asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning how much of the 25,799 acres within the area of the Oundle and Thrapston rural district council, for which application has been made for the working of iron-ore, will be by opencast mining.
Closer examination of the maps accompanying the applications has shown that the figure previously given was some 400 acres too high. Of the revised estimate of 25,400 acres it seems probable that over nearly 8,500 acres, where the overburden is less than 100 feet thick, working would be opencast if planning permission were given. As to the remaining area of some 17,000 acres, it is too early to say whether the whole would prove to be workable or, if workable, which method would be employed.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that approximately 25 per cent. of this local authority's area is likely to be affected by this mining, and what steps is he taking to ensure that this beautiful countryside is restored once the mining is completed?
The figures which are given are merely of the total number of applications which are likely to be made over a long period. I have still to consider those applications, and I am not, of course, in a position to say what the decision will be.
Is my right hon. Friend prepared to take steps to ensure that this countryside is restored after the mining has been completed?
That is one of the matters which I have to take into account.