from some rudimentary controls, there were no planning restrictions
on quarrying until The Planning Act in 1932 introduced the need
to apply for planning permission in respect of 'development' including
quarrying. However in most cases, quarry companies were granted
permission to work much or all of the land they owned, regardless
of the impact that such operations might have upon neighbouring
properties. These permissions were granted as Interim Development
Orders (or IDOs) by the Interim Development Authority, usually
an urban or rural district council.
The Town and Country Planning Act 1947 introduced further regulations
so that quarry owners (active and inactive) had to define the extent
and nature of their activities. At this point Somerset County Council
became the Planning Authority.
The Act also brought in the concept of Development Plans to
cover the whole country.
The Somerset Development Plan (early 1950s)
allocated areas for future mineral working informed by the extent
of existing permissions, the County Council's own research and
a series of special mineral conferences organised by national government. It is these allocations, based mainly on extensive IDOs, which
determine the areas for mineral working at least until 1970, and
in many instances the core of working areas even today.
In the late 1960s as a part of this process the County Council
embarked on what proved to be the most thorough review of any county
authority into mineral working, in 1971 publishing 'Quarrying in
Somerset'. This study provided input into the newly defined 'Structure
and Minerals Local Plans' for Somerset and Avon.
At the very local level, many matters of contention are settled
by Quarry Liaison Groups, comprising representatives of local people,
the company and various government agencies.