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Volume 958: debated on Tuesday 14 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his general view on applications to dig gravel in areas designated as areas of outstanding natural beauty.

We have said that, in national parks, applications for substantial new mineral workings or extensions of an existing working should be subject to the most rigorous examination because of the serious impact of mineral workings on the natural beauty of the parks. A similar policy is applicable to areas of outstanding natural beauty.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to receive the report from the Countryside Commission on its recent visit to Lymington to assess the effects of the planning application to extract gravel from the area of outstanding natural beauty on Pennington marshes and if he will make a statement.

Consultations are proceeding between the Countryside Commission, the local planning authority, the applicant and other interested parties. I understand that further meetings have been arranged for 23rd November, and we have asked for an urgent report following these meetings.