Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Quarrying in a National Park

Quarrying is...
the extraction of rocks and other materials from the earths surface through blasting. Frequently quarried materials include sand, gravel, limestone etc.

Limestone Quarrying in the Peak District
The Peak District is a major area of limestone quarrying, including works at Hope Quarry and Wirksworth Quarry.

Hope Quarry is located close to Castleton. It began extraction in 1948, just before the area was designated a national park. 2 million tonnes of limestone are extracted each year, used to produce 10% of the UK's cement.

How is limestone quarried?
these quarries are often deep and dug on several levels
- controlled explosions are used to blast rock from the ground
- rock is then taken to a crusher where it is broken down into smaller pieces

What is limestone used for?
- aggregate or crushed rock
- building purposes
- cement production
- chemical production - fertiliser etc.
- iron and steel
- lime

Advantages of Quarrying

- creates job opportunities (10% of male employment in the Derbyshire Dales is in Quarrying and 300 people are employed at Hope Quarry).
- multiplier effect, created by creation of jobs, more money in the area and more services supported
- great demand for limestone for building purposes as well as other products such as cement .
- it is a raw material needed to support both the local and national economy
- roads improved to cope with the large lorries (benefits the local community)
- the quarry provides a source of money for the local council through taxes and rates

Disadvantages of Quarrying
- blasting for quarrying releases large amounts of dust (problem for asthma sufferers and pollutes water supplies)
- leaves an ugly scar in the land when abandoned (an eyesore)
- heavy lorries transporting limestone cause congestion on narrow roads and increase the likelihood of accidents
- wildlife and habitats are destroyed and lost
- noise pollution from the blasting disturbs both wildlife and local people
- heavy lorries cause more frequent costly repairs to roads to be made.

What can be done to reduce the problems associated with quarrying?
1. Earth Mounds - this are built around the quarry to reduce the impact of noise from blasting on the local area
2. Water sprays - these can be used to reduce the spread of dust from the quarry
3. Restrictions are put on the size of the quarry that is allowed
4. Blasting is only allowed during designated areas to minimise impact on locals
5. Quarry's are often screened off e.g. by trees etc.. to reduce visual impact
6. Restoration plans are often put in place following the decommissioning of a quarry - examples have included the development of wetland habitats, lakes and other conservation / recreation areas.


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