusha has proven itself to be a responsible neighbour.
“The Banks Community Fund has been – and continues to be – an important source of funding for valued local groups. This is very important at a time of great financial difficulty and austerity thoughout the UK. Banks Mining ensures that the region benefits from having Rusha on its doorstep.”
Despite pending high profile closures to coal power stations, over 70 per cent of the coal used in the UK is imported from abroad, further underpinning the demand for indigenous coal and the need for responsible mining. Although this is the case, we still need a responsible sustainable mix of renewable energy which I know Banks are also committed to. Around a third of the electricity generated in the UK is still generated from coal fired power stations.
Hannah added “There is of course a need to further develop alternative fuel sources, however for the foreseeable future – as we reduce dependency on fossil fuels – we must make sure we embrace Scotland’s proud tradition of responsible mining rather than continuing to import vast amounts from overseas – ensuring it is our local economy that benefits.”
Local Ward Councillor and Liaison Committee Chair Greg McCarra, said: “It is very evident that Rusha surface mine site is operated to the highest of standards by extremely well trained staff, predominantly from the surrounding area – and by a company that takes real responsibility at all its sites.
“I know that the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency has been monitoring the site on a very regular basis and is extremely happy with the standard of environmental performance which helps give reassurance to the local communities of the ongoing care for the environment by Banks.
“When the initial plans were put forward for the surface mine I was hesitant to give my backing, however extra care taken on the site and the positive impact on the local economy has resulted in it being an overall positive addition to our region.”
Jim Donnelly, divisional director at Banks Mining, says: “We were delighted to welcome Hannah Bardell MP to our site and it was great to see her interact with members of our team – the vast majority of whom live in her Livingston constituency.
“From our conversations with Hannah we found ourselves agreeing on a number of local matters – the importance of the sites’ contribution to the local economy, apprenticeships and the development of the skills base within West Lothian, as well as the need to fully restore the mine once coal extraction has been completed so that it is left in the best possible condition.
“Our Development with Care approach commits us to operating our mining sites to the highest environmental standards and we are proud of our status as the only operator in the UK to have fully restored everyone of the 110 surface mines that we we have operated since Banks Mining started operations in 1976.
“Once we complete mining operations at Rusha, we will fully restore the site, returning it to a mix of farmland and forestry which also includes creating an area of diverse woodland, with new public footpaths, areas for recreational use and additional water bodies and areas of ecological interest.”
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