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Decision re-affirmed on Tearsall Quarry site

This is an archived press release

Friday 18 September 2009

18 September 2009

Decision re-affirmed on Tearsall Quarry site

A mining company’s application to work a Peak District open cast quarry for six years has been approved for a second time after being reconsidered in light of a legal decision.

In January members of the Peak District National Park Authority decided to allow Glebe Mines to extract 660,000 tonnes of fluorspar ore from Tearsall Quarry, on Bonsall Moor, near Matlock.

It followed an offer by Glebe Mines to give up its rights to quarry minerals at another environmentally sensitive site called Peak Pasture, on the eastern edge of Longstone Edge, near Bakewell, for at least four years while extraction took place at Tearsall Quarry.

Members originally decided that although the Tearsall application was against normal policy for a national park that on balance the offer not to quarry minerals at Peak Pasture provided a bigger overall benefit to the national park landscape.

In March a separate Court of Appeal decision clarified the legal status of various quarries on Longstone Edge, including Peak Pasture, meaning that less limestone could be removed by mining companies to reach the supplies of fluorspar contained within it.

As a result authority members were today (Friday 18 September) asked to re-consider whether, in light of the Court of Appeal judgement, the benefits gained by protecting the Peak Pasture site for four years were still sufficient to warrant allowing the Tearsall application to go ahead.

After a full debate, authority members decided that, on balance, the overall benefits meant the application should still go ahead.

Narendra Bajaria, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “The Court of Appeal ruling reduced but didn’t remove the potential for quarrying to cause serious damage to the landscape at Peak Pasture.

“Even with the new ruling the 1952 planning permission covering Peak Pasture doesn’t require the site to be restored once quarrying has finished. It also contains no conditions covering the scale and extent of working, output of material, hours of working, landscaping or restoration details.

“By comparison the site at Tearsall will be restored in stages as the work takes place and the modern planning permission will only permit the extraction of fluorspar and not limestone.

“So while this is a very finely balanced decision we felt that the likelihood of long-term damage to the landscape at Peak Pasture was sufficient to allow the Tearsall application to go ahead provided Glebe Mines meets strict legal conditions covering the way they run the site.

"We will use the period while Tearsall is being worked to look for longer-term solutions to the problems caused by the 1952 planning permission on Longstone Edge.”

Under the planning permission for Tearsall a legal agreement and conditions will require Glebe Mines to:

  • Ensure the landscape is restored in phases as the quarrying takes place over six years, with another 12 months for final restoration
  • Not to work Peak Pasture while Tearsall is being worked and in any case for a minimum of four years  
  • Guarantee that by the end of 2011 15 per cent of the minerals it processes come from underground rather than open cast sites like Tearsall.
  • Restrict noise and dust pollution and the hours of operation
  • Care for the land for a further 10 years following the completion of the restoration
  • Pay for damage caused to roads by lorries going to the quarry.

Limestone from Tearsall Quarry will be kept on the site and used to restore the land, while fluorspar will be removed. Fluorspar is found within the veins of limestone. It is used in chemical and manufacturing processes for a variety of products, including hospital equipment and refrigerants.

Fluorspar extracted from Tearsall Quarry will be taken to Cavendish Mill, near Stoney Middleton, to be processed.

This is an archived press release

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