§ Mr. Wilson
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will state his policy toward the creation of coastal super-quarries in Scotland.
§ Mr. Allan Stewart
National planning guidelines on the working of aggregates were issued in 1977. These guidelines, which are still extant, acknowledge the economic potential of coastal super-quarry developments and suggest that they could, in principle, be acceptable if damage to the environment is minimised through careful506W choice of location and detailed site proposals. These guidelines, along with others, are under review in accordance with a commitment given in the Environment White Paper "This Common Inheritance" (Cm 1200). A draft national planning policy guideline on "Land for Mineral Working" is to be issued for consultation shortly.
Within the national policy framework it is important that development proposals are considered in the context of up-to-date development plans. These should be prepared by planning authorities in full consultation with the local community and should have regard to the economic needs and environmental considerations of their area. Where the planning authority considers that a development such as a coastal super-quarry is likely to have a significant environmental effect, a formal environmental assessment must be prepared, in accordance with Government guidance issued in 1988.