§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Tony Baldry)
The extraction activities began at Druridge bay many years ago and my right hon. Friend does not have powers to initiate environmental assessments in such circumstances.
§ Mr. Beith
How can it be acceptable for this beautiful beach to be shipped away in unlimited quantities under planning permissions granted by Ministers on appeal 30 years ago? That would never be acceptable today. Since it was central Government, not the local communities, who made the decision to allow that to happen, the Minister surely recognises that central Government must play some part in bringing this disgraceful practice to an end.
§ Mr. Baldry
I think that the hon. Gentleman knows that in the first instance it is for the mineral planning authority to decide whether to revoke the planning consent for extractions and whether such action is warranted.