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12 November 2006
Campaigners accuse council of agenda to destroy heritage

Controversy over Yorkshire's 'Stonehenge of the North' - the Thornborough Henges complex, has taken a new twist. Campaign group Heritage Action is accusing the county council of deliberately encouraging the destruction of archaeology surrounding the henges. The campaigners were 'astonished and dismayed' to hear that the council is considering the area as a 'preferred area' for future quarrying. They were particularly surprised because an application by Tarmac Northern to extend quarrying around Thornborough has recently been refused after several protest campaigns. Tarmac is currently appealing against the decision.
     Stephen Cornwell, spokesman for Heritage Action said "It is quite incredible what is going on. Tarmac Northern is appealing against a refusal to extend their existing quarry, yet at the same time North Yorkshire County Council has invited suggestions for further quarrying! It is as if they actively want the archaeology destroyed."  Tarmac and another quarrying company, Hanson, have accepted the offer enthusiastically, suggesting another four huge areas of the Thornborough complex for quarrying.  English Heritage has said it is "extremely concerned about the piecemeal approach" to what it considers an exceptional landscape and which has resulted in "its gradual eating away".
     Heritage Action's Mr Cornwell said "North Yorkshire is set to become a net exporter of gravel so there is no need for further expansion, particularly in an area of such importance. "It seems to us that quarry companies are being invited to progressively dismantle what remains of one of our most significant historic assets - and even to recommend the order in which they do it."  The Council is inviting comments on the issue until 11 November. Responses should be sent to the Senior Minerals and Waste Policy Officer, North Yorkshire County Council, County Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 8AH. Email: mwdf@northyorks.gov.uk

Source: Heritage Action Journal (11 November 2006)

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