This is an archived press release
Friday 9 March 2007
9 March 2007
Enforcement authorised over quarrying at Wager’s Flat
The Peak District National Park Authority is maintaining its strong stance over controversial quarrying activities on Longstone Edge, near Bakewell.
The Authority held a special meeting on March 9 to consider enforcement action amid deep concern that the activity at the Wager’s Flat quarry has gone beyond its planning permission.
The Authority is to seek urgent talks with the companies concerned, but if a negotiated solution proves impossible, it gave officers the power to decide when enforcement and stop notices were necessary.
Much depends on the outcome of the related public inquiry into neighbouring Backdale quarry, which should provide an interpretation of the 1952 planning permission that affects them both.
The result of the inquiry – held last month by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate – is expected by mid-May.
The Authority and many in the local community believe that too much limestone is being taken out, and are deeply concerned about the irreparable harm to the National Park landscape.
National Park Authority chair Tony Hams said: “This is a crucial period in terms of the activities on Longstone Edge. We fully understand and share the community’s concern and we believe that enforcement action is undoubtedly warranted.
“Negotiations with the companies are a necessary stage in the process. There is a known mineral vein at Wager’s Flat that can be lawfully worked, and we and the companies have differing views on what that means. We also want the talks to include Beacon Rod, another part of Longstone Edge covered by the same permission.”
In addition, the Authority is having further discussions with the Government towards finding a permanent solution to Longstone Edge quarrying issues. It took National Parks minister Barry Gardiner MP to the site in January and arranged for him to meet local interest-groups.
The landowner at Wagers Flat and Backdale is Bleaklow Industries Ltd and the quarry-operator is MMC Mineral Processing Ltd. Both companies appealed against the Authority’s enforcement and stop notice at Backdale last year, triggering the public inquiry.
The 1952 permission allows “the winning and working of fluorspar and barytes and the working of lead and any other minerals which are won in the course of working these minerals.”
The Authority accepts that limestone comes under the heading of “any other minerals,” but it is disputed how much limestone may be removed and sold off-site.