Derbyshire quarry could operate for an extra 12 years despite noise concerns

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A Derbyshire quarry could operate for an extra 12 years despite noise concerns, under plans that have been sitting in limbo for more than six years.

The plans, filed by Slinter Mining Company, would see Slinter Top Quarry, northwest of Cromford, extended by around six acres and operational for a further 12 years.

Its plans were filed to Derbyshire County Council in August 2017 but are only now set to be decided, with the authority’s officials recommending approval.

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When the quarry owners had filed their plans in 2017 they said the site was scheduled to cease quarrying operations at the end of 2021 ahead of restoration works being completed before 2032. It applied to extend quarrying up to 2033 and to restore the site by 2037, with an extra 1.32 million tonnes of limestone to be mined at a rate of 100,000 tonnes per year.

Slinter Top Quarry, north-west of Cromford, is set to be extended.Slinter Top Quarry, north-west of Cromford, is set to be extended.
Slinter Top Quarry, north-west of Cromford, is set to be extended.

A total of 50 letters have been written to the county council over the plans, with all but one objecting to the scheme.

They raise concerns primarily over “unacceptable” noise and dust, along with the visual impact from footpaths near the site; impact on the local amenity, tourism trade and the Peak District National Park; and the alleged lack of minerals within the planned extension.

The application details that the quarry currently supports 24 full-time employees and that these roles would be safeguarded with the approval of an extension. It details: “The applicant is an important local business, supplying minerals for use in the manufacture of ready-mixed concrete and asphalt for the building and construction industries.

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“(The application would continue) the supply of nationally important vein minerals, reducing reliance upon importation from abroad. To this end, vein materials are considered to be of national importance, contributing to the economy at a national level.”

In its application documents, the quarry owners wrote: “The current situation at Slinter Quarry is that the quarry workings have reached their maximum lateral extent and without an additional consent, the remaining reserves will be exhausted within one year.”

They write that the negative impacts of the development can be mitigated through planning conditions – which is backed by county council officials. The nearest cluster of houses to the site is around 450 metres to the west, the council details.

Noise at the nearest properties ranges from 35 decibels to 43 and this could rise to between 43 and 46, the council details, with acceptable levels ranging from 45 to 53 decibels. It writes that all properties would likely experience noise within acceptable levels.

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Council planning officials, recommending approval, write: “The proposal represents an efficient means of obtaining mineral resources including scarce vein minerals, and the benefits which that supply entails. I do not consider that there are any material considerations that would outweigh the benefits.

“I acknowledge that there are some unavoidable medium-term impacts on landscape and visual amenity and negligible impacts on heritage assets, and I also note the concerns in relation to the potential effects of noise.

“However, I am satisfied that the measures set out in the environmental statement, together with the requirements of the relevant proposed conditions, would ensure that the environmental effects of the development on nearby sensitive receptors would not be unacceptable.”