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22 May 2004
Legal fight over the future of Nine Ladies stone circle

Peak Park bosses and quarry chiefs are locked in a legal battle over the rights to extract stone from a controversial quarry where eco-warriors have been camped for four years. Planners at the National Park Authority listed Endcliffe and Lees Cross Quarries at Stanton Moor (England) as dormant because there had been no significant working in them for many years. But quarry owners are making a legal challenge in the High Court against the listing.
     Park bosses say they are determined to defend the challenge, even though it could leave them with a huge legal bill, in order to uphold their primary purpose of protecting the Peak District's special qualities. Councillor John Bull, the authority's planning committee chairman, said the course of action is essential to reduce the risk of environmental harm to an area that is of nationally-important archaeological and historical interest. "It is absolutely crucial to establish the legal status of the quarries, as this affects our ability to impose modern working conditions on the operations based on the existing planning permission which dates back to 1952," he added. "If we do not defend the challenge, the quarries will be deemed to be 'active' making it more difficult to impose any conditions to limit the effects of quarrying.  "Future working could then lead to significant environmental damage and disturbance to communities living nearby.
     The High Court hearing is currently taking place in London. Protesters set up camp in the quarry four years ago amid fears that new workings could create a landslip and destroy nearby Bronze Age burial grounds, including the Nine Ladies stone circle.

Source: Blakewell Today (21 May 2004)

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