The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Planning and Environmental Impact Design: from EIA to EID
Chapter: Chapter 6 Mineral working, planning and design

Good landscape planning for restoration

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Conclusions on the landscape of mineral planning

With good landscape planning, a better after-use can be achieved at a lower cost. The fundamental principle underlying landscape planning for the minerals industry may be stated as follows: permission to win and work minerals should not be given unless it can be demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that, for the community, the postï¾­mining landscape will be at least as useful and/or at least as beautiful as the preï¾­mining landscape. In order to satisfy this principle, the following measures may be necessary: -mining equipment should be used to shape the land for a range of possible after-uses -a healthy ecosystem should be established on the land -arrangements should be made for the land to pass into public ownership when mineral operations have ceased and the land returned to health -the community should decide the after-use and reap the profit In some cases it will be appropriate to reï¾­establish the former land use and conceal the fact that mining has occurred. But, as an American mining engineer argues, 'it seldom is economically or physically desirable to restore land exactly to its preï¾­mining condition' (Cummins 1973: Section 19-3). Everything depends on the location of the mine, on its physical characteristics, and on the range of possible afterï¾­uses. In the Peak District National Park the planning authority aims, for fluorspar workings, 'to recreate what was there before', but for limestone workings the aim, 'is one of creating a new landscape' (Caisley 1980). The latter requires close attention to the aesthetic aspect of quarry design. Aesthetic issues should never be underestimated: the author of a book on 'possibly the longest, most expensive, and most complex environmental dispute in history' believes that 'the Reserve Mining controversy had its genesis in objections to the aesthetic impact of Reserve's operations on the Lake Superior environment, yet few environmentalists were willing to rely primarily on aesthetic arguments in their case against Reserve' (Bartlett 1980: 219). Since the environmentalists won, Chief Executive Officers should have this observation written into their diaries. Landscape planners, when working on EID for the mineral industry, have three main roles. First, to advise on which approach to the landscape of industry is most appropriate for each aspect of an operation. Second, to be involved in the detailed operation of the mineral workings. Third, to plan an afterï¾­use for the land. Every author to have investigated the problem has reached the conclusion that a better afterï¾­use can be achieved at a lower cost if adequate preparations are made during the working life of the mineral operation ï¾­ however long they may be. It is now common for shortï¾­life mineral operations to be preï¾­planned, though surprisingly few examples are good enough to serve as patterns for future projects. Even fewer mediumï¾­ and longï¾­life mines and quarries have been successfully reclaimed but the same principle applies. Environmental standards are rising and it is important to phase longer term operations so that reclamation plans can be revised as circumstances change.