Quarry battle call to arms

Campaigners fighting plans for a huge quarry on the outskirts of Chorley are planning a week of protest in the run-up to a crucial inquiry.

Residents in Euxton have fought a long battle against plans by construction giant Tarmac to quarry for millions of tonnes of sand and gravel from a site between Runshaw Lane and Dawbers Lane.

The lifespan of the quarry would be at least 15 years but villagers say it will cause pollution and result in traffic chaos.

A make-or-break public inquiry starts on April 22 and the members of Euxton Residents Against Sand Extraction (ERASE) hope a display of people power will prove crucial.

As well as putting up posters and banners across Euxton, cars with loud speakers will be touring the streets.

Resident George Tivey, of Meadowcroft, Euxton, has decked out his Ford Scorpio car with loud speakers and stickers and has been touring the village.

He said: "We have had a great deal of success. I think 99 per cent of Euxton is against the scheme but they need to show it."

ERASE member Geoff Ind said: "The fight has stretched over 11 years and people are beginning to show fatigue but it is important that people stand up and have their say.

"Our campaign is based on the impact that the quarry will have on our village and the effect it will have on residents so it is important people publicly object to the plans by putting posters up in their window and by attending the inquiry.

"It is important that the residents views are made known as people power is very important - not just words on paper."

The inquiry comes 12 months after Tarmac lodged an appeal against the Lancashire County Council decision to refuse planning permission.

Bruce Carlin, the spokesman for ERASE, added: "The inquiry opens on April 22 at Shaw Hill and Lancashire County Council, ERASE, Euxton Parish Council and other groups will make representations against the plans over the first two weeks.

"We are confident that we have a strong case as the plans have already been effectively blocked twice before but we ask that anyone who has any time to spare attends the inquiry as we are looking for as much support as possible.

"We have also arranged for an evening meeting to be held with the inspector who is overseeing the inquiry, at Washington Hall for residents who are unable to attend the meetings during the day to turn out in force to protest against the plans."

The public inquiry will be heard by an independent planning inspector and is likely to last for three weeks, the evening session will be held in Washington Hall on April 30.

Tarmac believes it has addressed all planning concerns and has said the land will be restored to agricultural land, new woodland, hedgerows, grassland, ponds and a lake.