Backdale – Longstone Edge Update

An update on developments as of 15th May 2006 from BMC´s Peak Access Team and Henry Folkard. A letter from the Planning Inspectorate dated 30th March 2006 conveyed the Secretary of State?s decision on an appeal, made against a Planning Enforcement Notice served on 23rd November 2004, by Bleaklow Industries Limited and MMC Mineral Processing. The Secretary of State concluded that the enforcement notice issued by the Peak District National Park Planning Authority was a nullity. The public enquiry due to resume on 4th April, at which the BMC was to have been represented, was therefore cancelled. It seemed to the Secretary of State ?that the notice (was) insufficiently clear and unambiguous on its face such as to allow the recipients to tell with reasonable certainty what steps have to be taken to remedy the alleged breach of planning control… The view (was) also taken that the notice (was) defective in failing to specify the period of time at the end of which the works set out in the scheme, agreed or imposed, are to be done?. The National Park Planning Authority subsequently imposed a temporary stop notice, which can last for 28 days. Such a notice may be issued where it is believed there has been a breach of planning control and it is expedient that the activity which amounts to a breach is stopped immediately. The temporary stop notice expired on 8th May. On the same day the Planning Authority issued a new enforcement notice and full stop notice. These prevent any new activity on the site for the time being. It may be that Bleaklow and MMC appeal these notices, in which case a date will be set for another public enquiry. Alternatively, resolution may be sought by all parties in the High Court to determine the actual meaning of the disputed 1952 planning authority 1898/9/69 which allowed for ?the winning and working of fluorspar and barites and for the working of lead and any other minerals won in the course of working these minerals?. In the event that the case is ultimately determined in favour of Bleaklow and MMC the Planning Authority will be liable for substantial claims for loss of income and legal costs from those parties. The implications and significance of the final determination will however reach far beyond the confines of the Peak District and be of national significance. The fight to prevent the progressive destruction of the National Park had been led by the Save Longstone Edge Group (SLEG), Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), British Mountaineering Council (BMC) and many individuals. Local parishes have been represented through SLEG. It is particularly sad that at this critical juncture SLEG should have apparently decided, on a 4 to 3 majority vote at a meeting of its directors on or about 11th May, to wind itself up as a result of tensions within the Group. Behind the scenes the BMC had offered to help in any way it could to resolve these tensions, but no invitation to do so was forthcoming. It is very difficult to see that this decision on the part of the SLEG does anything to further its very worthy objective of preserving the landscape of the National Park. It seems likely that SLEG will issue a final newsletter and contributors will be given the option of having donations returned on a pro rata basis or passed to CPRE/ The Friends of the Peak District. But there may yet be several twists and turns before future development become entirely clear. CPRE and BMC have acted independently of SLEG and each other throughout the campaign, and will continue to do so. And so too should all the individuals who care about the potentially dire and irreversible consequences of quarrying at Backdale to the landscape and the economy of the National Park. Everything individuals can do to keep the matter in the public eye and support the National Park Authority in its resolve to do all it can to preserve the Peak District National Park will be of immeasurable value.There will be a verbal update at the next BMC Peak Area meeting on 15th June, 8.15pm, at the Whillans Hut, the Roaches- or sooner if there are any newsworthy developments. The white line represents the proposed extension to Longstone Edge quarry. Courtesy of the ———————————————————————– If you have any news worth reporting please contact Matt – / 0114 2969114 ———————————————————————–