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Government boost for National Park quarry fight

This is an archived press release

Friday 13 January 2006

13 January 2006

Government boost for National Park quarry fight

The Peak District National Park Authority’s battle to protect Longstone Edge can continue following top-level talks with rural affairs minister Jim Knight.

The full Authority was told today (Fri Jan 13) that the talks had borne fruit, and Defra would provide support so that the Authority can pursue its case against quarry operations at Backdale, on Longstone Edge near Bakewell.

The Authority welcomed Defra’s backing, which opens the way for a speedy decision on its next action.

For this purpose it has sought further information from the companies involved, MMC Mineral Processing Ltd and Bleaklow Industries, which have been given a deadline of Wednesday January 18.

A final decision on the way forward should then be possible at the Authority’s planning committee, on Friday January 20.

The Authority is proposing to hold a public meeting at Cliff College, Calver, at 7.30pm on January 30 to keep residents informed of the unfolding developments.

Minister Jim Knight will be visiting the area shortly, and said: “The Peak District is a highly-valued and important part of  England’s national heritage and it is because of the significant pressure on the landscape at Backdale that we have taken the decision to intervene in support of the National Park Authority.

“I should emphasise that it is an exceptional set of circumstances which has led to our involvement. I hope that this case will send out a clear message that landscape conservation issues are of great importance to Government.

“I do hope that our support will help the Authority as it works to resolve the situation and bring about a positive and sustainable solution.”

Authority chair Tony Hams said: “We are pleased that Defra has recognised the importance of this issue and is providing financial support to enable the Authority to take further action.

“We’d like to thank the community for standing alongside us on this issue and playing an important role in raising awareness of Longstone Edge at the highest levels of Government.”

The companies have planning permission (given in 1952) to extract vein minerals at Backdale, plus any limestone taken out in the course of working those minerals.The Authority contends the current mass extraction of limestone goes beyond the scope of the planning permission and is therefore unlawful.

The Authority is very concerned that the companies could move their operations to other areas on Longstone Edge within the 1952 planning permission. It is already preparing for what to do in that eventuality.

Meanwhile it is also still going ahead with preparations for the re-opening of a public inquiry over an enforcement notice issued against the companies in 2004. The inquiry was opened and adjourned last September.

Longstone Edge is recognised as a prominent landscape feature within the National Park.

This is an archived press release

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