A power company has been given the go-ahead to extract stone from a 200-year-old quarry to help build a new windfarm.
Coronation Power will use Middle Hill Quarry near Shawforth to help build the new Crook Hill windfarm.
At a meeting of Pennine Planning Sub-Committee last Wednesday councillors reluctantly agreed to remove the current limit which allows just 100 tonnes of stone to be quarried each week.
But concerns were raised about the impact excavation will have on natural water springs on the moor.
Whitworth town councillor Alan Neal said: “There are more than 100 properties in the area and they all rely on spring water.
“The danger is that if there is excavation that these natural springs will become contaminated.”
Whitworth Town councillor David Barnes also said his main concern was the effect quarrying would have on the water supply.
He said: “At the moment it is being worked by a cottage industry and they are allowed to take out 100 tonnes a week.
“In reality nothing like this is excavated.
“Although the vehicles on the road will be less there will be more vehicle movements in the quarry and this will cause more pollution.
“It is a very real concern that these people will be without water.”
It is estimated the quarry could provide at least two thirds of the 45,000 cubic metres of stone needed to build roads to the 12 turbines.
Vickram Mirchandani, managing director of Coronation Power, asked councillors to approve the plan.
He said using the quarry will reduce the number of journeys by lorries on the roads around Shawforth and Whitworth by about 4,000.
“The quarry belongs to the lord of the manor who has given us the right to build a windfarm on his land and given us a licence to extract as much stone as we want for the construction of the windfarm,” he added.
“As part of our role as a responsible developer we have identified the potential to source most if not all of the stone needed for the construction of the windfarm from the quarry.
“Sourcing stone would reduce vehicles coming through Shawforth by 66 per cent.”
Committee member Coun Peter Evans expressed concerns about the proposal.
He said: “I think there are a lot of factors in this application that need further examination.
“There is not sufficient evidence or justification to say that water will be protected.
“I cannot support this application.”
Coun Irene Davidson added: “The council needs to make sure that the water is protected and residents are protected.”
But Coun Robert Clegg said the council had no option but to grant permission.
He said: “The pragmatic view is that this will go to appeal if we refuse it and the applicant already has permission for the construction of the windfarm.
“The stone is there. I would rather they used materials from the moor rather than bringing it by road.
“This will happen much against our wishes, your wishes and the people’s wishes.”
The plan was approved by a majority of one vote – on the recommendation of officers who set a condition that the stone quarried is used only for building the windfarm.
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