Quarry inquiry – “important result” for National Park landscape

This is an archived press release

Friday 9 November 2007

9 November 2007

Quarry inquiry – “important result” for National Park landscape

The Peak District National Park Authority has welcomed a public inquiry decision upholding its action to prevent unauthorised limestone working at Smalldale Head quarry on Bradwell Moor.

The Authority had taken enforcement action in 2005, aiming to end harm to the landscape at Smalldale Head quarry, which operates under a 1951 planning permission to work fluorspar and lead.

Limestone needs to be excavated to get at the fluorspar and lead, but the Authority successfully argued that there is no permission for the limestone to be worked for sale and that it should be kept on-site to in-fill the void and restore the land afterwards.

The companies involved, High Peak Spar Ltd and Ernest Hinchliffe Ltd, wanted to carry on working the limestone so that it could be processed and sold, but the Planning Inspectorate dismissed their appeal on all grounds following a four-day public inquiry.

Authority planning committee chair Barbara Wilson said: “We welcome the inquiry’s dismissal of this appeal. This is a very important result for us in our efforts to protect the valued landscape of the Peak District National Park.”

The inquiry was held in November 2006, but the outcome has taken almost a year because it was tied to another appeal against the Authority’s review of the 1951 planning permission. This would have imposed modern working conditions to protect people and the environment, but a final decision on that appeal had to go to the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

In the event, the DCLG decided a further public inquiry would be needed to determine the review, once satisfactory environmental information is provided by the applicant. At present, neither the Authority nor the DCLG have legal power to demand such environmental information, which can delay the updating of old mineral permissions. The DCLG is considering new regulations to give local planning authorities such powers.

The companies, if they wish, have the option to apply to challenge the public inquiry decision in the High Court.

This is an archived press release

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