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Superquarry threatens Cornwall

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We are raising money to protect an unspoilt part of the Cornish coastline, which is under threat from a developer who intends to build a superquarry.

The Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall is as far south on mainland UK as you can go, and its unique location offers breathtaking views, clean air and turquoise sea to those who live, work and holiday here.

On the east coast of the Lizard are a number of charming and quintessentially Cornish villages – St Keverne, Coverack and Cadgwith among them. The South West Coast Path connects them all, and the stretch of coastline from the Helford River to Lizard Point offers rich and varied walks for ramblers of all ages and ability.

Sadly, this area, so popular with tourists, walkers, divers, bird watchers and astronomers, is now at risk from the development of a superquarry, and Cornwall Council is doing nothing to stop it.

The quarry – past and present
Dean Quarry, which is just 400 metres from homes in the hamlets of Rosenithon and Trythance, 600 metres from Roskillys organic farm and 900 metres from St Keverne School, has lain dormant for almost a decade. Since its closure, the site has been reclaimed by nature and is now home to many birds, bees, butterflies and bats.

The quarry was purchased in 2015 by a developer who intends to turn the site into a superquarry, extracting 1.5 – 3 million tonnes of rock every year (many times more than its previous peak of 200,000 tonnes a year). This threatens the very things that make this area unique and such a draw for visitors: the coastline, wildlife, dark skies and tranquillity.

The quarry is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) – protected by law to conserve beauty, wildlife and geology. In 2013, the area (including the infamous Manacles rocks) was one of the first to be recognised as a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) and is home to many rare species. There are Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) on each side of The Manacles too.

Despite these protections, the developers are still pushing ahead, and going to court is the only way to stop them.

The environment under threat
The intended development of the quarry will involve the building of a huge jetty straight through the MCZ in order to bring in 10,000 tonne barges for loading. These barges will operate throughout the day and night, creating industrial noise when people are trying to soak up the peace and quiet on a coastal walk or simply to have a good night’s sleep.

Extracting the large boulders is an inefficient process, creating much waste material, some of which will be turned into aggregate. The fear is that this aggregate will need to be transported by road, resulting in large numbers of wide lorries on narrow country lanes.

The industrialisation and pollution will threaten bird breeding grounds and stop-off points for migratory birds, as well as disturb the many animals within the Manacles MCZ. These include bottlenose dolphins, grey seals, minke whales, basking sharks and pink sea fans, all of which are protected species.

The harbour porpoise, in particular, is under threat and is heavily protected because of dwindling numbers. The Manacles MCZ has become one of the main feeding grounds of these mammals.

Businesses affected
The development also affects a number of thriving local businesses:

Roskillys is an organic farm and tourist attraction with around 50,000 visitors per annum, 35 permanent employees (rising to 60 in the summer months) and a £700,000 wage bill that goes straight into the local economy. They supply ice cream, fudge, dairy products, jams, sauces and chutneys across the county.

The Cornish Sea Salt Co started in 2008 and currently employs 40 people (they are looking to expand and create another 25 local jobs). Their products have become popular among chefs, food producers, hotels and restaurants and are stocked in supermarkets and independent stores across the world.

The Cornish Seaweed Co began in 2013 and they sell sustainably harvested organic seaweed from an area bordering the MCZ to be used as a superfood. The business has gone from 2 to 10 employees in just three years and is still growing.

Porthkerris Divers is a family-run dive centre, one of several that enjoy the incredible diving offered by the reefs and wrecks in the Manacles MCZ. They have supplied CADS with extensive video footage of the sea life in the waters of the Manacles MCZ. They have witnessed first hand the clarity of the water and improved visibility since Dean Quarry ceased operating in 2008.

In addition to the above, there are a great many other businesses, in fact whole industries, which would be affected by the development. Fishing and farming would be adversely affected by the noise, vibration, dust and pollution, as would any business that relies heavily on tourism: B&Bs, holiday cottages, cafés and shops.

The South West Coast Path runs alongside Dean Quarry and will have to be closed to walkers while blasting takes place and when the rock is being loaded onto barges. Opening the superquarry will drive these walkers away, and with them the money they spend in the local area.

When it comes to commerce and employment, Cornwall is the poorest in the country. The industries mentioned above are vital to the economy here, and a handful of local jobs promised by the re-opening of the quarry would be a fraction of those at risk from the development.

Who are we
Cornwall Against Dean Superquarry (CADS) is an action group formed to prevent the industrialisation of this beautiful and highly protected landscape and coastline. The developer can readily source the required rock from existing quarries, which are not situated less than a kilometre from a primary school, homes and businesses.

Why we need to raise the money
So far we have fought the initial planning application (for a fence and ancillary buildings) on a limited budget and with local voluntary donations.

We have taken Cornwall Council to Judicial Review on two occasions. At the first Judicial Review, the judge found in our favour and confirmed that the council had acted unlawfully by granting planning without requesting an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Unfortunately, despite this, some quarrying took place and the council did not enforce the environmental and marine surveys that are legally required for any development on this site. We therefore took them to a second Judicial Review and, largely down to the developer submitting the retrospective planning application and environmental statement at the last minute, we lost the case.

We now need to raise funds in order to fight the future planning application for the main development, including the building of vast new harbour installations through the Manacles MCZ. The developer has publicly announced that it needs rock armour for a project that is due to start in Spring 2018, so they could apply for planning permission at Dean Quarry within the next 6-12 months.

While we would hope that their application would be rejected because of the devastating effect that it would have on the environment and existing local jobs, our past experience warns us not to make any assumptions. We need to have the funds ready to fight this threat, whether that’s to contest their Environmental Impact Assessment, commission a socio-economic report or take further court action.

For more information on the threat to the environment, tourism, local businesses and villages, please visit

We can also be found on the following social networks:





A huge thank you
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this. We are grateful for any support you can give to our campaign.


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Kiersty Long

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