HC Deb 11 May 1999 vol 331 c104
Dr. Nick Palmer (Broxtowe)

What the response has been to the new guidance on opencast mining from groups who submitted comments during the consultation phase. [82784]

The Minister for the Regions, Regeneration and Planning (Mr. Richard Caborn)

The Council for the Protection of Rural England has written welcoming the new guidance. We have not as yet received any other responses since the guidance was published on 31 March.

Dr. Palmer

As my right hon. Friend will know, there are cynical people out there who tend to have doubts about consultation exercises. When he announced the consultation on mineral planning guidance note 3, a number of my constituents expressed doubts about whether that was genuinely meant. May I pass on the congratulations of many constituents? They were pleasantly surprised by the open-mindedness and creativeness of the Department in responding to their comments and in producing guidelines that are seen as balanced, fair and a good basis for the future.

Mr. Caborn

I thank my hon. Friend for those comments. It was an extremely good exercise, and I welcome the constructive comments on the guidance from Opposition Members who have problems with opencasting in their constituencies. I thank the House generally for the constructive approach to the consultation, which produced a welcome solution to the problem of opencasting. The fact that we arrived at a solution with the support of some Opposition Members is a credit to the House.