Birkhams quarry, operated by Marshalls Stancliffe Stone is located north of St Bees on the West Cumbrian coastline and was granted planning permission in April 2015 for a 15 year time extension until July 2030. The hard rock sandstone quarry lies on the coastal headland that forms part of the designated St Bees National Heritage Coast and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) notified for a combination of biological and geological features. Parts of the site are also designated as a Regionally Important Geological site. The Birkhams sandstone is prestigious and has historically been used locally, nationally and internationally.
Whilst located partially with a national designation and SSSi the time extension application after the pre-application process and Screening Opinion was confirmed non – EIA development. The resulting Section 73 application was efficiently prepared with a small number of supporting non-EIA assessments and submitted with recommendation for approval.
The localised coastline between Whitehaven and St Bees forms The Colourful Coast, a consortium of parties including Natural England, The National Trust, Cumbria County Council and RSPB who promote and manage the coastline in terms of natural heritage, nature conservation and recreational access. Regular liaison and communication with the Colourful Coast provide them with the opportunity to be involved in the minerals development to ensure it is in accordance with their strategy.
Marshalls Stancliffe Stone, Cumbria Geo-Conservation and the Colourful Coast through ourselves are currently preparing geological and quarry information interpretation boards to be placed immediately adjacent to the site on the Wainwrights Coast to Coast footpath.