A Derbyshire quarry is set to have its planning permissions revoked so that plans to keep it as a nature reserve are protected.
Hoe Grange Quarry, north of Brassington, covers an area of land the size of six football pitches.
It was mined for dolomite and limestone by Longcliffe Quarries Ltd, for more than fifty years, but has been disused since around 1990.
There are two planning permissions on the site, dating back to the 1960s, which could allow a firm to return at any time to continue quarrying.
A couple of years ago, Longcliffe handed over management of the site to Derbyshire Wildlife Trust – which wanted to reclaim it as Hoe Grange Nature Reserve. Now moves are being taken to ensure that this is protected indefinitely.
Derbyshire County Council’s planning committee is set to revoke planning permission for quarrying on the site at its meeting on Monday, April 8.
A report ahead of the meeting says: “Despite the current active management of the site for the benefit of invertebrates by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, there is always the potential that ownership of the site could change and mineral extraction operations recommence. Under those circumstances, I consider that a revocation order would provide additional protection against reactivation of the Hoe Grange Quarry development. Any further development of the site would be likely to damage or destroy its wildlife habitats, as well as harm the visual amenity of the surrounding area and the character of the National Park. In this instance, making a revocation order to extinguish the permissions is also considered to be an appropriate demonstration of the council’s commitment to the protection of the amenities of the area and in respect of biodiversity gain.”
A statement on the wildlife trust’s website states: “As you would expect there are still areas of bare ground which provide an ideal place for insects to sunbathe. Surrounding these is a beautiful flower-rich short limestone grassland whilst at the fringes of the quarry is taller grass and woodland. There is even a disused dew pond which we hope to restore in time. The quarry is particularly of interest because of the number of diversity of butterflies which occur here. Volunteers from Butterfly Conservation Trust have been walking a weekly transect at Hoe Grange for a few years and their results are fantastic, they have recorded a total of 24 different species of butterfly. We are working closely with Butterfly Conservation Trust to ensure that the site is managed in the best way as a future haven for butterflies.”