A failure to properly consider concerns about a proposed quarry development would be “more than a slap in the face” for residents on the Lizard, says West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas.
Mr Thomas has urged Government Ministers to “look closely” at the proposal surrounding the scheme to reopen Dean Quarry in the parish of St Keverne and Meneage and make sure that Cornwall Council takes seriously the concerns of residents.
Local residents have been fighting for two years to prevent Shire Oak Quarries Ltd reopening the disused quarry in order to supply rock-armour for the proposed £1.3 billion tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, a project which has moved a step closer to becoming a reality after being backed by the Government-commissioned Hendy Review.
They say that although quarrying has taken place at Dean for more than 100 years, Shire Oak’s proposal is to turn it into a ‘super-quarry’ seven times the size of the original operation, extracting up to 1.5 million tonnes a year.
Regular blasting would take place and the rock armour would be loaded on to barges, working round the clock from a new 300-metre breakwater to meet demand.
They fear that the scheme will have an adverse effect on the Manacles Marine Conservation Zone, said by many ecologists to be the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the whole MCZ system, produce considerable air and noise pollution, impact on local food production and fishing and also adversely affect tourism and the local community.
This Friday, January 20, the campaign group Cornwall Against Dean Superquarry (CADS) is returning to the High Court to claim for a new review against Cornwall Council, pressurising them to uphold an earlier decision to halt the development due to a lack of an Environmental Impact Assessment.
In a speech in the House of Commons urging ministers to use their influence to ensure that Cornwall Council gives proper consideration to these concerns, Mr Thomas said: “It is predicted that tourism will be worth in excess of £1 billion over the next 20 years on the Lizard peninsula – industrialising the east coast of the peninsula will decimate these figures.
“We should not, under any circumstances, trade what has become a destination hotspot for holiday makers around the year for noise, air pollution, a scarred landscape and loss of marine diversity.
“I have not seen evidence that the new jobs created at Dean Quarry will adequately compensate for the negative impact on the local tourism industry.
“For years, as our core industries have declined, we have been encouraged to diversify and find new ways to make a living.
“The community of St Keverne Parish has done this and it would be more than a slap in the face to compromise this good work now.
“The publication of the Hendry Review into the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon has made it even more important that the council pay due diligence to the legitimate concerns of local residents.”