Councillors have granted permission for a further million tonnes of sand and gravel to be mined at Nosterfield Quarry near Ripon.

Tarmac, which operates the quarry, says it will be the final extension of the Nosterfield site and it will stop mining there at the end of 2031.

The new extraction area is currently two agricultural fields to the northwest of the site.

The plans will also see the rest of the quarry eventually restored to extend the wetlands at Nosterfield Nature Reserve, which is next to the working quarry.

It will also see new areas of grasslands created for nesting birds.

The nature reserve was created out of a former part of the quarry and is a nationally recognised haven for birds and nature as well as a designated Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC).

However, the proposals received an objection from Lower Ure Conservation Trust, a charity which runs the nature reserve.

It said there should be a more “comprehensive approach” approach to mitigating the environmental and ecological impact of the mining.

The RSPB also objected due to the impact the expansion might have on curlews.

The birds are declining in the wild but have been successfully breeding at the nature reserve.

Councillors on North Yorkshire Council’s strategic planning committee ultimately decided to approve the plans at a meeting in Northallerton on Tuesday morning. There were 12 votes in favour and two abstentions.

A report that was prepared for them ahead of the meeting said: “The application, along with the supporting environmental statement and additional information, has been assessed and it is considered on balance that there is a need for the mineral and there would be no unacceptable adverse environmental impacts resulting from the proposed development.”