Council chiefs have unveiled controversial plans for expanding quarrying in Derbyshire.
The plans include a new quarry being formed in Bent Lane, Darley Dale – to be known as New Parish Quarry.
Extensions are in the works for Whitwell Quarry; Ashwood Dale Quarry, Buxton; Aldwark and Brassington Moor Quarry; and Mouselow Quarry, Dinting – which mine for limestone, shale and aggregate.
Meanwhile, new sand and gravel mining sites are planned for Attenborough, near Long Eaton; Chapel Farm, Great Wilne; Egginton; Elvaston; Foremark, near Repton; Foston; Sudbury; Swarkestone; Weston-on-Trent; and Willington.
The proposals near Egginton, Foston and Swarkestone are among 16 sites for new and increased quarrying as part of the Minerals Local Plan – a blueprint for mining developments in Derbyshire up until 2030.
The planned site in Egginton is just 112 metres from the nearest house in the village in Blacksmith’s Lane. Its overall size would be three times that of the village.
Both the county council and Derby City Council, as mineral authorities, are working together to set aside possible sites, and are duty-bound to find sufficient spots for mining and quarrying to meet Derbyshire’s needs.
In a new report on the issue, the authorities concede that quarrying applications “can often be controversial” due to their scale, nature and location.
In the report, council officers wrote: “Minerals such as limestone, sand and gravel, clay and vein minerals are essential raw materials, which are used to provide the infrastructure, buildings and goods that our country needs and which help support economic growth and development.
“The area of Derbyshire has a wealth of mineral resources and has a long history of mining and quarrying which has influenced how the area now appears and functions.
“In some areas, mining and the other industries they supported, created significant numbers of jobs and were an important part of local community life.
“Whilst the decline of the coal mining sector has resulted in a significant decline in mineral-based employment, the local mining industry remains a very important facet of the area and its economy.
“As well as delivering benefits, these developments can generate impacts which could affect our environment, communities, our quality of life and climate change.
“Obvious examples of impacts include noise and dust, lorry movements and even changes to the landscape of the area.
“The two authorities are working together, therefore, to prepare a new Minerals Local Plan, which once finalised, will set out planning policies to help us take decisions on matters such as where, when and how minerals developments should be planned, controlled and allowed up to the end of the Plan period in 2030.”
In terms of quantity, limestone is the mineral extracted the most in the county, with around nine million tonnes mined each year.
This accounts for over 80% of all minerals produced (by weight) within the plan area.
Other minerals produced within the plan area include sand and gravel (9%), coal (5%) and small quantities of vein minerals (mainly fluorspar and barytes), gas, sandstone, silica sand and clay and shale (each less than 1%).
All comments and suggestions will be used to inform the preparation of the Draft Local Plan, on which the council will seek further views later this year, before the plan is published, and then examined by an independent inspector in late 2019.
When adopted, the Minerals Local Plan will provide the main policy guidance for assessing planning applications for minerals developments in Derbyshire and Derby.
The council is holding a series of drop-in sessions throughout the county where officers will be available to discuss the plan.
These will be held at the following locations:
Ripley Library, Thursday, April 12, 11.30am to 6.30pm
Bolsover Library, Friday, April 13, 11.30am to 6.30pm
Long Eaton Library, Wednesday, April 18, 11.30am to 6.30pm
Chesterfield Library, Tuesday, April 24, 11.30am to 6.30pm
Whitworth Centre, Darley Dale, Thursday, May 3, 11.30am to 6.30pm