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For immediate release, 7/3/05

Tarmac’s job losses claim is bogus,
says henge campaign chairman

Tarmac is once more trying to deceive the public into accepting that jobs will be lost if Nosterfield Quarry near the Thornborough Henges is not allowed to expand. Of course, industrialists routinely threaten job losses in an attempt to blackmail councillors when encountering objections to expansion plans. But, in this case, the Chairman of campaign group the Friends of Thornborough Henges is well qualified to give the lie to this blatant falsehood.

John Lowry is an Exploration Geologist and Chartered Engineer who insists, “Aggregates quarries actually create very few jobs in relation to the amount of land they sterilise, and the employees know those jobs are relatively short-lived because all mining ventures have a limited life. To ensure a constant supply of minerals, well-managed mining companies buy up mineral reserves in advance, phasing development so that a new quarry is opened as an existing one becomes exhausted. So jobs are not “lost” ~ they are simply transferred to the new quarry and the sub-contractors follow them.

“In recent years, archaeologists have realised that the three Thornborough Henges, two of which Tarmac has bought with the intention of quarrying around them, are merely the visible remains of a much wider prehistoric landscape. They believe that the latter is as important as Stonehenge in enabling scientists to learn about our early ancestors and should be preserved for the nation ~ as are the settings of other large henges elsewhere in the country.

“In trying to reduce this issue to a simple contest between the relative economic benefits of quarrying versus tourism, Tarmac is cynically ignoring the over-riding need to save Yorkshire’s greatest archaeological treasure for future generations,” says Mr Lowry. “Due to the concern our campaign has raised in both Parliament and the EEC, Tarmac now has to prove that it is necessary to destroy a landscape of international importance in order to supply a local market with sand and gravel that could readily be obtained from a less sensitive site like those already quarried by its competitors.”

“It seems to me,” concludes Mr Lowry, “that Tarmac’s employees should be demanding that the company gives up its plans to expand near the henges and turns its attentions to opening a replacement quarry in a location already designated by the county council. Surely good management practice dictates that a contingency plan should already be in place, in case the application to extend the present quarry is refused?”



Note for Editors:

The Friends of Thornborough Henges is a voluntary group dedicated to saving for the nation the surviving setting of the Thornborough Henges Complex near Ripon in Yorkshire. People can join our campaign by contacting

For further information on this press release,
contact our Publicity Officer on or Jon Lowry on

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