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Open-cast Mining

Volume 476: debated on Thursday 22 May 2008

I think that I am grateful for that reply. It was one of the shortest I have ever heard from the Minister, but I hope that he will have contact with UK Coal because, as he may be aware, the company plans to mine 900,000 tonnes of coal in my constituency. My constituents are reasonable people, and I hope that I am a reasonable person, too. We accept that coal has a part to play in Britain’s future energy mix, but does he accept that open-cast mining must take place in appropriate locations, and not in areas of outstanding natural beauty?

The hon. Gentleman has a great reputation for being a reasonable man, and that is why I gave him an accurate and reasonable answer, in plain English. I live in dread of Mr. Speaker reprimanding me for giving answers that are too long. However, I know that the issues to do with open-cast mining are controversial and I discuss them generally with the Coal Authority, although not specifically in relation to his county. We see coal as part of the mix, and that includes open-cast mining, although it needs to be undertaken in the most sustainable ways.