Controversial proposals to transform 44 acres of farmland into a quarry will destroy the peaceful hamlet of Lumby, near Selby, say villagers.
The environmental chaos which the quarry will create, if permitted by North Yorkshire County Council, will cause lasting damage to Lumby.
Worried residents have now launched a campaign to halt the quarry, which is on designated Green Belt land to the west of the village by the A63.
Residents have arranged a public meeting at South Milford’s Women’s Institute on Thursday June 29.
The quarry will also impact on the neighbouring villages of Hillam and Monk Fryston, according to campaigners, with increased traffic and dust.
The key fears include visual intrusion, damage to landscapes and wildlife, increased heavy traffic, smoke, noise, dust, loss of land and a deterioration in water quality.
Campaigners with the local parish councils are now organising a public meeting in South Milford to let local residents know about the quarry, which is being proposed by the Huddersfield-based Stone Cliffe Aggregates. Stone Cliffe hopes to quarry 2.7m tonnes of limestone on the Green Belt land.
A spokesman from P.L.A.N.E.T. (Protect Lumby Against New Environmental Threats), commented: “This is a deeply unwelcome proposal on so many levels. It is completely inappropriate that this area should be exposed to such a destructive development.
There are serious health implications for local residents as well as the many environmental concerns.
“We feel we are being sacrificed on the altar of unfettered greed. The only motive for destroying important Green Belt land in Lumby is private profit. It is utterly irresponsible and utterly wrong and the villagers of Lumby, together with those in the immediate area, will do everything we can to stop this development.
“The A63 is taking all the traffic from the nearby Sherburn Industrial estate and is often gridlocked at certain points already. The area cannot take any more development.
“A curious, and unsettling, aspect is the fact that that urban developments have not been resisted on designated Green Belt land east of Leeds. There have been significant increases in industrial operations taking place in the area recently. There must be a point where it becomes over-industrialisation in the Green Belt.
“The detrimental impact the development would have on the landscape would far outweigh the benefits.
The spokesman pointed out that North Yorkshire County Council’s record of allowing quarrying and waste processing on designated Green Belt land was very worrying, giving planning permission for every single one of more than 20 applications this century.
“This flies in the face of Government policies, approving major developments on agricultural land despite a litany of significant environmental concerns and strong opposition from local residents. In addition, the proposed site is not an allocated site in North Yorkshire’s current Minerals and Waste Joint Plan which would therefore indicate that there is not even a need for this stone.
The Huddersfield-based aggregates firm has also applied to import inert waste to the site, which is only 300 metres from Lumby, to create a low-level aggregate processing plant with buildings with a plan to eventually restore the quarry to farmland.
The firm state the mineral will be worked “by ripping rather than blasting to reduce vibration and air over-pressure concerns” in a west to easterly direction so as to screen the workings from the village. Due to the timescale of the project (19 years), these will be long-term temporary impacts.”
North Yorkshire Council’s assistant director of planning, Trevor Watson, said:
“As with all planning applications, it will be considered on its own merits.
“It will be carefully assessed against national policy and guidance, local policy and emerging policy.
“Representations from statutory consultees along with views expressed by groups, organisations and individuals will all be taken into account.”