§ Mr. Mason
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek to make changes in the planning requirements which apply to opencast mining applications, so as to prevent further extensions where there have been substantial coal workings in the past or where there is currently coal mining which involves extensive tipping or where there has been environmental scarring of the landscape.
§ Mr. Giles Shaw
Opencast mining applications from the Opencast Executive of the National Coal Board are dealt with by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy. Applications from private operators are subject to normal planning procedures. Individual cases are dealt with on their merits, and this will continue to be the case. The Commission on Energy and the Environment in its report on "Coal and the Environment" published last year recommended the adoption of guidelines on the type of sites which would be acceptable for opencast coal mining. The Government are carefully considering this proposal in the context of their response to the commission's report.