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National Parks: Quarrying

Volume 691: debated on Wednesday 25 April 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will take steps to stop permanently quarrying at Backdale Quarry in the Peak District National Park. [HL3210]

It is for mineral planning authorities in the first instance to consider whether quarrying at any particular mineral site should be stopped permanently. This may be done at working mineral sites by the making, subject to confirmation by the Secretary of State, of an order revoking the mineral planning permission. Because extant planning permissions are property rights, they cannot be removed without the payment of compensation for lost mineral production. This can be very substantial.

As the noble Lord may be aware, mineral extraction at Backdale Quarry is currently temporarily stopped by a notice issued by the Peak District National Park Authority, the mineral planning authority for the park. It is my understanding that this notice will remain in place until the outcome of current enforcement action in respect of the extent of limestone extraction.

It remains open to the Peak District National Park Authority to decide whether this particular permission, or any other, should be revoked to stop mineral extraction permanently. Decisions about revocation of mineral permissions must be made on the basis of all the relevant facts and planning issues, including consideration of the contribution the many mineral sites in our national parks make to our national mineral supply. The authority would also need to consider the resource consequences of any revocation.