Controversial Presall quarry plan 'hasn't gone away' locals have been warned

Controversial plans to develop a sand and gravel quarry near houses in the village of Preesall have not gone away, a campaigning councillor says.

It has been almost nine months since the plans have been in the public eye but Preesall councillor Collette Rushforth says the proposals for the quarry – and efforts to oppose the plans – are still ongoing. The quarry scheme is earmarked for land at Bourbles Farm on Bourbles Lane, in Preesall, and would entail the extraction of sand and gravel to build a quarry, to remove an estimated 460,000 tonnes of sand and gravel and to insert 300,000 tonnes of tested soil, clay and hardcore.

The application by the Baxter Group Ltd is due to be determined by Lancashire County Council’s Development Control Committee, rather than Wyre Council. But the hearing is facing delays, partly by an earlier-than-expected General Election, which has seen council workers now preparing for that event on Thursday July 4.


Residents in Preesall say they are living in fear of the proposed quarry, citing a raft of concerns including noise pollution, traffic issues and health fears over silica dust, an air-born by-product of quarry work which has been linked to lung cancer.

But the issue has drifted out of the public arena after protests last year. Coun Collette Ruthforth, an independent Preesall councillor who has played a leading part in the campaign, said: “Just because things have gone quiet doesn’t mean this thing has gone away.

Preesall is filled with yellow banners opposing the proposed quarry
Preesall is filled with yellow banners opposing the proposed quarry -Credit:LancsLive

“The application will still be heard by County’s development control committee at some point over the summer. There have been delays due to the election and other factors but we’re still working on this.

“There will be speakers at that hearing, so we have been preparing to put forward our strongest case at that meeting. Our argument is that this is the wrong place to try and put a quarry, for a whole number of relevant reasons, public health being among them.

“Noise and traffic disruption will also be major factors, especially for a small, quiet village like Preesall.”

Campaigners from the online group, Preesall and Knott End Against Quarry Application, argue that the application breaches guidelines about the distance between quarries and human habitation. Wyre Council, as a consultee, has objected to the scheme, as has Preesall Council Town Council.

The applicants argue that the quarry would be vital for the housebuilding industry and say there is a genuine need for it, insisting all requirements for such an application have been met. A spokesman for Greenfield Enviro, agents on behalf of Baxter Homes, previouly said: “As part of the application process and the preparation of the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment), all potential impacts on the local community and the local environment have been assessed and mitigation measures to minimise or eliminate any impacts have been clearly identified where they are deemed necessary.

“This includes the construction of screening bunds around the margins of the site and a phased mineral extraction and restoration scheme. We are happy to work with Lancashire County Council on mitigation measures to ensure that this works well and limits disturbance and intend on setting this quarry up and operating it to the highest of standards.

“Over the recent past there has been a general increase in demand for construction aggregates across the County that is directly linked to an increase in construction activity across the North West of England.

“This increase in activity coincident with the reduction in available supply of sand and gravel locally has led to aggregate and construction material shortages in the North Lancashire Region.

“These supply shortages have directly impacted on The Baxter Group, thus they have identified a clear and demonstrable need for a new source of sand and gravel close to their own construction markets within the county.”