Quarry permit may be extended for 10 years to mine more stone
OPERATIONS at a Long Ashton quarry could be extended for another ten years.
Tarmac, which owns Durnford Quarry at Longwood Lane, has submitted a planning application to North Somerset Council to extend the time for limestone to be quarried until 2022 along with the continuation of an aggregate recycling operation.
Quarry bosses say that due to the economic downturn, sales of aggregates has slowed and additional time is now needed to extract the stone.
The site was mothballed in 2010 due to the downturn and permission for extracting stone from the site ran out last year.
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Quarry bosses estimate there is less than three million tonnes of stone at the quarry and additional time is now needed to remove it. In 1997 planning permission was secured to extend the life of the quarry and extract ten million tonnes of remaining stone.
With an output of one million tonnes per year it was expected that the quarry would be exhausted by 2004. However, from the mid 1990s onwards production at the quarry continued to decline and by 2008 production had reduced to 250,000 tonnes a year.
This was partly due to a decrease in demand and also the increased use of recycled aggregates which replaced some of the markets previously supplied by primary material.
A spokesman for Tarmac said: "Due to the economic downturn the sales of aggregates has slowed. A planning application is therefore being prepared to extend the time available for working the remaining reserves until 2022."
Stone has been extracted from the quarry since the late 1800s and Tarmac took over the site in 2000.
The stone has been used to produce aggregates, concrete and asphalt mainly supplied to local markets for construction projects including Bristol's Cabot Circus shopping development as well as houses, roads, hospitals, schools and other development schemes in the area.
Long Ashton councillor Bob Cook said he had no concerns about the time extension.
Mr Cook said: "The quarry causes no real disruption for the local community. I have no issue personally with any extension to its time limits for quarrying there."
The planning application also includes a revised restoration plan for the quarry, which sits at Failand Ridge and adjoins Ashton Court Estate.
The revised restoration plan will mean brining in building rubble and other material to fill in the site over 20 years and has been designed with the goal of making it eventually accessible to the public use as part of Ashton Court estate. The restoration is expected to take until 2030.
Paul Hopkins, estates manager at Tarmac said: "We held a public exhibition and met various stakeholders including local residents, parish councillors and officers from North Somerset Council and Ashton Court Estate who have all been very positive regarding the plans."
A website has now been created which details the history of the quarry, its plans and its revised restoration. Anyone wishing to comment on the restoration proposals can do so by sending an email to durnford. firstname.lastname@example.org.