HC Deb 09 November 1970 vol 806 cc21-2
21. Mr. Cormack

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will refuse permission to the National Coal Board to embark on further projects for opencast mining.

Mr. Ridley

No, Sir. Each application will be considered on its merits.

Mr. Cormack

While I appreciate the reasons behind that reply, may I ask my hon. Friend and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to bear in mind that these areas have suffered significantly in the past, and will my hon. Friend try to make sure that where opencast permission is given, it is a case of "quick in and quick out" and that the areas despoiled are reclaimed as quickly as possible?

Mr. Ridley

The site to which my hon. Friend may be referring has been the subject, I think, of three public inquiries, and it is considered that when the work is finished it will improve the amenities in the area and reduce the amount of dereliction. However, I agree that the sooner the work can be finished, the better for all concerned.