CONFLICT OVER THE USE OF A RESOURCE.
· Topley Pike Quarry is in the Peak District National Park. It lies just south of Buxton, in Derbyshire.
· The Park is 69% privately owned. 18% is owned by the water authorities, 11% by the National Trust, 4% by the Local Authority, and 1% by the Forestry Commission.
· The major use of the park is for recreation, especially for day trippers. 18.5 million visitors are estimated to use the Park annually. The three major conurbations of Merseyside, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester are within 100 km, and 27 million people live within three hours drive of the Park.
· 55 reservoirs in the Park feed the major conurbations.
· There are 2,436 small farms, usually pastoral.
· The settlements in the park provide homes for 38 000 people; some residents, some commuters, and some who have second homes.
· 6 million tonnes of limestone are produced p.a. in the Park, as well as a similar amount of shale fluorspar.
· Tarmac sought planning permission to extend its Topley Pike limestone quarry, one of four, by 7.7 hectares.
· The quarry specialises in limestone aggregates and coated road stone, principally for the markets of north west England.
· The quarry, plant, and tipping area consists of 39 hectares. 49 people are employed within the quarry, and about 60 lorry drivers transport the stone.
· The quarry’s 1983 approved resource will last until the early 1990s. Proposed extension would have a life of about 16 years, and a total output of around 7 million tonnes.
A list of the Proponents can be found as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet labelled “Topley Pike Proponents”.
(1) In favour of the quarry extension;
· Limestone has been quarried in the Park since pre First World War, and steady expansion of the works has been allowed.
· It has brought employment to the area, and environmental impacts have been minimised. These facts cannot be disputed, can they?
· The proposed extension would use existing roads, and only bring a small increase in road traffic. 30% of the exports would be transported by existing rail systems.
· The quarry would be landscaped, and a tree screen planted to conceal the quarry from the local hamlet, King Sterndale.
· Pollution would be subject to stringent controls. The hole created could be filled with refuse from Greater Manchester, which needs tipping space.
· Quarry is on the western border of the Park. As such, it would have very little impact on recreational users.
· 1983 levels of employment levels be safeguarded until at least 1998.
· Supporters; quarry employees, lorry drivers, Tarmac, local landowners, possibly Greater Manchester council because of the proposal for tipping space.
(2) Against the quarry extension;
· There is no local or national need for the stone.
· The extension would eliminate any “natural landscape” around Buxton.
· Deep Dale is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), because of the rare plants contained within it.
· The area is covered by a network of public footpaths which would be truncated.
· King Sterndale would effectively be encircled by quarries.
· Opponents; local residents, tourists, conservationists, Council for the Protection of Rural England, Friends of the Earth and the Countryside Commission.
· The issue was decided by the Peak Park Planning Board (PPPB). It was charged with oversight when the park was created in 1951. It contains representatives from all the councils within the park, and a Department of the Environment official.
· In the Topley Pike case, it applied the four crucial tests which are at the heart of the PPPBs policies;
a) Will it cause unacceptable damage to the qualities of the Park?
b) Will it generate traffic problems?
c) Is there an overriding national need?
d) Are there practical alternatives?
· In February 1984, the PPPB refused planning permission for the quarry extension, because it did not fully satisfy the four test.