DC Casebook: Mineral Development - Mine landscape harm judged insignificant

The secretary of state has allowed a proposal by UK Coal Mining Ltd to extract 900,000 tonnes of coal from a site falling partially in the Shropshire Hills area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).

The appellants claimed that the local authority had exaggerated the scheme's potential land- scape impact. They pointed out that only seven per cent of the site lay in the AONB and that this comprised three poorly restored agricultural fields that were hardly distinguishable from undesignated land. The area was affected by previous mineral workings and the scheme would bring substantial benefits in allowing the land to be restored to something approaching its former condition, they asserted.

The secretary of state noted that coal forms an important part of the country's energy policy and saw every likelihood that the need for it to be sourced locally would continue. The opportunity to reduce reliance on imported coal was a significant benefit, he opined. The scheme's impact would be temporary, lasting less than three years, and the overall character of the landscape would be improved, he held. Overall, he decided that the scheme would be in the public interest.

DCS Number 100-064-562

Inspector Andy Mead; Inquiry


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