§ Q14. Mr. Wingfield Digby
asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied with the co-ordination between the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and the Secretary of State for the Environment in relation to the issue of prospecting licences for oil in areas of outstanding natural beauty; and if he will make a statement.
§ The Prime Minister
The issue of these licences does not affect licensees' obligations to comply with planning and other legislation.
The granting of planning permission is a matter for local planning authorities in the first instance. Since the Secretary of State for the Environment is responsible for deciding appeals against local decisions it would prejudice his position if he were consulted beforehand. Accordingly, the question of co-ordination between the two Secretaries of State does not arise over the issue of licences.