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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Quarry public inquiry cancelled
Backdale Quarry
A public inquiry into the quarrying issue was due to open in April
A public inquiry into limestone quarrying in the Peak District has been cancelled - only a few weeks before it was due to restart.

It comes after Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott declared a stop order preventing quarrying at Longstone Edge, near Bakewell, Derbys, to be "void".

The Peak District National Park Authority said it was "extremely disappointed" at the decision.

The stop order was issued to quarry firm MMC Mineral Processing in January.

Other minerals

The authority said it was determined to continue its action against "the unlawful mass extraction of limestone" from the Backdale Quarry, near Bakewell, Derbyshire.

The decision to overturn the stop order comes after a similar order imposed by a local authority on a company in Wales was thrown out by a judge.

We have been working on raising this as a national issue - it is a precedent for dozens of old mineral commissions in parks
Malcolm Wootton, protestor

The government's Planning Inspectorate decided that the Backdale public inquiry, due to restart on 4 April at Calver Village Hall, could not proceed as a result.

Peak District National Park Authority Chief Executive Jim Dixon said: "Although we are extremely disappointed, this decision has not come out of the blue.

"Over recent weeks we have been looking into the legal and financial options open to us, should our enforcement action fail as a result of the case in Wales."

The enforcement and stop notices had been issued against both MMC Mineral Processing and landowners Bleaklow Industries.

MMC Mineral Processing would not comment on the decision.

The current planning permission at Longstone Edge allows the firm to quarry fluorspar and barytes, and limestone only as a secondary product.

'Serious damage'

The authority said that between 2003 and December 2005, 573,963 tonnes of limestone were sold from Backdale and only 11,500 tonnes of fluorspar were extracted.

The 1952 planning permission only allows them to take out limestone in the course of working other minerals.

Protestor Malcolm Wootton said: "We have been working on raising this as a national issue - it is a precedent for dozens of old mineral commissions in parks.

He said quarrying could cause serious damage to the environment and to local roads and bridges.

The government needed to introduce legislation "to protect the natural environment, and the national parks in particular", he added.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See why the inquiry was cancelled



SEE ALSO:
Firm told to stop quarrying work
29 Jan 06 |  Derbyshire
Government backs quarry protest
13 Jan 06 |  Derbyshire
Quarry areas could get cash boost
22 Oct 05 |  Derbyshire
Firm quarrying too much limestone
26 Nov 04 |  Derbyshire


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