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23 July 2005
Meeting to decide quarrying by henges

Controversial plans to extend a quarry near the neolithic Thoprnborough henges (North Yorkshire, England) have been discussed by county councillors for the first time. Tarmac Limited wants to extend Nosterfield Quarry, near Ripon, to a site at nearby Ladybridge Farm. Campaigners said quarrying the land would disturb important archaeological remains, but Tarmac said the landscape could be conserved while sand and gravel extraction is extended.
     North Yorkshire County Council decided that a separate meeting should be held to consider the plans, which have attracted 750 letters of objection and two petitions with 8,000 signatures. It will take place at 1pm on Tuesday, September 20. A venue has yet to be fixed. Councillors will carry out a site visit on August 4. They also decided that English Heritage will also be given the chance to have its say. However, objectors trying to save the ritual landscape of the Thornborough Henges have been awarded only six minutes to speak in defence of the Neolithic landscape at the main planning meeting.
     George Chaplin, chairman of campaign group TimeWatch, said: "We have six minutes to plead the case for a site that was virtually unknown just three years ago; if we fail it will all be quarried in four years. It will also have an extremely detrimental impact on Thornborough's tourism potential. Earlier this year, more than 1,500 people gathered at the Thornborough Free Festival to show support for the TimeWatch campaign."
     A Tarmac spokesman said: "We believe that the landscape can accommodate conservation of Thornborough henges and continuation of sand and gravel extraction."

Sources: Timewatch.org Press release (19 July 2005), This is the North East (20 July 2005)

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