Quarry expansion plans rejected by councillors
Plans to extend a quarry and to extract materials from the site for another 25 years have been opposed by councillors, but the Welsh Government is considering calling in the decision and may have the final say.
Denbigh Quarry is an active limestone quarry, located to the north of the town.
The permitted site comprises approximately 28 hectares of land with the proposed extension area amounting to a further five hectares.
The current use of the land cited for development is agricultural, used for grazing and pasture. But this land is surrounded by woodland, some of it ancient, including Crest Mawr Woods, and two sites of special scientific interest (SSI).
If the planning application is granted, it will release an additional 4.4 million tonnes of saleable minerals, extending the life of the quarry for another 25 years.
The most recent planning permission was granted on 3 October 2022, allowing the remaining quarry reserves to be extracted until 31 August 2028.
If the application is approved, it will release an additional 4.4 million tonnes of saleable minerals, extending the life of the quarry for another 25 years.
Denbighshire council’s speaker Mair Jones told councillors that 284 residents had already objected to the plans during the consultation process and instructed them that the application should be assessed “as if it were a brand new quarry application”.
She said: “The report states that the nearest residential property is over 250 metres from the proposed extended quarry boundary, outside the recommended 200-metre-buffer zone. There are 24 properties within the 200-metre buffer now. Some properties will be 90 metres from the new boundary. I implore you to think about that.”
She added: “A bill going through Westminster now is proposing a distance of 1,000 metres from homes, due to the toxic effect of mining. A loss of four hectares of the best and most versatile agricultural land in a climate emergency with decreasing food security is a travesty.”
Cllr Delyth Jones, leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Denbighshire County Council, as well as a member of the Planning Committee, has urged the government to “respect” the democratic decision that has been made locally, adding that to do otherwise would be to “demonstrate a disregard for local democracy”.
Cllr Jones said: “The Planning Committee has voted strongly to block the expansion of Denbigh Quarry which would have been bad for the environment, and bad for local people.
“There has been a strong campaign locally opposing the expansion, which would have destroyed versatile agricultural land and would have caused significant harm to beautiful ancient woodland that has been enjoyed by residents for generations.
“It should also be remembered that it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. This ancient woodland is irreplaceable, and we need to do all that we can to protect it.
“The proposal to expand Denbigh Quarry sits outside the boundaries of the Local Development Plan that was agreed by county councillors.
“It is also clear that the increased production of limestone aggregate that would result from the expansion of the quarry is not required for our building needs locally.
“Therefore, the Labour Welsh Government should not call this decision. Instead, Labour Ministers should respect what has been decided by local representatives on behalf of local people.
“To do otherwise would be environmentally destructive, would demonstrate a disregard for local
Breedon Southern Ltd, the company which operates the quarry, says the application will boost Denbigh’s economy, save 100 jobs, and reduce the business’ carbon footprint, negating the need for lorries to transport limestone from England.
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