HC Deb 19 November 1996 vol 285 c830
15. Mr. Barnes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received in the last three months concerning opencast mining planning applications; and if he will make a statement. [3132]

Sir Paul Beresford

My Department has received representations from three members of the public, a firm of solicitors, the Ramblers Association and the hon. Member concerning opencast mining planning applications in the last three months.

Mr. Barnes

Why is the north-east corner of Derbyshire, involving the constituencies of Chesterfield, Bolsover and North-East Derbyshire, bottom of the league when it comes to standard spending assessment per head of population, bottom of the league when it comes to lottery grants, but top of the league when it comes to having its guts ripped out by opencast mining operations and current applications? Should not the rules be changed, so that there is a disposition against opencast mining, rather than the pressure for it from the Government?

Sir Paul Beresford

The hon. Gentleman had better read the changes that we introduced in MPG 3. I will send him a copy.

Mrs. Peacock

Is my hon. Friend aware that the Secretary of State recently visited the Windsor site in my constituency, and that that could shortly become the subject of an application to Kirklees council for opencast mining? Is he further aware that the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) recently visited the constituency to tell local residents that he was the white knight on the charger who would refuse all such applications in the future?

Sir Paul Beresford

I hope that the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) also told the nation how much it would cost to import coal, as we shall not have any.