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Landscape protection wins the day at Backdale Quarry

This is an archived press release

Thursday 16 June 2016

Backdale Quarry in 2008The long-running uncertainty over Backdale Quarry at Longstone Edge has ended in success for Peak District National Park landscape protectors.

The former quarry at the eastern end of Longstone Edge, a prominent limestone ridge between Calver and Bakewell, has been permanently saved from mineral extraction.

Following a public inquiry held in January this year, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has upheld the Prohibition Order made by the Peak District National Park Authority to prevent the quarrying of minerals or depositing mineral waste over an area of 138 hectares, including Backdale Quarry and nearby Wagers Flat.

The Secretary of State upheld the restoration scheme proposed by the Authority in respect of the Backdale area and the restoration scheme agreed between the Authority and the landowner in respect of Wagers Flat, which now form part of the Order.

The landowner, Bleaklow Industries Limited, will be obliged to restore the land in line with National Park planners’ recommendations to minimise risk from landslips and rockfall, reduce its visual impact in the landscape and benefit ecology. The site contains rare fossils of shark bones so the restoration will need to be monitored by experts.

Peak District National Park chief executive Sarah Fowler said: “This decision brings to an end more than 17 years of complex planning work and legal action. We are very pleased with the final outcome – it protects a significant area of land from mineral extraction and is absolutely the right decision for Longstone Edge and the Peak District National Park.

“Over the years it has involved thousands of hours of staff time and personal effort, a number of successful court cases, as well as the active support and backing from local communities, national environmental groups, MPs and the Government. I’m particularly pleased for the local people who fought such a strong campaign to help protect the landscape and peace and tranquillity of this area.”

Friends of the Peak District, working with the local Save Longstone Edge Group, have been campaigning since 2003 to stop damaging quarrying being carried out at this site, channelling the huge public interest in the case and working with a national coalition of environmental groups to help with a buy out of the site if needed.

The Friends’ lobbying of government, together with the Campaign for National Parks, also brought about the new legislation that allowed the Peak District National Park Authority to serve the final decisive prohibition order.

Director of Friends of the Peak District Andy Tickle said: “We’re over the moon that, after years of hard work by the Authority, the local community and ourselves, we can finally say the fight to save Longstone Edge is over. It really shows the power of partnership and persistence when we have to deal with a really tough planning issue. We just can’t thank everyone who helped enough!”

The National Park’s battle to protect Longstone Edge started in 1999 when legal action began over excessive limestone extraction at the quarry, which was damaging the landscape and in the National Park’s view contravened a 1952 planning permission – this allowed the extraction of vein minerals (mainly fluorspar) found within limestone in this area.

In 2007, a Planning Inspector upheld the National Park’s enforcement notice after an eight-day public inquiry, but this was overturned by the High Court in 2008. In 2009, the Court of Appeal restored the Planning Inspector’s decision to uphold the National Park’s enforcement action and the House of Lords turned down the landowner, Bleaklow Industries Ltd, request to appeal. And, in 2010, the European Court of Human Rights also turned down their request to appeal.

The Secretary of State’s decision just issued (June 2016) brings an end to the planning permission for all mineral working at the site.

Caption: The photograph above is of Backdale Quarry, taken in 2008.

This is an archived press release

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