Film ID:
YFA 5832

NORTHERN LINE: BLOWING UP THE DALES

1987

Visitor Tabs

Description

This is a Yorkshire Television documentary that investigates the conflict between environmentalists and limestone and gritstone companies quarrying in the Yorkshire and Derbyshire National Parks.  It is presented by comedian, folk singer and environmentalist Mike Harding and includes interviews with interested parties for and against the quarrying.  A number of quarries are seen and discussed:  Ribblehead, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Ingleton Quarry, Giggleswick, Kilnsey Gray, Arcow Quarry and Helworth Quarry, both at Helmworth Bridge, Swinden Quarry near Grassington and Cool Scar Quarry at Kilnsey, in Yorkshire; and Topley Pike Quarry and Eldon Hill Quarry in Derbyshire.  

The film begins with views over the Yorkshire Dales before Mike Harding speaks to the camera, “in the shadow of a quarry,” giving his view of the destruction caused by the many quarries in the Dales.  A short history of the national parks is given.  He states that not only are the quarries environmentally damaging, but that the good quality limestone is being misused for roads.  He also tackles the issue of the loss of jobs closing quarries would entail.  A representative of one of the quarry companies, an employee of one of the quarry companies, and a local person are also interviewed.  Mike Harding argues that smaller scale industry could replace the jobs lost from the closure of quarries, and also argues that 80% of the local roads are unsuitable for heavy lorries.  A spokesperson for ARC (Amalgamated Roadstone Corporation) is interviewed who disputes that local industry could make up any loss of jobs.  Local farmer Gordon Jackson is interviewed, claiming that dust from the quarries has severely affected his livestock.  Reference is made to the test devised in 1949 by Lewis Silkin, when he was Minister of Town and Country, for planning permission for quarrying.  Two women, members of organisations that question the quarrying on the national parks, are interviewed.

The film moves on to the Peak District, with views of Topley Pike Quarry near Buxton, and later the disused Bole Hill Quarry.  A representative of the Tarmac company is interviewed, who operate Old Moor Quarry which received an extension prior the national parks being established in 1949.  It is stated that the CEGB needs extra limestone to clean up sulphur emissions.  The film ends with Mike Harding stating that quarry companies “blow it up and it is gone forever.”

Directed by David Wilson     
Mike Harding Himself - Presenter
Produced by Grant McKee