This is an archived press release
Tuesday 17 October 2006
17 October 2006
Top-level briefing on quarrying in national parks
Rural affairs minister Barry Gardiner said he wants to work with the Peak District National Park Authority to find a long-term solution to the issue of quarry-damage to Longstone Edge, near Bakewell.
National Park leaders met Mr Gardiner in London yesterday (Oct 16) to seek Government support for more effective ways of tackling old quarry permissions that threaten high-quality landscapes.
Major concern is focused on Backdale Quarry, Longstone Edge, where the operators were working under a 1952 permission until the Authority served a stop notice to halt limestone extraction that it considered excessive earlier this year. A public inquiry is set for February 2007.
Such older permissions are open to interpretation, but the Authority believes it is primarily for the extraction of vein minerals such as fluorspar and barytes. The operators have now commenced working at neighbouring Wager’s Flat, under the same permission.
Authority chair Tony Hams, planning committee chair Narendra Bajaria and chief executive Jim Dixon met the minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Afterwards Tony Hams said: “Mr Gardiner said he wants to work with us to find a long-term solution. We are continuing dialogue, but we have more work to do before these matters can be resolved.
“Implicit in that is a recognition that this is a national issue. National parks’ prime purpose is to conserve and enhance the environment, and Authority members continue to see the long-term solution of problems on Longstone Edge as a top priority for the National Park.”
Defra agreed some extra funding earlier this year to help the Authority to pursue clarification of the Backdale permission through a public inquiry. The Government has also said it will consider strengthening the legislation next year.
Nearly 200 people attended the Authority’s public meeting on the issue last month.
The Authority is continuing to explore all options for a permanent solution to the problems on Longstone Edge.