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Quarriers dismiss National Park risk

MATERIALS

AGGREGATE producers and quarriers have hit back at claims that mineral extraction planning permissions are threatening National Parks.

A report by environmental protection charity the Council for National Parks highlighted 20 old planning permissions in National Parks across England that it claimed could operate without having modern environmental conditions placed on them. It warned that a further 33 sites could be opened up over the next 40 years because of planning permissions for quarrying that had been granted in the past.

Rachel Reeves, senior policy officer of the Council for National Parks, referred to the old permissions as 'ticking timebombs'and claimed they could bring 'disastrous consequences for landscape, archaeology and nature conservation in our finest countryside' But Peter Huxtable, secretary of independent quarrier body the British Aggregates Association, said the claims were misleading, and added that local authorities could intervene in cases where operators were working outside modern guidelines.

He said: 'Where there may be problem sites operating these are rogue companies that require strong enforcement action from the authorities.They are flouting the law and then it becomes an issue for the authorities.'

Mr Huxtable added that the current planning regulations for quarries were already some of the most stringent in the world.

He said: 'The system is too stringent.

What we need is for it to be simpler and more flexible.'