On the fifth anniversary since quarrying resumed at Longstone Edge in the Peak District, a major coalition including the BMC has warned the Government to ‘act now’ or lose 350 hectares of irreplaceable landscape forever.
This summer marks the five year anniversary that Bleaklow Industries and MMC resumed the mining of a 1952-granted mineral permission at the outstandingly beautiful Longstone Edge in the Peak District National Park. This week, the Longstone Edge Coalition (LEC), an alliance of 8 major environmental and conservation groups, has written to the Government urging DEFRA to provide immediate financial support to the Peak District National Park Authority to halt continued devastation caused by the quarrying.
In a letter to the Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn MP, Ruth Chambers, Deputy CEO of the Campaign for National Parks has urged the Government to “give the highest priority” to saving Longstone Edge. She comments: “The irreplaceable national park land at Longstone Edge has, this year, suffered five years of devastation from quarrying.
“The Government must act now to save this precious land that it is bound to protect, because fresh ground is being cleared for further quarrying.“
She adds: “The Government’s actions towards Longstone Edge are of national significance; a positive response from Hilary Benn would boost this government’s track record on protecting our finest landscapes”.
David Murray, Countryside Campaigner for the Ramblers' Association added “We’ll soon have to rename this beautiful, much walked and cherished landscape ‘Long-gone Edge’ if the government doesn’t step in immediately to help the national park authority stop the demolition. Without funding the authority will not be able to take the necessary action to save Longstone Edge for future generations”.
The Longstone Edge Coalition (LEC) call follows a decision by Government and the Peak District National Park Authority to appeal a recent High Court judgment that left Longstone Edge vulnerable to destruction from accelerated mining activities. The ruling in March 2008 overturned a public inquiry and a ‘stop notice’ served by the Park Authority, to prevent Bleaklow Industries and MMC quarrying at Longstone Edge using a mineral permission granted in 1952. Since then, resumed quarrying has renewed destruction at Backdale on Longstone Edge.
The Longstone Edge Coalition, has welcomed the decision to appeal but has called for urgent revocation of the 1952 mining permission to prevent continued damage. It has called on the Government to prepare a rescue package to meet the costs, warning that the National Park Authority would not be able to meet these without Government support.
The LEC is calling for:
- Revocation of the 1952 mining permission
- Full financial and legislative support from Defra to the Peak District National Park Authority
LEC includes: the British Mountaineering Council, the Campaign for National Parks, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Friends of the Earth, Friends of the Peak District, Plantlife, the Ramblers’ Association and the Save Longstone Edge Group.
The coalition formed in the wake of a recent High Court judgment, which overturned a public inquiry decision in 2007 in which a Government planning inspector had ruled that excessive limestone quarrying at Backdale Quarry on Longstone Edge was illegal and must cease.
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