Environment: Quarry victory in court

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The Independent Online
Countryside campaigners yesterday scored a major court victory which will bring thousands of mining and quarrying sites under the scrutiny of environmental laws before any excavation can go ahead.

Two women, backed by environmental pressure groups, successfully challenged a High Court decision which would have allowed quarrying at what was described as one of Yorkshire's finest limestone landscapes.

The area of Wensleydale above Preston-under-Scar was covered by a 50- year-old planning consent agreed before environmental concerns were understood by planners.

A Court of Appeal judgment yesterday ruled that all these interim development orders should be subjected to a European directive covering environmental impact.

Richard Buxton, a solicitor who represented the two villagers, said after the hearing: "Before it became an everyday issue, permissions used to be granted without a thought for the environment. Sometimes people did not even know about them. New laws required these old permissions to be modernised, with conditions that will minimise environmental impact."

Neighbours Lesley Cartwright and Marilyn Brown, sued North Yorkshire County Council for not ordering an environmental impact statement when the owner of a quarry, developer JB Hall, applied to update the permission on the hill above where they lived.