Cononish Gold Mine on BBC4

The last of a three part BBC TV series this Sunday will look at the recent controversial application to mine gold in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

Ben Oss and Ben Lui from Cononish, 176 kb
Ben Oss and Ben Lui from Cononish
© Dan Bailey

Tales from the National Parks, on BBC4 9pm Sunday, is a documentary following a year in the life of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Previous episodes covered 4x4 furores in the Peak District and the Honister zip wire hoo ha in the Lakes. The final programme centres on the Cononish gold mine application and features all aspects of the planning story from initial discussions with the applicant and community meetings right through to the recent final decision to approve the gold mine (after much to-ing and fro-ing, inevitably). Film maker Richard Macer spent a year following staff from the National Park to get the obligatory behind-the-scenes telly footage without which no modern documentary would be complete.

Fiona Logan, CEO of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, said:

'Richard and the team have been with us for a year and have captured all angles from the decision to initially refuse the application, the reaction from the local community, the huge amounts of ongoing work between ourselves and the applicant as part of the planning process and, finally, the recent meeting where Board Members approved the application.'

'This is the largest and most complex planning application the National Park has ever received and it highlights the difficult decisions we have to make. National Parks are not museums and we have a duty to take a long term approach and invest in local communities to ensure they prosper while, at the same time, recognising our responsibility to safeguard the landscape. Conservation and improving the visitor experience are key aspects to the work of the National Park Authority and our staff worked tirelessly with the applicant to find solutions to make this development work. We now have plans in place that will actually improve Glen Cononish in the long term and bring in financial benefits to Scotland [and] the local communities.'

Since it affects a remote and ecologically fragile glen within a National Park the Cononish proposal by Scotgold Resources Ltd inevitably led to a long-running controversy. Conservation groups and bodies representing walkers and climbers were among those who objected to the original mine plans, which were duly rejected by the National Park on environmental grounds. A re-submitted planning application was found to have addressed the main areas of concern and approved by the Park Authority late last month.

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