A MAJOR milestone has been reached in the campaign to prevent new quarrying in the scenic green belt between Lanark and New Lanark.
The pressure group Save Our Landscapes (SOL), fighting plans to extend Cemex’s long-established Hyndford Quarry down towards the Clyde, claims that its petition against the scheme has now passed the 5000 signature mark.
And this support isn’t only from locals but from folk visiting here from the other side of the planet!
For the past few months SOL has had a team collecting signatures at the Falls of Clyde, one of our biggest tourist draws, whose beautiful surroundings objectors claim will be terribly scarred by the quarrying extension into the until-now protected Buffer Zone around the adjoining New Lanark World Heritage Village.
As evidence that its campaign has now gone global, SOL quotes a recent petition signatory, Fiona Shearer, as saying: “I am from Lanarkshire, but live in New Zealand now and I am just back from a visit to Clyde Falls with my baby son.
“We saw the fledgling peregrine falcons and walked through ancient woodland. It saddens me to think that this may be damaged by mining. If my son returns in the future and sees that this beautiful area is gone, he may ask me what I did to stop it. I will be ashamed if his heritage is taken from him.”
Another international message of support quoted comes from Moira McCarthy, who said: “My father was born, grew up, studied and practised in Glasgow. He told us, as children, so much about the beauty of this little part of Heaven.
“I have, in my adult years, visited New Lanark from South Africa several times and each time it has left me marvelling at the wonders of nature.”
She said of those planning to quarry in the area: “Is there nothing sacred to them!? Thank you, SOL, for your devoted fight and hopefully our grandchildren will still be able to enjoy this area.”
Far closer to home, SOL is also claiming the support of respected members of our own community.
Lanark’s Doctor John Copland is quoted as saying: “I have lived in Lanark for nearly a quarter of a century and have walked to New Lanark and up to the Falls on countless occasions and have spread the word to dozens of friends extolling its virtues.
“It is, therefore, unthinkable that Cemex could be granted permission to devastate the land around it. This madness should be opposed by all sensible people who appreciate what an asset this is. An area of outstanding beauty, tranquillity and a haven for wildlife...let’s keep it that way! Well done on all your efforts to oppose this!”
Professor Mark Stephens, Chair of Save Our Landscapes said: “We have had a magnificent response to our petition.
“The Falls of Clyde is such a special place.
“The vast majority of our supporters are drawn from across Lanarkshire.
“But the Falls of Clyde draw visitors from across the world. People from more than 40 countries have signed the petition.
“As you would expect, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are all well represented, along with Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.
“But we’ve also received support from countries as diverse as China, India, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Kuwait.”
“Ever since Save Our Landscapes was formed a year ago we have made it clear that we were more than an anti-quarry campaign.
“We have brought forward proposals to improve access to the Falls of Clyde and revive features of the designed landscape. We believe that these would attract more visitors and encourage them to stay for longer. This would benefit the local economy.
“We have promoted these to community groups in Lanark and by distributing thousands of leaflets. The Chairs of the New Lanark Trust and Lanark Community Council have indicated that their organisations will oppose Cemex’s application if and when it is submitted.”
A planning application from Cemex has not yet been submitted.