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Last Updated: Friday, 1 July, 2005, 23:30 GMT 00:30 UK
Thousands support quarry petition
Thornborough Henges from the air
Each henge consists of circular earth banks and ditches
More than 10,000 people have signed a petition to stop further quarrying near an ancient monument in North Yorkshire.

Tarmac has applied to extend its sand and gravel operations near Thornborough Henges close to Ripon.

But, if approved, residents fear the work could destroy clues as to why the 5,000-year-old earthworks were built.

The petition will be presented to the county council on Monday along with 1,500 letters objecting to the plans.

Local campaign group Timewatch said it would also submit its own response to the application.

Prehistoric activity

Chairman of the group George Chaplin described the plans as fundamentally flawed.

"This quarry will cause the permanent loss of nationally important archaeology and good quality arable land," he said.

"The case against Ladybridge quarry is simple and undeniable."

The council is due to consider the application to extend the quarry later in the year.

Tarmac already has a quarry at Nosterfield, close to the ancient henges which consist of three earthworks built in a line running north-south for about a mile.

The new site at Ladybridge Farm is also near the henges, but archaeological consultants said a survey found there was only thin and scattered evidence of prehistoric activity.

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