A breath of life has been given to Longstone Edge as the House of Lords has refused to hear an appeal against the Peak District National Park Authority's enforcement action at Backdale quarry.
Back in March, the BMC and other countryside campaigners celebrated a legal victory in the Court of Appeal which fell in favour of protecting Longstone Edge from uncontrolled quarrying. However, the landwoner, Bleaklow Industries Ltd, then requested permission to appeal to the House of Lords.
A committee of three law lords has turned down the request, stating: “Permission is refused because the petition does not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance which ought to be considered by the House at this time, bearing in mind that the cause has already been the subject of judicial decision and reviewed on appeal.”
This confirms the meaning of the 1952 planning permission as being how it was interpreted by the Planning Inspectorate in 2007, when it upheld the Authority's enforcement notice - before the decision was then overturned by the High Court and the case proceeded to the Court of Appeal.
The BMC, as the first national organisation to join the campaign against excessive limestone extraction at Backdale, is extremely relieved to hear the news. The BMC hopes now to see the Authority able to reclaim costs, proceed with enforcement action as soon as possible and move forward towards securing a buy out.
Chair of the Authority Narendra Bajaria said: “We very much welcome this decision - and we hope and expect it will speed progress toward a permanent resolution of the problems on Longstone Edge.
"It is a testament to the resolve and expertise of the Authority and its legal advisers. We’d like to thank all those people in the local communities, national environmental groups, MPs and the Government for their active backing of our case.
“We now want to talk directly to the companies involved to find out their intentions. Our expectation is that any future working will be in line with the interpretation of the planning permission given by the Court of Appeal. This is the definitive interpretation which the House of Lords has now said should not be challenged.”
The landowner, Bleaklow Industries Ltd, and operator, MMC Midlands Ltd, may still work under the 1952 planning permission, which is primarily for the extraction of fluorspar in veins within the limestone. Only limited amounts of limestone can be taken off site. Fluorspar is used in chemical products including fluoride toothpaste.
For more see the Park Authority's press release.
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