The 7th Dartmoor Society Debate

How Important is China Clay to Dartmoor?

Lee Moor Village Hall, Saturday 2nd  October 2004

© The Dartmoor Society, 2004

Editor: Mike Hedges

The Dartmoor Society, PO Box 38, Tavistock, Devon, PL19 0XJ      

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Speakers Chris Cleaves (left), Prof. Ian Mercer (centre) and chairman Dr Tom Greeves (photo © Mike Hedges)

 

CONTENTS  

Click on the hyperlinks below to go to each section

Introduction

The present state of the china clay industry on Dartmoor and its future - by Chris Cleaves (Imerys) and Mike Brown (Watts Blake Bearne)

Tour around Lee Moor china clay works and village

The environmental impact of china clay on Dartmoor - by Professor Ian Mercer

Discussion

The 7th Dartmoor Society Debate: How important is China Clay to Dartmoor?

Our 7th Debate was held on Saturday 2nd October 2004 at Lee Moor Village Hall, in the shadow of the extensive Imerys china clay workings. Dr Tom Greeves (Chairman of the Debate) welcomed 50 people to the event and said that the purpose of the day was to be informative and to provide a forum for discussion of the issues raised by china clay extraction.

Our first speaker was Chris Cleaves, Devon Kaolin Operations Manager for Imerys, who gave a presentation prepared by himself and Mike Brown, the General Operations Manager, Clays and Associated Minerals, for Watts Blake Bearne. Chris had taken over this slot from Ivor Bowditch, Imerys’ Regional Communications and Public Relations Manager, who unfortunately broke his arm badly prior to the event, but was able to attend in the afternoon.

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The present state of the china clay industry on Dartmoor and its future - presentation by Chris Cleaves (Imerys) and Mike Brown (Watts Blake Bearne)

The formation of granite

At one time, most of what is now the British Isles was covered by sea, upon the bed of which vast deposits of mud and silt collected.  In time, the accumulated weight of the sediments caused them to become compressed and hardened, converting them from loose sediments into highly cleavable forms of rock - the slates and shales which still abound on the coasts of Cornwall and Devon to this day.

At the time when the sediments were being laid down, great land masses were drifting towards each other on a collision course. The pressures generated by this movement caused the seabed to fracture and fold. The folding process was accompanied by intense subterranean activity as the masses of molten rock forced their way upwards.

When the rock cooled, it became granite, a rock made of a mixture of quartz, feldspar and mica. The formation of the granite took place between 290 and 270 million years ago and today it forms the rocky backbone of the south-west of England, being exposed in the Scilly Isles, Lands End, Carnmenelis, Hensbarrow near St Austell, Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor.

The formation of china clay

Granite is one of the commonest igneous rocks, but varies considerably in its composition from place to place. While the quartz is never anything but quartz, the feldspar can be a silicate of alumina with potash, soda or lime and the mica can be the potash-rich muscovite or the iron-rich biotite.

In some parts of the South West, the feldspar in the granite is higher in its soda content than its potash content and these places are where china clay is found today. It came into being through a complex sequence of events. While the molten rock was still cooling, it was attacked successively by steam, boron, fluorine and tin vapour, these acting on the alkali content of the feldspar and converting it into china clay.

The South Western granite has been converted into china clay only in those areas where the feldspar contained a sufficiently high soda content.

China clay, or kaolin, is believed to have been formed through two processes:-

  • Hydrothermal activity (hot gases combined with high pressures) caused the granite (feldspars) to decompose.
  • Surface precipitation combined with humic acids from the bogs that were present, or by deep tropical weathering.

Significant Dates

1746    Discovery of china clay at Tregonning Hill near Helston by William Cookworthy.

1830   Clay production in Lee Moor begins, Dickens & Cawley lease the  clay setts of the  Earl of Morley.

1833 William Phillips takes over the lease and builds infrastructure still used today, such as the leat for water from the Plym (4 miles), adits from the pits to the Torycombe Valley, brick works.

1854   Lee Moor tramway in operation.

1933   First calcined clays produced at Lee Moor.

1946   Boosting water to monitors.

1950   Mechanical Dorr Oliver refining introduced.

1995   Cryogenic magnets installed.  

2000   Dry mining introduced.

Historical Influence on the Community

  • Houses within the village were built by the Martin Brothers and latterly by ECLP.
  • The village hall and associated playing fields were built by the mutual effort of the clay companies and villagers.
  • Methodist Chapel was constructed for the Cornish miners.
  • Clay families are still working in the industry, e.g. the Lillicraps.

Significant Planning Dates

1958   Planning permission granted - very few minor conditions   relating to landscaping and no conditions at all relating to restoring progressively to an acceptable after-use.

1971   Public enquiry for winning and working china clay for 50 years and beyond. This permission considered sterilisation of future reserve, restoration conditions and tipping plans.

1999        Review of mineral planning permissions. Review of current permissions, which includes revising all environmental conditions to current standards and thinking.

2000    Industry announces intention to forgo working areas X,Y & Z within the National Park.

Imerys Operations

  • Operations consist of three quarries Lee Moor, Whitehill Yeo and Cholwichtown and associated processing plant.
  • Clay slurry is produced by dry mining matrix to a washing screen, sand/clay separation process (bucket wheel).
 
  • Refining of blended clays is by hydrocyclones, Dorr Oliver refiners and centrifuges.
  • Refined clay is piped by gravity for 4½ miles from Lee Moor to Marsh Mills for drying.
  • Additional upgrading of material can be achieved within the process by bleaching or by extracting iron and other contaminants using two cryogenic magnets.
  • A total of 180 people are currently employed.
  • Operationally Imerys occupy 2200 acres.
  • The current processing facilities have a practical capacity of 300,000 tonnes per year.

Watts Blake Bearne Operations

  • Operations consist of two quarries, Headon and Shaugh, and associated processing plant.
  • Clay slurry is produced using monitors, sand/clay separation process (bucket wheel), refining (hydrocyclones), and thickening (chemical addition).
  • Clay is pumped 3 miles from Shaugh to Headon.
  • Grades are a blend of both Shaugh and Headon Quarries.
  • Material is then blended, pressed, noodled  and dried.
  • Additional upgrading of material can be achieved within the process by bleaching or by extracting iron and other contaminants.
  • A total of 60 people are currently employed.
  • Operationally Watts Blake Bearne occupy 783 acres.
  • The current processing facilities have a practical capacity of 150,000 tonnes per year.

Mine Planning

As well as managing the mining process and pit design, the mine plan also includes the disposal of solid waste and mica residue. This is regulated by the Quarries Regulations 1999, as well as by planning permission.

Hydraulic Mining

Material is blasted, ripped & pushed into heaps to present a surface for washing by a high pressure water jet, or monitor.

Dry Mining

Rocks leave via a waste chute. Any lumps of matrix break on impact and through attrition.  Clay, sand and small stones flow through bars to the product chute.

Refining Stages

140 ft thickening and storage tank

Dorr Oliver or cyclone refining.

Grinding

Centrifuge separation

Magnetic separation

Bleaching

Quality is then judged on iron content, potassium content, brightness and viscosity.

Filter Press

Clay slurry is pressed to a “cake” of 35% moisture content prior to thermal drying to 10% moisture content.

Kaolin products from Devon

Some of the everyday products using china clay (kaolin) are paint, Coca-Cola cans, plastic pipes, tennis balls, trainers, rubber bungs, plastic coving over car engines, car hub caps, sanitary ware, paper, plastic moulding, porcelain, rubber mats, car bumpers, white lines on roads and sparking plugs.

Relationship between mineral resources and reserves

From exploration results, the extent of mineral resources can only be inferred but, once mining is in progress, the confidence of the estimate gradually improves as the level of geological knowledge increases. Then mining, metallurgical, economic, marketing, legal, environmental, social and governmental factors are all taken into account in estimating the extent of useable mineral reserves.

Operational life of the Devon clay deposit

360,000 tonnes of kaolin is currently produced from the Devon deposit (240,000 tonnes by Imerys and 120,000 tonnes by WBB).

A common approach by these companies to mining shared boundaries and waste disposal gives 60+ years of future extraction for Imerys and WBB.  Re-working of residue dams and tips as technology improves may extend the operational life of the site.

UK market profile

Annual UK demand (2001) for construction aggregates is approximately 205 million tonnes for concrete (75 million tonnes), asphalt (24 million tonnes) and fill (106 million tonnes).

Every year nearly four tonnes of aggregates are needed per head of the population in the UK. A  new house requires some 50 tonnes of aggregates. The quarrying industry employs around 20,000 people directly and a similar number indirectly.

The clay industry is a major aggregates producer  and, in Devon, it produces approximately 3 -4 million tonnes of aggregate per year. T, of which the local market consumes 0.5 million tonnes per year. Imerys and WBB are working with the major aggregate suppliers to increase market share locally and nationally.

Employment

The clay industry within Devon employs approximately 300 people direct.  In addition there are around 60 contract employees at any one time, excluding “one - off” major construction projects.

Expenditure

It is estimated that the industry spends approximately £18 million per annum locally on wages, fuel, tyres, services, rates and engineering materials.

This figure excludes monies spent on large capital projects; in a typical year this will be approximately £5 million.

National economics

80% of the kaolin products from this area are exported world wide, contributing significantly to UK’s trade balance.

Both the Government and the planning system recognise that the mineral is of national importance.

Environmental Management System (EMS)

The clay companies operate environmental management systems to the ISO 14001 standard, a voluntary framework for applying EMS. This framework is audited by independent assessors to ensure compliance with the standard. The m The main conditions are:-

•EMS must be in place.

•The performance against the standard must be measured.

•Continuous environmental improvement must be demonstrated.

•Objectives and targets must be determined.

•Environmental legal compliance must be measured.

•Good environmental practices must be adopted.

•Contractors and suppliers must be included.

Ecology

During 1997 a detailed survey of the wildlife of the “Lee Moor Estate” was completed in partnership with South Hams District Council and Devon County Council. The survey found the following:-

  • Flora:   14 notable species, eg royal fern, marsh clubmoss and  quillwort.

  • Fauna: 5 notable species of invertebrates eg blue- tailed damselfly, small red damselfly, keelled skimmer and beautiful demoiselle, and 8 notable species of vertebrates, eg skylark, song thrush, peregrine falcon, Dartford warbler and golden plover.

The knowledge gained from the survey has influenced the companies’ environmental management plans and working methods. For example, damselflies within the working area are managed with the assistance of partners and, on one occasion, work was postponed on one site during July and August until nightjar chicks had flown their nest. Elsewhere, a screen was installed on the River Plym to prevent salmon smoults from entering the “miners leat”.

Archaeology

Prior to the start of initial excavation, the Exeter Archaeology Unit completes a desktop and walk over survey of the site. During the dig, there is an archaeologist on site with a “watching brief”. On one occasion, an old wagon was found; it was fully documented and sent to the Wheal Martyn Museum. All archaeological work is completed in consultation with the County Archaeologist.

Tip Restoration

26,000 trees have been planted during the past 12 months and a planting plan having regard to native species is followed. Grassland is also being created with the aim of attracting small mammals.

Community Projects

Recent examples include the creation of a bridle path, the establishment of a footpath for dog walkers, a car park for Hemerdon Village Hall, a pond constructed as a school project.

Approximately 15 educational establishments visit the Lee Moor operations each year.

The future end use for the pits

Possibilities include canoeing, lakes and filling to create land for agricultural use. Perhaps another Eden Project could be built!

Sustainable Development

Policies for sustainable development have been laid down by government. Sustainable development is concerned with ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come. The Government's Strategy for Sustainable Development published in 1999 set out four key objectives, which the clay companies aim to achieve:-

a)       social progress which recognises the needs of everyone.

b)      maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment.

c)       effective protection of the environment.

d)      prudent use of natural resources.

Summary

The industry has been an important part of Dartmoor life for over 170 years and intends to continue for many more.  Although it has a long history, it has a modern outlook, fully understanding its environmental and social responsibilities to the communities affected and influenced by the winning of this nationally important mineral and aggregates.

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Tour around Lee Moor china clay works and village

Following Chris Cleaves’ presentation, delegates were taken by coach into the Lee Moor china clay works and around the site roads to the top of the large waste tip T2 that towers above the main road past Lee Moor. From the top, we were treated to a panoramic view over the clay extraction pits and indeed right down to the coast and Plymouth Sound. From this vantage point, we could appreciate fully the extensive scale of the works, much of which had developed over the last 25 or so years as the operation was expanded.

We were then taken back down to Lee Moor village, where Maurice Dart and Ruby Kent told us about living and working in Lee Moor in days gone by. Ruby, who grew up in the village, told us about the wide range of facilities once present in the village to serve the works and residents. These included a baker’s shop, grocer’s shop, carpenter’s shop, sawpit, stables and butcher’s shop. The Wesleyan Methodist chapel still stands today and Ruby said that this had a schoolroom on the ground floor. There was a separate school for infants. There was also a church, which included a reading room on its ground floor. Ruby led us to the little cemetery on the hillside above the village, where there were a number of old and more recent graves. This cemetery is a little-known corner of Dartmoor. Ruby said that, in the past, a number of workers in the ‘dries’ had died from the accumulated effects of clay on the lungs.

Ruby Kent and Maurice Dart (left and centre left) describe the Lee Moor Tramway to two delegates (photo © Mike Hedges)

Maurice Dart, who worked at Lee Moor between May 1953 and January 1956, then told us about the Lee Moor Tramway and took us along part of the trackbed to the site of the first incline, which was the water balance type and was used to raise and lower wagons between two levels of the tramway. He pointed out the incline keeper’s belltower, the position of the drum-keeper’s house and the site of a later incline nearby.

We then returned to the village hall for a well-earned bite to eat.

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The environmental impact of china clay on Dartmoor - a presentation by Professor Ian Mercer

After lunch, we were given a talk by Professor Ian Mercer, well known to many as the Chief Officer of Dartmoor National Park between 1974 and 1990 and, more recently, as the chairman of the Devon Foot and Mouth Inquiry. Ian’s talk concentrated on the environmental impact of china clay working on Dartmoor. His presentation was as follows:-

My environmental assessment (leaving out impact for moment) involves considering:-

  • Geology
  • Ecology
  • Archaeology (to a certain extent)
  • The contemporary human habitat, or perhaps landscape, for residents, tourists and people passing through.

The Dartmoor granites, and their offspring the clay minerals, have the dignity of being some 280 - 300 years old. Our granites are made up of 30% quartz, 5+% mica and 65% feldspars (the latter plural because there are two types and only one is altered easily to kaolinite - even then the alteration may only be partial - hence the ratio of clay : waste of around 1 : 8).

Geological opinion favours china clay being formed by an alteration beneath the surface, not by weathering. This is despite the Bovey Beds on the east side of Dartmoor and the Meeth and Petrockstow deposits to the north being the fairly obvious product of tropical weathering. Superheated steam and hot water from below were the main agents of conversion of feldspars to china clay. Conjectural statements about the action of hot springs perhaps within 10 - 20 million years after granite formation warm the heart because of the analogy with Yellowstone National Park (national parks forever!). What you now see exposed at Lee Moor may well be the root system of a geyser grove ! Interestingly the two isolated china clay deposits at Red Lake and Petre's Pit are ovoid in shape and, while the Lee Moor deposits are larger at the surface and little is known of their underground dimensions, similar Cornish deposits are known to be pipe-like and funnel-shaped. All this helps to strengthen the theory about china clay formation.

So, the formation of china clay is fascinating, both geologically and geomorphologically. One question arises – if the land mass has been subject to the action of water for millions of years, why is the clay still in situ at 270m (900ft) above sea level? The answer is that, very like a charlotte russe dessert, a ‘palisade’ of country rock around the outside has protected the china clay.

The use of water to work the clay also means that pits have to grow outwards to allow drainage away from face, and not become too deep at the centre if the cost of lifting the clay is to be acceptable. The geological content means that there is large ratio of 8 : 1 between waste and clay;  thus there are vast waste tips within the site, their size exacerbated by the need to comply with the regulations that resulted from the Aberfan disaster of 1965.

So, the actual extent of the workings in spatial area provides a quantitative measure of the loss of natural surface, vegetation and animal habitat, of archaeological evidence, and of a different environment for human activity.

Between 1828 and 1949 the Lee Moor site grew to 1.3 square kilometres in area. However, between 1949 and 1999 it expanded by five times to 6.6 square kilometres. The extension of workings is one thing, but merging of these adds to the perceived problem (eg, Headon/Smallhanger, Whitehill Yeo/Lee Moor, Wotter Waste). But the quality of lost habitat is also important.

Satellite photographs and vegetation maps from the past can be used to determine what ecology and habitat might have been lost. Work by Ward and others (1972) showed 'heath' and perhaps 'grassland' abutting the workings and this was subsequently confirmed by evidence to the 1984 inquiry into proposals by Amax for tungsten mining at Hemerdon Ball.

The Devon Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) and earlier work by Ward show the following areas of habitat on Dartmoor:-

Natural area                   953 square kilometres

Granite                           625

Natural vegetation        480

Moor and heath            460

Heath                            120

Grassland                       85

Bracken                          40

Gorse                              20

Thus, with 6.6 square kilometres of china clay workings, it can be seen that these occupy some 5.5% of the heath on Dartmoor, and so we have a quantitative measure of loss.

Devon's BAP says that upland and lowland heath and Rhos pasture are major UK international responsibilities with national BAPs of their own. Blanket bog and upland oak wood are globally threatened habitats, but only the latter may have been represented under the present tips. At the opposite end of the scale, small fields, meadows and the banks and hedges that separate them are also ecologically critical and the mutual boundary of both even more so. Surveys of birds such as the woodlark confirm this.

From our point of view, if vegetation goes, grazers (ie animals and birds that live on the vegetation) go and their predators go. Territories of all are displaced or truncated. But that may not be the end of the matter.

The antecedents of those meadows were the field systems recorded on Shaugh Moor. They probably extended across Lee Moor and east and south of it. Their occupiers and their predecessors lived in huts and erected stones in circles and rows for their own purposes. At least two rows are buried or partially so. The ubiquitous cairns and hut circles abounded here. The medieval manor of Fernhill and the late Lee Moor House have gone. Cholwich Town, preserved in its own amphitheatre of china ‑clay waste, has lost its land, those gelds and meadows which were an integral part of its living whole. 'Industry overtakes its own history' is a platitude that I have just invented, but it is true ! Leats, tramways and all have been overtaken here.

So ecologically, with some 5% of upland heath removed, some meadow, some wood, a lot of grazers, their predators and some top carnivores have all gone, but there has been significant reclamation of the tips.

Archaeologically, only a fraction of the artefacts which remain all over Dartmoor have been wiped out, but we might have learned something from them.

Geologically, nothing has been lost, and more learning might be possible. There was nothing outstanding in landscape terms.

In contemporary human terms however, for some 20 kilometres it is impossible to escape visually from the china clay industry. Yet many people come out for recreation to Cadover Bridge next to the clay workings on a summer Sunday even now  - do they mind? And from Stalldown to Ringmoor china clay is in the near view, it's in the distant view from Prawle to the Dodman out in the Channel and from Start Point to Bodmin Moor on the land. You can of course avoid the view and the passage through. Perhaps from Shell Top, the grand old moor and its perimeter can accommodate this small ancillary activity.

But even more significantly today, single interest amateurs and professionals will argue that even 5% of upland heath is a loss, putting pressure on all its other boundaries to extend. They will say “Two stone rows are irreplaceable. Stop now so that we can do a geochemical analysis. I am denied the space that once was here, and I cannot see out from the tracks that still exist. I dislike white in this landscape. The great south western bowl I see from Shell Top is spoiled”.

I would reply that china clay is part of the granite heritage. Without the granite you wouldn't have moorland at all. If you have granite, you are likely to have china clay; the stone rows and huts are there because men exploited granite. Does the volume of china clay waste equal the volume of moved granite? Is the concentration of workings preferable to them being scattered? We all use china clay (need I spell out all the ways we do), so do we all use granite? Perhaps we need to consider scale in all this... starting with our own limits.

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Discussion

The discussion was then opened to delegates.

Anthony Langdon raised the question of sustainable development, asking whether the waste could be re-used for construction and whether old sanitary ware could be recycled. Ian Mercer said that the problem with the waste was that its scale was too vast for any significant proportion to be re-used at present. Ivor Bowditch (Imerys) said that the conversion of clay into sanitary ware altered its properties fundamentally and the process could not at present be reversed.

Kate Ashbrook (Open Spaces Society) said that credit should be given to voluntary groups for saving Shaugh Moor, which came about particularly from Lady Sylvia Sayer’s suggestion that waste tipping sites should be shared by the clay companies. She said that it wasn’t necessary to have clay pits to encourage peregrine falcons. She regretted that previous permissions for china clay did not take account of the likelihood that future technological development would mean that extraction could go deeper and not wider. She still regarded Lee Moor as part of the National Park, despite it having been placed outside it in the 1981 boundary review. She asked what the future plans were for Crownhill Down, so that voluntary groups could oppose them! Chris Cleaves said that there appeared to have been a misconception, as neither Imerys nor Watts Blake Bearne had permission or any intention of tipping waste on Crownhill Down. Regarding the road between the works of Imerys and WBB, there were several options and these would be published in due course.

Helen Rowett asked whether there had been similar controversy when the Lee Moor Tramway was built in the 19th century. Maurice Dart said that there had in fact been some complaints.

Karen Eberhardt Shelton said that china clay production was very energy intensive and wondered whether it was sustainable in the long term. She asked what consideration had been given to use of renewable energy, such as wind turbines. Chris Cleaves said that this had been examined, but at present it was not viable on the scale required. The balance may change in the future. Ivor Bowditch said that Imerys had pioneered the use of waste heat for combined heat and power schemes. 70% of the water abstracted is recycled.

Richard Knights referred to a geothermal project in Cornwall that examined the use of heat from deep within the Earth’s surface. Perhaps there was a heat source beneath the ‘funnel’ that Ian Mercer had referred to. Ian Mercer replied that his understanding was that such heat sources had been found deep between blocks of granite rather than under china clay formations.

James Crowden asked about the use of water on the site and the colonisation of the tips with vegetation. Chris Cleaves said that Imerys had an abstraction licence from the Environment Agency that permitted abstraction from the Plym all year round. However, they do not abstract water in a dry summer when river flow is low, but carry out more recycling instead. Regarding colonisation of the tips, this had been a quite complex task; short-lived, fast growing plants had been sown first and, once these had died back, their roots had made the slopes stable enough for slower growing, longer living plants.

Quentin Morgan-Edwards said that we needed an environmental balance sheet to judge what had been lost against what had been gained. He thought responsibility for this was a matter for other bodies as well as the clay companies to consider.

Dru Butterfield (Dartmoor Preservation Association) said that it was good news that the clay companies had no intention to tip on Crownhill Down. She asked what work has been done to develop alternatives to china clay. Ivor Bowditch (Imerys) said that chalk, limestone and particularly marble might all prove to be acceptable substitutes and were certainly more widespread in the world than china clay.

Helen Rowett pointed out that, elsewhere on Dartmoor, the moor had recovered from the widespread ravages of tin mining and suggested that, once the china clay reserves were exhausted, a similar recovery would happen, albeit that it would be a long time into the future. Tom Greeves endorsed this view and Ivor Bowditch referred to an example in Cornwall where this had already occurred.

Kate Ashbrook (Open Spaces Society) said that paper only required china clay to improve its appearance, not its function. She thought that the china clay industry had ravaged Dartmoor with its high visual impact. She suggested that, if china clay had not been extracted in the area, there would be economic benefits from increased tourism and these should be offset against the economic benefits of china clay. Chris Cleaves said that the Dartmoor Tourist Association had examined this and concluded that there would be no such increase in tourism. Ian Mercer said that the overall aim of society ought to be to balance the views of Kate and others with those of people who were prepared to accept the china clay industry. He said that the industry occupied a small percentage of Dartmoor. He could see Kate’s point about the visual impact, but contrary to her earlier view, he was certain that there would not be peregrines on the site if there were no clay pits. He agreed with a point made by Mike Brown (Watts Blake Bearne) about the wisdom of hindsight.

Miles Fursdon (Dartmoor Society) said he found it extraordinary that people who criticised the china clay companies should nonetheless make use of china clay products. Surely they should act consistently with their views? Bill Radcliffe said that, just because there was no choice in whether we used china clay products, it did not mean that we had no choice about whether to complain about its environmental effects.

John Menear (Imerys) said that the last 20 years had seen much benefit as a result of protests about the china clay industry’s impact. Companies’ subsequent plans had been heavily influenced by such protest and much additional expenditure had been incurred in mitigating the impact. The result may not be to the liking of either protesters or the industry, but the result had been that some kind of balance had been established.

Graham Wall (Chief Planner, Dartmoor National Park Authority) said that credit for persuading the clay companies to give up their right to tip on Shaugh Moor and the Blackabrook valley had been claimed by many people, ranging from the Dartmoor Preservation Association to the BBC South West’s Environment Correspondent! He put the outcome down to years of unseen, ‘drip-drip’ negotiation between the Dartmoor National Park Authority and the clay companies.

Sue Andrew (Dartmoor Society) said she thought that credit should go to Tom Greeves and the Society for organising the event and providing a forum for people to express their views.

Janice Went said that she enjoyed walking on Pen Beacon and, contrary to some views, she admires the spectacle of the china clay workings.

Ruby Kent said that she regretted the loss of places around Lee Moor that she had known as a child. It was hard to apply a money test to the value of what had been lost and the changes that had occurred. Tom Greeves said that many people elsewhere in the country who had witnessed the advance of development over cherished places would echo this view.

Maurice Dart expressed the view that it would be in the interests of industrial archaeology if modern industrial plant could be conserved as a relic of what would eventually become outmoded practices.

Tom Greeves recalled the remarks of a new resident in Lee Moor who had moved there from South Wales a year ago. Lee Moor had been the only local place where property had been affordable for that resident.

Tom Greeves then closed the Debate by thanking delegates, the caterers, Chris Cleaves, Professor Ian Mercer, Maurice Dart, Ruby Kent, Ivor Bowditch, Imerys and Watts Blake Bearne for their contributions to a successful day.

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