Backdale Quarry is part of the beautiful ancient limestone ridge of Longstone Edge between Calver and Monsal Head.
Ongoing illegal and disfiguring quarrying of limestone due to the misinterpretation of an old planning permission for fluorspar - which also has no obligation for restoring damage.
- 1952 – Planning permission is granted for working fluorspar at Backdale.
- 1980s – Backdale is worked mainly as an opencast fluorspar operation.
- Late 1990s – UK quarrying company, RMC, takes a lease on the site and starts to extract large quantities of limestone along with fluorspar.
- 1998 – Pressure by the National Park Authority and a strong local and national campaign embarrasses RMC into quitting the site.
- July 2003 – The landowner (Bleaklow Industries) leases the site to Merrimans. It starts quarrying - mainly for limestone. Friends of the Peak District and Save Longstone Edge Group lobby the National Park Authority to stop it.
- November 2004 – The National Park Authority serves a Planning Enforcement Notice (PEN) which Bleaklow and Merrimans appeal, allowing them to continue working until the issue is settled by a public inquiry.
- September 2005 – The public inquiry is adjourned to April 2006 on the grounds that insufficient time had been allocated to hear the complex case.
- January 2006 – The National Park Authority serves a Stop Notice to suspend all activity on site, pending a public inquiry. Illegal work at the site finally stops.
- April 2006 – Work starts again after errors are found in the Stop Notice and Planning Enforcement Notice.
- February 2007 – Public inquiry is held. Friends of the Peak District and Save Longstone Edge Group present strong cases and expert witnesses.
- April 2007 – VICTORY! The public inquiry rules that the quarrying is unlawful and that a 2:1 limestone:fluorspar radio should be observed. Merrimans had been operating at a ratio of 93:1!
- March 2008 – DISASTER! The High Court overturns the public inquiry decision and illegal quarrying continues with a vengeance.
- March 2009 – VICTORY! The Court of Appeal rules that the High Court decision should be overturned.
- March/April 2009 – Merrimans continues to remove limestone from the site. Bleaklow request permission to appeal the decision to the House of Lords.
- June 2009 – VICTORY! The House of Lords refuses to hear Bleaklow’s appeal; and the legal door is finally closed on excessive and illegal limestone quarrying.
- August 2009 – The Longstone Edge Coalition urges the Government to buy-out the land and original planning permission in order to protect to Backdale from future unscrupulous operators.
- 2010 – Bleaklow Industries submits an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against the UK government.
- November 2010 – VICTORY! The European court refuses to hear the appeal which finally brings years of legal wrangling to an end. Excessive limestone quarrying is now illegal and at an end on Longstone Edge.