SENIOR management at a Scottish council face a disciplinary probe after coming under severe criticism for failing to act over the "environmental devastation" caused by opencast mines.

Full details of a damning review into failures in the restoration of abandoned opencast mines in the main problem area of Scotland points the finger to the top of East Ayrshire Council's organisation while uncovering "significant and ongoing individual, management and communication failings".

The council has approved a disciplinary investigation into what happened to report back by the end of March.

Across Scotland it is estimated local authorities are missing £200 million from the funds they need to clean up the mess made by dozens of opencast coal mines because insurance policies intended to pay for restoration work were inadequate.

A recent 64-page report of an East Ayrshire Council-commissioned independent review estimates the shortfall in the region of £132m.

It has led to environmental devastation which the review team said was "difficult to comprehend, massive and not repeated elsewhere in Scotland".

The review team, led by Jim Mackinnon, former chief reporter to the Scottish Government criticised council bosses for inaction. Mr McKinnon had warned seven years ago about problems with restoration on sites but the council never acted on it.

"It was and remains a major surprise to the review team that no-one in senior management in East Ayrshire Council from the head of planning and economic development through to the chief executive seems to have been aware of the scale of environmental devastation as a result of opencast mining operations," said the report.

East Ayrshire Council chief executive Fiona Lees said: "The independent review identified failings which are many and varied that at their core lies significant and ongoing individual, management and communication failings, particularly within the Planning Service. The disciplinary investigation will examine why these occurred. I am sorry for the failings identified on the part of Council officers and I recognise that to rebuild trust and confidence will require a huge effort on the part of our Council."