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Peak District's industrial landscape preserved

A landscape of ancient lead mining remains has been spared the scar of a modern quarry, thanks to the hard work of CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire...

The inspector at a public inquiry has rejected an application by the Slinter Mining Company Ltd (now part of Marshalls plc) to extend extraction of fluorspar at the Tearsall Quarry on Bonsall Moor. The site lies close to the Northern Dale lead mines, an ancient monument that attracts many visitors. Quarrying so near this tourist area would introduce 'an alien feature, a visual scar in the same vista', argues Andy Tickell, senior campaigner for the branch. The inspector agreed. 'Rarely has an argument for the preservation of industrial heritage been so successful against quarrying in this area', Andy says.

It is also the first time that a presumption in favour of extracting fluorspar has been overridden. Production of this source of fluorine is regarded by the Government as being in the national interest because of fluorine's industrial uses. Inspectors argued, however, that the small amount of the mineral that would be quarried here was insufficient to outweigh the presence of the lead mines.

It seems that tourism and preservation of ancient remains have become factors in quarrying decisions.This result also illustrates a trend towards good practice in quarrying in the national park.

'Tearsall was very badly run for years,' says Andy. 'There were consistently more lorries per day than the allowance.'

Irresponsible operators face difficulties in getting permissions for quarrying: companies need to make a commitment to good landscape restoration in order to have applications granted.

Slowly, quarrying in the Peak District is becoming more environmentally responsible. Perhaps this result signals a growing respect for heritage, too.