Steel firm to say ta tato Shap quarry plan?
TATA Steel plans to withdraw its proposals to deepen and widen part of Hardendale quarry, near Shap, in order to recommence limestone quarrying below the water table.
The company has now issued a consultation document on restoration of the site.
Campaigners against the plan, which they say would have affected natural water supplies to homes and farms in places such as Crosby Ravensworth, are thrilled with the decision.
Eden councillor John Owen, who has collated reams of evidence showing how springs and other water sources had dried up in the past due to quarrying, said: “I’m thrilled. In terms of safeguarding the environment and safeguarding the livelihoods of farmers in Crosby Ravensworth, it gives them security for the future. Some of them rely entirely on spring water supplies and have no mains water at all.”
He said the focus now needed to be on how the company would restore the site and make it safe for the community.
“It is going to be restored over a period of 18 years and we have got to be very careful how it’s restored,” said Mr Owen.
“Children get up there and there is quite an area of very deep water which will be left, so it is a matter of extreme safety for the public.”
The consultation on the restoration is open only until 25th September and Tata will be hosting open days on its plans on 18th and 24th at the works site.
A spokesman for the company said: “We are looking at dropping the application to deepen the quarry. However, it is important to note this will not affect our operations or employment at Shap.”
Limestone has been quarried from Shap Fell since 1962. The quarry is east of the M6 and the works site to the west, with limestone transported between the two.
The consultation document states that while production will continue at the works, use of the quarry has lessened in recent years. A previous restoration plan was approved in 2008, but this is said to be “no longer viable or environmentally preferable, as it would involve draining the water and infilling of the large waterbody void”.
The updated restoration plan consultation can be viewed at http://www.shapfellconsultation.co.uk and people who want to attend the open days need to register via that website.