Judges today gave the go-ahead for an appeal against continued quarrying in the Peak District.
But limestone extraction at the controversial Backdale site will continue pending the appeal hearing. Judges agreed to accelerate the legal process but it is still likely to be the end of the year before the case is heard.
The Peak District National Park Authority and the Department for Communities and Local Government were given permission today by High Court judges to challenge an earlier ruling in favour of the quarry owners and operators.
The legal case has been batted back and forth and, in March this year, another High Court judge overturned an inspector’s ruling following a public inquiry that quarrying should stop. The Peak authority’s stop notice was rescinded and mineral extraction resumed on the site, at the eastern end of Longstone Edge near Bakewell.
Bleaklow Industries, which owns the site, and MMC Mineral Processing, which operates it, are acting under a permission granted 56 years ago. Campaigners against the quarrying say the works are devastating the Peak countryside.
A coalition against the quarrying includes the Ramblers’ Association, the British Mountaineering Council and the Campaign for National Parks.
National park authority chief executive Jim Dixon said: "We welcome this decision. It’s clearly good news that the judges agreed with our case there is a need for serious scrutiny of the High Court judgment.
"However, we must make it clear that the authority will not be in a position to issue a stop notice at the site until the appeal has been heard, and we will continue to pursue a permanent solution to the problems of quarrying, here and across the wider area of Longstone Edge."
The 1952 permission allows for the ‘winning and working of fluorspar and barytes and for the working of lead and any other minerals which are won in the course of working those minerals’.
Opponents, including the Peak District authority, say the limestone extractions go beyond the consent.
A month ago, the coalition opposing the quarrying urged Hilary Benn’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to fund an appeal by the Peak District National Park Authority.