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Dartmoor quarry wants to carry on extracting

Tuesday, 27 February 2024 07:43

By Guy Henderson, local democracy reporter

Yennadon Quarry near Dousland (Picture courtesy: Google Maps)

National Park Authority considering extension

Dartmoor’s last active stone quarry could be given a longer lease of life if the moor’s planning authority gives the green light.

The operators of Yennadon Quarry at Dousland originally had permission to quarry stone until the end of 2026, by which time the land would have to be restored.

But now Yennadon Stone wants to carry on quarrying until May 2042, and Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) members are being advised to say yes.

They say the development would be in the public interest.

The DNPA meets later this week, and members will be told that delays with an earlier planning permission for an extension meant work on the quarry – close to Burrator Reservoir – started later than anticipated. That means quarrying and then restoring the land cannot be completed by December 2026.

The company says demand for sought-after Yennadon Stone cannot be met if the earlier deadline is maintained, because of limits on the amount of stone that can be quarried each year, as well as a cap on the number of lorries going to and from the site.

The quarry produces stone for walling and landscaping, and 26 jobs would be lost if the quarry closes in 2026.

A report for the meeting continues: “This would have significant ramifications on the local economy through the loss of the economic activity of those employees and the loss of spending by the operator.

“This economy is made up of many small to medium enterprises and sustaining existing employment is as important as developing new employment opportunities.”

The report says demand for Yennadon stone can’t be met in any other way.

And, it adds: “There is a very strong public interest in maintaining the distinctive character and appearance of the built environment on Dartmoor, as well as continuing the tradition of small-scale stone quarrying.

“Yennadon has been part of Dartmoor’s cultural heritage for over 100 years and is the only remaining operational quarry supplying local slate dimension stone within the boundary of the national park.

“Yennadon stone has made, and continues to make, a significant contribution to the character and appearance of the built environment and there is a strong public interest in it continuing to do so.”

Conservation charity The Dartmoor Society supports the application for more quarrying time.

It says: “Yennadon is the last active stone quarry working on moorland Dartmoor, out of scores that once existed. As such, the society considers it a cultural icon and living heritage link to the previous generations of quarrymen who have shaped what is one of the finest cultural landscapes in the world.”

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