Nosterfield Quarry: Plans unveiled to extend life of North Yorkshire quarry by seven years despite concerns over lorries on rural roads

Plans have been unveiled to extract a further one million tonnes of sand and gravel from a quarry in an area where there are concerns over the impact of rising numbers of HGVs on rural roads and communities.

Tarmac has lodged a proposal with North Yorkshire County Council to extend the life of Nosterfield Quarry, near Masham, by seven years to 2031 as the authority continues to examine Lightwater Quarries’ plan to extend and restore the nearby Gebdykes Quarry, which could see the daily number of HGV movements rise from 138 to 206.

While documents submitted by both companies state no mitigation measures would be needed, unless delivering locally, the cumulative impact of the proposals will be scrutinised as most lorries from both extended quarries would travel towards the A1(M) along the B6267.

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As Tarmac’s plans have only recently been submitted community leaders said they had not yet formed a view over its potential impact.

The quarry is near Masham

However, they said it had been noted the firm’s proposals would see many more HGVs for years to come on the rural roads than if Nosterfield Quarry stopped being worked in 2024, as agreed in its previous planning permission.

Bedale division councillor John Weighell said while the roads in the area were already much used by HGVs, the industry was important for the area, so any potential issues for the road network would need to be carefully considered.

Agents for Tarmac its proposed 40-hectare Oaklands extension to Nosterfield Quarry would be worked between next year and 2027, producing 250,000 tonnes a year, before a further 470,000 tonnes of the mineral beneath the current plant site would be extracted until 2030.

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These phases would be followed by final restoration of the quarry, which is near the ancient monument complex of Thornborough Henges. That work would overseen by a group including English Heritage and the county council before the end of 2031, according to the documents.

The papers state: “Restoration to date at Nosterfield Quarry has been primarily nature conservation-based, but with a guiding principle of enhancing the understanding of the history of the area and its evolving landscape.

“The group oversees the management and development of the wider area, including the western end of the quarry, and the Thornborough Henges to ensure that archaeological understanding, nature conservation, and public access are all managed in a unified manner.”

Tarmac’s agents said all lorries would use the quarry’s existing access onto the B6267 and that there would be no change to the volume of traffic entering and leaving the site, where ten staff are employed, alongside scores of contractors and hauliers who rely on work derived from site.

The papers state: “In terms of road haulage, the extension would see a continuation of the existing haulage operations that result, on average, in 88 vehicle movements per day, which equates to eight vehicles per hour.

“Overall, it is considered that the proposed development can be accommodated on the surrounding highway network without significant impacts and no mitigation measures are required.”