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SZ/CME - Commission on Mining and the Environment

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Commission on Mining and the Environment
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In 1971 a group of mining companies commissioned an independent enquiry "in the light of current government measures to stimulate the fuller use of national mineral resources in Britain, the general concern for conservation and the environment and the need to establish the way in which these two objectives can be harmonised, to examine the relevant problems of exploration, mining, continuous rehabilitation and subsequent reconstruction of sites and to make recommendations designed to reconcile economic and technical considerations with other requirements of national policy, especially those concerning physical planning and the environment in terms of amenity, recreation and scientific and historical interest".

The Commission, which it should be stressed was not an official body, was set up against a background of indications that mining companies wished to be able to carry out exploratory drilling in the national parks, and in particular in Snowdonia.

The Commission was chaired by SZ and the other members were: Viscount Arbuthnot, of the Scottish Landowners Federation; Professor C. Kidson, Head of the Department of Geography, University College of Wales; Max Nicholson, of Land Use Consultants Ltd; Professor Sir Frederick Warner, Visiting Professor in Environmental Studies, UCL and senior partner in Cremer & Warner; and Sir Jack Longland, of the Countryside Commission. Land Use Consultants provided the secretariat.

The Commission made 26 recommendations in its Report, published in September 1972, including the making of a distinction between "scout drilling" and other exploratory activities, and the amending of planning regulations in respect of the former. The recommendations did not specifically identify the national parks as needing separate treatment, for which the Commission came in for some criticism in the press.

The background papers are voluminous, as are the drafts of the final Report. The Interim Report was not published and was essentially for the internal consumption of the Commission.

See also correspondence with AMAX in Series SZ/GEN.
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