Nearly 200 million tonnes of minerals are produced in the UK each year. These are used as raw materials for a range of energy,
construction, manufacturing and agricultural purposes. Both the availability of minerals and the landscape are influenced by an area’s geology, so the highest quality minerals are often found in
places with high landscape value and there is a concentration of scarce and valuable mineral deposits in our National Parks. As minerals can only be worked where they are found, this often leads to a
conflict between quarrying and National Park purposes.
Mineral extraction has a range of environmental impacts on both local communities and the landscape. These include noise, dust,
blast vibration, heavy lorry traffic, landscape character change, loss of biodiversity, and visual intrusion. Tranquillity and residential amenity are negatively impacted. These impacts are of
particular concern in National Parks, given their statutory purposes. Quarries are generally long-term developments, expected to be in operation for decades, and their impact on the landscape can
last even longer. Even when restoration is undertaken at former quarry sites, it is rarely able to recreate the character of the countryside which has developed over millennia, although it is
acknowledged that many restored quarries become havens for wildlife.
Any planning application for minerals development, whether a new quarry or an extension to an
existing one, is considered to be a major development and in a National Park would therefore be subject to the “major development test”. (This was known as the “Silkin Test” in the earlier version of
the National Planning Policy Framework.) This only allows developments of this scale in a National Park in exceptional circumstances and when they can be demonstrated to be in the public
Despite the high level of protection, there are a number of minerals operations in National
Parks, primarily as a result of old minerals permissions which date back to before these areas were first protected in the 1950s. The Peak District has the most quarrying activity, followed by the
Yorkshire Dales and Dartmoor.
National policy expects there to be a landbank of minerals sufficient to provide 10 years of
historic rates of supply. The YDNPA, as the Mineral Planning Authority, is expected to identify sites in its area where mineral resources are known to exist. There is evidence, however, of a
currently adequate supply of mineral outside the Park.
The YDNPA Management Plan (2013-2018) objective D8 is to “Minimise road haulage
and maximise the use of rail to transport quarry products and commercial timber, including establishing rail links at the three quarries in Ribblesdale and reducing combined road haulage from these
quarries by at least 50% by the end of 2015.”
The YDNPA draft Local Plan (2015-20130), June 2014 version, section L8 “Crushed rock quarrying” states as its preferred option: “We have rejected the option of preventing any new quarrying at existing sites and favour instead an approach that will use new planning permissions to deliver a managed reduction in impact at existing quarries. We intend to do this by permitting extensions in time, area or depth, but only within the existing quarry footprint and only where a scheme will deliver significant overall environmental benefits.” The Publication version July 2015 of the Plan states that such extensions “will only be permitted at those sites where a direct rail link exists or is feasible…. proposals will need to make provision for a reduction in road haulage of at least 50%, based on tonnage limits in place in 2011.”
The major quarries currently in operation in the YDNP are:
|Quarry||Tonnes p.a||Licence Ends||Comments|
|Arcow||350,000||New application pending|
|Swinden||1,100,000*||2030||* by road|
Our aim is to prevent, or at least minimise, the damaging impact of minerals extraction in the YDNP. Our position is that:
What we will do
Everyone is welcome at our events, members and non members - see Upcoming Events for more information. The next event is a a full day free guided walk of about 7 miles starting at Ribblehead Station (train friendly timings) on Thursday 22 February - all welcome - see event entry for more info.
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"it's more beautiful than you realise; the people are open and friendly and have time for you; your phone might not work which is a positive as you'll have more time - slow down and enjoy the silence".
President Sir Gary Verity
Chairman Mark Corner
Canal Wharf, Eshton Road, Gargrave, BD23 3PN.
Charity number 515384.Company limited by guarantee number 1822908