In a written answer to a Parliamentary Question from Neville Trotter, MP for Tynemouth, Mr Baldry said: 'We have today published revised planning guidelines for public consultation for England and Wales. Separate consultations are being carried out in Wales. The guidelines deal with both deep mine and opencast coal and with the disposal of colliery spoil.'
Mr Baldry said the guidelines aim to strike a balance between the economic importance of this indigenous energy resource and the protection of the environment in a way which is fully compatible with the principles of sustainable development.
'The draft guidelines set tough environmental tests for the industry. I am confident that with careful planning and a sensitive approach to local concerns they can come forward with proposals that contribute to economic growth and provide an environmentally sound foundation for the future.'