This is an archived press release
Tuesday 15 February 2005
15 February 2005
Open cast operation recommended for Longstone Edge
The Peak District National Park Authority is recommending that fluorspar extraction at a site on Longstone Edge should be by open cast methods rather than underground mining.
Glebe Mines already has permission for underground mining at an extension of its Arthurton West site, near Great Longstone, but open cast would have a much shorter impact on the landscape - three years as opposed to 15 years - and restoration would be to a higher standard.
For these reasons the Peak District National Park Authority is minded to approve the application, subject to conditions including restoration of the site when the scheme is complete and a 10-year aftercare plan to restore wildlife habitats.
However, because it would be a departure from the Authority's Development Plan - which states that "major development will not be permitted other than in exceptional circumstances...to meet a national need which overrides the national policy to protect the National Park" - the final decision may have to be made by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
There are alternative sources of fluorspar to meet national needs, but as the company already has permission to extract fluorspar by underground working - with a risk of surface-collapse for many years, the view was that open cast would be a less damaging and shorter method.
Chair of the planning committee Narendra Bajaria said: "After very careful consideration of all views put to us, we came to the conclusion that open cast would have a net environmental benefit, and therefore it would be more in keeping with one of the main purposes of the Authority, to protect the natural assets of the area as much as possible."
If the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister decides not to call in the application, it will be approved, subject to guarantees by the company covering phased working and restoration, and conditions to reduce impact on the environment, residents, roads, wildlife and archaeological remains.