Peak moor saved from quarry risk

A PEAK District beauty spot has been saved from further damage by quarrying in the latest victory for campaigners.

Work at two quarries near Stanton Moor at Birchover could now be stopped after the Government decided to allow a unique 'swap' between quarry bosses and National Park chiefs.

It means quarrying firm Stancliffe Stone look set to move their works away from the sensitive Stanton Moor sites in return for permission to dig at another site further away.

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It should see the end of an eco-camp which has been pitched at the site in protest since 1999.

Under the terms of the deal local government secretary Hazel Blears will not intervene in the proposed swap which will see the firm's planning permission revoked for the Lees Cross and Endcliffe quarries next to Stanton Moor, and permission extended at the less sensitive Dale View quarry, further away.

Stancliffe Stone were granted a 90-year lease to quarry near Stanton Moor back in the 1940s, before the National Park was set up. Quarrying was then largely a pick and shovel affair, as opposed to the large-scale industrial activity it is today.

But the Lees Cross and Endcliffe quarries lie close to the Scheduled Ancient Monument of Stanton Moor, including the prehistoric Nine Ladies Stone Circle, burial mounds and cairns. The landscape is also valued for its viewpoints, wildlife and walking.

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Graham Jenkins, who has lived at the camp for six years, said: "There are almost mixed feelings now we know the end is here, because this place has become our home.

"But it proves that, if you stick at it, you can preserve an exquisite place like this from the desecration which was proposed."

Three campaigners have died over the years at the camp – one in a fire, another in a river and a third fell over a cliff.

Authority planning chair Barbara Wilson said: "This is another very welcome step along the way to securing the long-term protection of Stanton Moor. Our officers are working hard drawing up the necessary agreements so the situation can finally be resolved for the good of the National Park."