WAKE-UP CALL TO PROTECT THE COUNTRYSIDE FROM LARGE SCALE MINERAL DEVEOPMENT ISSUED BY CAMPAIGN GROUP
PR 2012 -15 28/1/12
Does a company want to dig a big hole near you? Is it interested in trying to extract sand, clay. gravel, stone or coal? If it is, and the site is going to be more than 100 hectares, then why not suggest to the owner that they can sidestep going to the Local Authority and have the planning application considered by a new ‘fast- track’ method. Label it a ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project’ and it can then be decided on, in a year, by a Planning Inspector who, unlike local people and locally elected representatives, will not know the site, will not be affected and will not know you.
Far- fetched ideas? Unfortunately not. These ideas are part of the proposals in the Government’s Growth and Infrastructure Bill now before Parliament. It will enable secondary legislation to be passed that, in its present form , will allow an applicant to by-pass the local democratic decision making process and have their application treated as a Major Infrastructure Project. The Government have initiated a public consultation process on the proposal entitled ‘Nationally significant infrastructure planning: extending the regime to business and commercial projects: consultation’ which can be downloaded from here.
The Loose Anti Opencast Network (LAON) has analysed what the effect would be if the legislation was in place now on opencast mine proposals. There are 11 possible or actual proposals for opencast mines in England currently. Under these proposals, decisions about the four largest could be taken out of the hands of the Local Authority and given to a single unelected person to decide.
Our Briefing Note “ Growth and Infrastructure Bill: Proposed 100 Hectare Threshold” published along with this Press Release @
outlines further why The Loose Anti Opencast Network argues against this proposal and urges other community and environmental groups to urgently study these proposals and voice their objections.
All responses, on forms provided in the consultation document, have to be in by 7/1/13.
The Loose Anti-Opencast Network (LAON) has been in existence since 2009. It functions as a medium through which to oppose open cast mine applications. At present LAON links individuals and groups in N Ireland (Just Say No to Lignite), Scotland (Coal Action Scotland), Wales (Green Valleys Alliance, The Merthyr Tydfil Anti Opencast Campaign), England, (Coal Action Network), Northumberland, (Whittonstall Action Group, Halton Lea Gate Residents)) Co Durham (Pont Valley Network), Leeds, Sheffield (Cowley Residents Action Group), Kirklees, (Skelmansthorpe Action Group) Nottinghamshire (Shortwood Farm Opencast Opposition), Derbyshire (West Hallum Environment Group, Smalley Action Group and Hilltop Action Group) , Leicestershire (Minorca Opencast Protest Group) and Walsall (Alumwell Action Group).
Steve Leary LAON’Ss Co-ordinator, at email@example.com
You can now follow LAON on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/Seftonchase