HC Deb 15 November 1971 vol 826 c29
37. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what consultations he held with local authorities and interests before granting a licence to Seismograph Services Limited to prospect for oil by causing underground explosions near Powerstock, Dorset, designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Mr. Ridley

None, Sir. The grant of a licence under the Petroleum Production Act, 1934, to search for petroleum in Great Britain does not affect the licensee's obligation to comply with any other enactment including planning legislation.

Mr. Digby

Should not the Dorset County Council have been told as these people are alleging that my hon. Friend's Department has already sold to them mineral rights for the whole area and, furthermore, that his Department will give compulsory powers to enter on to any land?

Mr. Ridley

My Department is responsible for granting the licence to explore, but whether planning permission is required for any activity is a matter for the Department of the Environment and for the county planning authority concerned, and I cannot intervene in that situation.

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