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19 March 2005
Henges: Tarmac gives moor pledge

A quarry firm has stated that it has no intention to extract sand and gravel from Thornborough Moor (North Yorkshire, England) – home of the historic Thornborough Henges – within the next 10 years. Tarmac Northern is currently quarrying nearby Nosterfield Quarry and has applied to quarry Ladybridge Farm half a mile away from the henges next year. The application has upset archaeological campaigners who say Ladybridge Farm is part of the henges setting and fear Thornborough Moor may be next on Tarmac’s list. But Tarmac declared they will “not be seeking Thornborough Moor to be included for allocation in the forthcoming review of North Yorkshire County Council’s minerals local plan.” The review covers the next ten-year period and is designed to ensure that the county can meet its supply quota to the local construction industry.
     Tarmac Northern company estates manager Rob Moore said the decision was taken after listening to concerns expressed by local people. He said: “Some had mistakenly believed that the henges were under threat from the imminent minerals local plan review and believed that this allocation would be tantamount to permission to extract sand and gravel from beneath Thornborough Moor. We have said time and time again and repeat that the henges, which are scheduled ancient monuments within a scheduled protection zone, are not threatened by quarrying. We hope that this move will help to allay any fears and confusion that people may have in relation to our current planning application, remove the perception that there is time pressure to conserve the henges and allow time for a full conservation plan study for the henges.”
     George Chaplin, chairman of campaign group TimeWatch, said the news was “welcomed” but questioned Tarmac’s commitment to staying away from Thornborough Moor long term. He said: “What we would like is an uncomplicated, unambiguous statement from Tarmac saying they have no intention ever of quarrying Thornborough Moor. That should be pretty straightforward.”
     While John Lowry, chairman of the Friends of Thornborough, said Tarmac’s declaration was 'reassuring', he added: “It is not relevant to the Ladybridge Farm applicati on which is our main concern, I think it is a bit of a red herring.

Source: Knaresborough Today (18 March 2005)

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