§ Mr. Win Griffiths
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) in undertaking the review of the Minerals Act 1981, what place has been allowed for representation for the minerals industry, local authorities and statutory and non-statutory conservation organisations;
(2) what are the terms of reference for the review now being carried out by his Department of the Minerals Act 1981;
(3) what steps he is taking to consult representatives of voluntary conservation organisations as part of the review of the Minerals Act 1981.
§ Mr. Yeo
The Government announced in the White Paper on the Environment "This Common Inheritance" their intention to review the operation of the provisions introduced by the Town and Country Planning (Minerals) Act 1981, and the compensation arrangements under it. That review is underway and will consider—the nature and extent of the problem, including old permissions, particularly interim development order permissions, and historic dereliction.—the effectiveness of the provisions of the 1981 Act and associated regulations in dealing with these problems, including reviews of mineral working sites, order making powers, level of compensation, and restoration and aftercare conditions.—whether there are solutions or approaches outside the current legislation, including restoration bonds and/or levies.
As I stated in reply to a question by the hon. Member on 17 June, the review is being undertaken by officials with the assistance of a small informal working group comprising three representatives of the County Planning Officers Society and three representatives of the minerals industry. The review, which is already underway, is examining the technical details of the provisions. The Government have no plans to change the membership of the working group. However, interested bodies are welcome to submit representations, and any proposed changes arising from the review will be the subject of full public consultation, including environmental and amenity groups, before decisions are taken.