Andrew Bridgen, newly elected MP for North West Leicestershire wants to see the rules governing opencast mining applications changed. Mr Bridgen, a long time supporter of the campaign by the Minorca Opencast Protest Group (MOPG) to prevent a new application for an opencast mine succeeding in Leicestershire, has used his opportunity to introduce a Private Member’s Bill into the House of Commons that would prevent applications for such mines as that proposed on the Minorca site from being made.
The Bill, the “Planning (Opencast Mining Separation Zones): Bill to require planning authorities to impose a minimum distance between opencast mining developments and residential properties; and for connected purposes” will be formally presented in the House of Commons tomorrow. (1)
The intention of the Bill is to introduce a 500 metre separation zone between areas to be open casted and areas of settlement. If the Bill was now law, this would make the current Minorca application illegal as we have two houses within 30 metre of the site, many within 100 metres and the edge of Measham less than 350 metres away.
Last year MOPG raised this issue during Leicestershire’s County Council elections after discovering that English Planning Guidance did not seem to afford local communities the same degree of protection as communities in Scotland and Wales enjoyed.
Steve Leary for MOPG said
“When Andrew first told me last week of his intention to introduce such a Bill I was overjoyed. His action will bring a national focus to an issue that does not just affect people living in Leicestershire, but in many other counties in England as well. We know of groups in Northumberland, Co Durham, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire, Warwickshire and Telford and Wrekin who all face similar proposals, who will also be delighted that at last someone is going to take action to right an injustice that affects so many.
This will be a major boost to our campaign and should reinvigorate the degree of opposition to the Minorca Colliery Surface Mine Application. In addition, we hope that those people who think that this application is a ‘done deal’ will have to think again about the value of protesting. This shows that it is worth doing it as you never know what might happen.
We know there is a long way to go yet to get this Bill passed, and indeed our own application may have been decided on before we know whether Andrew’s Bill has a chance of becoming law. But we will be working with him all the way and wish him every success with this initiative.”
To help people to understand some of the issues involved MOPG have prepared two sets of Briefing Notes to introduce people to the issues and arguments.
” Briefing Note 1: 500 Metre Buffer Zones” explains the origin of the 500 Metre Buffer Zone around Opencast / Surface Mines in the United Kingdom, firstly in Scotland and then in Wales. It then chronicles attempts made, so far unsuccessfully, to have a similar policy introduced in England.
“Briefing Note 2: Arguments in Favour of 500 Metre Buffer Zones” outlines arguments on why such a reform in planning law is necessary. They are both available from our web site at:
1) To check that the Bill is to be introduced tomorrow see:
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS PRESS RELEASE CONTACT:
STEVE LEARY, SPOKESPERSON, MOPG
4 GREENFIELD ROAD, MEASHAM, SWADLINCOTE, DERBYSHIRE DE12 7LB, tel 05601 767981, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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