HC Deb 08 November 1999 vol 337 cc393-4W
Mr. Pickthall

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what discussions he has had on the application to extend Bursting Stone Quarry in Cumbria. [97670]

Mr. Raynsford

The Lake District National Park Authority resolved to grant planning permission for a proposed extension to Bursting Stone Quarry but referred the matter to Secretary of State because, in its view, the proposal constituted a departure from the development plan. After carefully considering all the documents and representations before him, the Secretary of State informed the Authority on 7 May that he had decided to call in the application for his own decision as, in his view, it raises planning issues of wider than local importance which he considers he ought to decide himself. The Secretary of State's legal duty of impartiality prevents him for having any discussions with any party concerning it.

I understand that the applicants have been discussing with the Authority the scope for agreeing a modern scheme of planning conditions for the quarry under the minerals review provisions of the Environment Act 1995 and based upon its existing planning permissions. Further action on the called in planning application is being held in abeyance pending the outcome of those discussions.