against Super Quarry
Residents from the peaceful village of St. Keverne,
on the Lizard, are 'up in arms' over the prospect of plans to blast rock
from the re-opening an old quarry that will create a crater, gouged out
through farmland from the coast to the outskirts of the village, so huge
it will alter the landscape beyond recognition.
A protest, being spearhead by an action group,
Community Against Dean Quarry, is campaigning against a business 'enterprise'
using railroading tactics over an issue that has little benefit to the
village, but if allowed to progress, the result will be felt long and
Briefly, a company, Shire Oak Energy, owned
by Mark Shorrock, plan to re-open Dean Quarry to provide rock for a breakwater
for the world's first purpose built tidal lagoon power plant in Swansea.
This lagoon will use the changing tides to harness and generate renewable
electricity. The project depends on the government granting planning
permission to proceed. If granted, the quarry will supply 1.5 million
tonnes of high density gabbro, ideal rock for a tidal lagoon, to its
sister company, Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay in the first year of re-opening.
Compare this to the 200K extracted annually before closing in 2008.
The company have secured ownership of
Dean quarry and existing mineral rights which expire
in 2035. These include the quarry and rock beneath the fields edging
the hamlet of Rosenithon and Roskilly's farm, although at this point,
Mark Shorrock has said that he does not intend to extend extracting rock
from the existing footprint of the quarry. However, The mineral rights
extend inland to within 900m from the school and the village and with
the intent to supply rock for a second and third lagoon it is questionable
that these rights will not be exercised in the future.
Before blasting can commence, planning
permission is being sought for staff buildings and an explosives store
on the site and to demolish the old pier and build two jetties and a
600m breakwater and moorings for the barges. The new jetty would mean
that it would be a coastal quarry with the rock being shipped in barges
so big they require manoeuvring in place by tugs. If this planning consent
is not given, the rock will be transported by lorry through one-car-width,
narrow lanes. My understanding is that TLSB have permission to quarry
rock but need a licence from the Marine Management Organisation to build
the jetties and planning permission from Cornwall Council.
On the face of it, the Tidal Lagoon Project
as a green initiative is a sensible alternative as a renewable energy
sources. But surely, It is out of balance and beyond common sense if
a 'green initiative' results in the destruction of an Area of Outstanding
Natural Beauty. It is madness to disregard the impact this will have
on the community and the countryside from pollution creating noise and
dust, carrying carcinogenic particles, from the constant detonating of
explosives and will be a palpable threat to a place that is peaceful
and remote, with clean air, a beautiful landscape and an amazing marine
environment; so special it has SSSI, AONB and Marine Conservation Zone
The land and sea yield a gentle economic sustainability;
traditional fishing and farming co-exist alongside enterprises that have
started up in recent years harvesting natural resources; the Cornish
Sea Salt , Cornish Seaweed Company, Porthkerris Dive School and Roskilly's
Organic Farm come immediately to mind; with tourism at the heart of the
local economy. A great hole spewing toxic dust will be devastating. Once
the plunder and pillaging begins, the damage is done; one only has to
look at the disfiguring scrap left by the tin mining and china clay industries
Drive through the village of St Keverne, turn
right past the school and continue down the hill; to the left is a narrow
lane that leads to the hamlet of Rosenithon and there's a gate with a
charmingly designed sign welcoming visitors to wander round the ponds,
withy woods and orchards, dense with gunnera and ducks. Paths wind through
an enchanted valley towards the sea. Bear right to Tregellast Barton,
the home of Roskilly's Croust House, selling some of the best dairy products
anywhere from the family's organic, Jersey herd. Keep ahead to Dean Quarry.
Nature has done its best to heal the scarring and it's settled into a
discrete harmony with the habitat. The spoil from previous blasting formed
the beach at Godrevy and I recall many happy school summer holidays fishing
and swimming from the rocks and it wasn't unusual to feel the 'earth
move' with subterranean rumblings at blasting time.
The re-opening of the quarry has caught
the village off-guard and there is a real concern that it's a 'done deal',
unless action is taken quickly. This area of Cornwall, has been an AONB
since 1951 and is protected by the 1949 National Parks and Assess to
the Countryside Act and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. The
organisation has a new website, www.landscapesforlife.org.uk and it's
strap line states that an AONB is exactly what it says it is: an outstanding
landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so precious
that it is in the nation’s interest to safeguard them. Isn't it the responsibility
of Landscapes for Life to ensure that the letter and spirit of these
laws is adhered to?
Cornwall's a poor county but blessed with
riches of abundant wildlife, an ancient history and culture - industrialisation
should not be allowed to profit from a priceless natural asset. We are
custodians of the countryside and it's not an airy-fairy notion to protect
an idyllic way of life, it's what we bequeath to those that follow us.
The action group, Community Against Dean Super Quarry www.cads2015.com has
regularly updated information and is fighting the planning application
every step of the way and needs all the lobbying and support it can get.
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