The last day of the Longstone Edge Public Inquiry was a thoroughly depressing affair. The final statements by appellants Bleaklow Industries and MMC left me with the distinct impression that the hired guns have taken over Dodge City. As a result of a poorly drafted planning permission written in 1952 and its subsequent reinterpretation by a highly paid member of the legal profession, Bleaklow industries may well continue to get away with environmental vandalism on a grand scale. Absolutely no assumptions should be made about the outcome of this inquiry.
'We acknowledge that we don't have planning permission for a limestone quarry. However, we are allowed to sell the limestone we dig up while we're mining fluorspar regardless of how much of it there is, and how little fluorspar. So we're going to dig a huge hole, flog off hundreds of thousands of tons of limestone, and sooner or later we'll work a bucketful of fluorspar along the way so that makes it legal, so ner ner ner.'
The sleek bastards even had the nerve to describe that sophistry as 'common sense'." A future as a legal correspondent beckons methinks.
The facts of the case, however, are stark. Little if any fluorspar, the primary focus of the '52 permission, has been sold. Public footpaths and roads have been destroyed, undermined and illegally diverted. None of the quarry workers are local and in fact, the jobs of local workers are being imperilled by Bleaklow's operation because limestone is being sold at a price that undercuts that produced by law abiding quarries. There is no economic imperative for the roadstone from Backdale, demand can be met from existing reserves. Apologists for Bleaklow industries and they're hired assassins, MMC, need to look at the facts. In his closing submission today, the QC for Bleaklow said, and I paraphrase,
"we cannot impose modern interpretations on the 1952 permission."
Guy Keating also reports at the British Mountaineering Council website:
"After 10 days of evidence, lengthy sessions of questioning, and much legal debate, the public inquiry into quarrying at Backdale in the Peak District concluded today with closing submissions from the quarry companies. The outcome is expected within the next 4-5 weeks....... "
Read Guy's report here.