Unit Manager, Ingleton Quarry
Benefits of the quarry:
Weve got a rural environment that, as with any rural environment these days, has suffered a slow decline of its major industry which of course is farming. And as such its imperative that any employment that we have we try and do whatever we can to retain it. Theres no question that as far as Ingletons concerned, and the immediate locality, it does provide a fairly large source of employment. Maybe not in the people we employ directly, because we only employ 15 people at the actual quarry now, but we employ wagon drivers to move our material, we employ contractors to do our maintenance, we employ electricians to do our electrical work and so on. We endeavour wherever possible to use people from the immediate locality. And even if people arent coming from the immediate locality, the fact that theyre coming to Ingleton means theyll have to stay in the local accommodation. And one of the interesting spin-offs that weve found only recently is that weve had an awful lot of interest shown in this particular site in terms of visits; university students - rock tappers we call em - come and look at the geology of the place. They come and they usually stay in the area for a couple of nights and the local hotels are benefiting from that, which may not seem like an obvious spin-off but its one of the spin-offs that we have, but on the positive side it does provide an input into the local economy and local rural economies really are feeling the pinch nowadays because of the demise of the agricultural system as it used to be.
Ive been awfully lucky in my time at the quarry - particularly these last nine or ten years when we were faced with building the new plant. Because of that, I was allowed enough capital to build a plant that is more environmentally acceptable than the plant we had in the past. Now, my fellow managers would say that they havent had the chances I have - its not that we havent got a will to do it, but we can only do it as the rebuilds come along. What weve done here is taken quite a major step forward in terms of how much of a blot we are on the local landscape and how much of an impact we have on the local landscape. And Im sure that in the fullness of time, any new quarry installation that takes place will be to this kind of standard. Lets face it nowadays the Environmental Protection act has a requirement that you must minimise the amount of impact you have on the local environment.
Environmental impact of the quarry:
Its fair to say that the old plant that we had before the installation of this one used to coat the fields and the trees with a fair amount of dust that came from the quarry. Since weve installed the new plant, that has disappeared and the plant life around the quarry has recovered, its good to say. And weve been complimented on that by number of local organisations. But its altered our dust emissions dramatically. When we built the new plant, we made a concentrated effort to reduce the nuisance that we caused and the main nuisance that we caused was dust. Of the £6.95 million that we spent building the new plant, £1.1 million of that was directly attributable to either environmental demands - the coating of the roads, the covering of the plant - or health and safety issues. Its important that we endeavour to keep the people that work for us as safe as we can.
Future plans for the site:
Approval to do anything with the National Park, particularly quarrying, isnt easy to come by. They will attempt - quite rightly because thats what theyre charged with doing, protecting the natural beauty of the park - to use the opportunity to get as many planning gains as they can and this place is a fair indication of how far you can go. The National Parks were quite keen that when weve finished here we leave them with something thats as little of an impact as it can possibly be. So in our terminal restoration plan that we submitted to them we indicated that wed do an awful lot of tree planting. To that end, we met up with English Nature who in their turn gave an indication to us of the kind of trees that they believe would be fitting for this area; a mixture of silver birch and goodness knows how many kinds of trees. So we used their recommendations even in our tree planting and we planted something like 28 - 29,00 trees so far around the outer periphery of the unit so that when this place closes, itll have less of an impact that perhaps you see now. It isnt too bad now, but itll be even better in times to come.