The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority will meet on Tuesday (Jun 15) to consider Tarmac’s proposal to extract 4.4 million more tonnes of gritstone from Dry Rigg Quarry, near Horton-in-Ribblesdale, before restoring the area in 2035, with a 225-metre deep lake that would take about 30 years to fill.
The firm says extending the 26-hectare quarry’s life would secure the jobs of 17 on-site staff and 19 hauliers, as well as bolstering employment in businesses serving the site.
Dry Rigg is one of four quarries in the north of England which supply high Polished Stone Value aggregates, which are used in maintaining skid resistant roads.
An officers report to the meeting states: “If Dry Rigg closes, replacement supplies from alternative sources in the UK or overseas would, for the most part, be likely to involve greater transport distances, with less availability of rail haulage and a correspondingly increased carbon footprint. ”
However, the proposal has attracted numerous objections over the impact the quarry has on some of the national park’s most dramatic landscapes and the amount of dust that is created by the operation.
The officers report states the scar created by quarrying of the hillside is already visible from a wide area and “has a significant and adverse impact on the appearance of this part of Ribblesdale”.
Horton in Ribblesdale and Austwick parish councils have both highlighted how residents have been affected by dust since the quarry was given its last operations extension in 2012.
A spokesman for the Friends of the Dales campaign group highlighted “the apparently never ending postponement to the end of operations and the restoration of the site”.
He said: “At a meeting in November 2012 a director of Lafarge Aggregates and now a Tarmac Director stated that that the permission granted in February 2012 included all workable reserves at the quarry and they would not seek to work any additional rock at the site.
“The objection is based on the proposal being major development in a national park and as such should only be approved in exceptional circumstances.”
Nevertheless, recommending the scheme be granted, officers said measures had been proposed to compensate for the impacts, such as an annual environmental fund payment of £35,000 to the authority.
The report concludes: “On balance, it is considered that the main impacts, other the continuation of the current visual impact, could be mitigated or compensated for and therefore it is recommended that permission is granted subject to strict controls and mitigation measures.”