We are the only membership charity campaigning for the protection and enjoyment of the Dales
 We are the only membership charity campaigning for the protection and enjoyment of the Dales




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 interest.

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
Horton 600,000 2042  
Dry Rigg 350,000 2021  
Arcow 350,000   New application pending
Swinden 1,100,000* 2030 * by road
Ingleton 450,000 2020  
  • Swinden is rail-linked, with about 60% of sales carried by rail
  • Tarmac is constructing a rail siding to serve Dry Rigg and Arcow. The company is committed to a maximum annual road transport of 150,000 tonnes from Dry Rigg from end-2013, and has committed to reducing road haulage from Arcow  to 150,000 tonnes per year once the rail siding is available.


Our Policies


Our aim is to prevent, or at least minimise, the damaging impact of minerals extraction in the YDNP. Our position is that:

  • Ultimately, large-scale mineral quarrying is inappropriate in a National Park.
  • There should be no new major minerals development in the YDNP.
  • There should be a progressive reduction in the impact of existing quarries on the environment, communities and visitors in the YDNP.
  • The use of rail for mineral movement, rather than road, should be actively encouraged.
  • Existing permission expiry dates should not be extended, particularly given evidence of a currently adequate supply of mineral outside the Park.
  • If expiry date extensions are given, then the rail freight provision detailed in points 6 and 7 above should be absolutely mandatory.
  • We acknowledge that closure of quarries at the end of their licenses may have impact on employment and this aspect needs to be manged sensitively. On the other hand we believe that the benefits of reduced quarrying activity will include stimulation of the visitor economy and associated employment opportunities.
  • Former quarry sites should be restored to a high quality and managed for biodiversity, geodiversity, landscape, recreation and amenity benefits and great care should be taken in ensuring that any future economic development on these sites does not compromise these management objectives.

What we will do


  • We will support the Campaign for National Parks in its efforts to influence minerals national policy and minerals industry practice.
  • We will share experience with other NPs with quarrying issues (Peak District, Dartmoor, North York Moors).
  • We will campaign and lobby to modify the YDNPA Local Plan to prevent extensions in time at existing quarries and to make rail freight provision absolutely mandatory.
  • We will review and comment on relevant planning applications.
  • We will open and maintain dialogue with Tarmac and Hanson.
  • We will campaign publicly on the issue, including applauding good practice, e.g. Tarmac’s rail-siding opening at Arcow.


Everyone is welcome at our events, members and non members - see Upcoming Events for more information. We take a break over August, then are back with a full day at Langcliffe on Saturday 22 September - see event entries.

There are many ways to Support our Charity and be a Friend of the Dales, to help keep the Dales special and vibrant for years to come. 

Join us as a member

Make a donation

Leave a gift  in your will

Register as a supporter 

Help as a volunteer at our events

Our Business members are very valuable to us and we thank them all. For a list of all these businesses, or for more information on the benefits of business membership, click HERE

Alastair Humphreys 

Our Patron

says :


"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".

Alastair’s quest for adventure began young. Aged 8, he completed the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge over 26 miles 

Bill Bryson, a supporter, says :

"There isn't a more glorious and beguiling landscape anywhere, or one more deserving of our support. It really is as simple as that"

President Sir Gary Verity

Chairman Mark Corner

Registered Address:

Canal Wharf, Eshton Road, Gargrave, BD23 3PN.

Charity number 515384.Company limited by guarantee number 1822908

Print Print | Sitemap
© Friends of the Dales