More than 150 people – and rising – have signed a petition against plans to expand a quarry in Ryedale.
The petition, which was launched by residents on Monday, objects to a planning application from W Clifford Watts to develop an Asphalt Production Plant at Whitewall Quarry in Norton.
A further 80 formal letters of objection are believed to have been logged with North Yorkshire County Council in the last fortnight.
The company, which has its headquarters in Bridlington, wants to install an asphalt production plan and five storage bins at the site.
If approved by planners at North Yorkshire County Council, it will mean the creation of an extra five jobs and the asphalt produced is expected to be used to help repair the county’s road network.
But residents say they have concerns surrounding the potential “highly toxic carcinogenic emissions” that would be produced and the low height of the chimney which they claim will mean emissions will be “very close to the properties downwind.”
There are also fears about the “increasingly heavy flow” of HGV traffic which they say would increase from 77 to 97 HGV movements if the application gets the green light.
Campaigner Robert Bigg, who lives on Whitewall, said: “I have been complaining for the last 18 months directly to W Clifford Watts about the speed and volume of their wagons, it is barmy to think that an increase of a third more HGV lorries will not bring more safety concerns to local residents, about our already over-clogged roads.”
“Residents are also deeply concerned about the increase in hours of opening; W Clifford Watts seek permission to start their operations earlier to 5.30am - from the current 7am.”
Mr Bigg added that he also understands that the company wants its operational hours to be 24 hours a day and seven days a week if necessary.
Support for the residents has also come from Ryedale Cllr Luke Ives who said: “I have been inundated with genuine concerns from local residents in the last two weeks. Personally in my opinion, the very last thing Norton needs is a deluge of asphalt trucks coming up and down Welham Road and Commercial Street.”
David Watts, joint owner of W Clifford Watts, has previously said that the application has followed the correct procedures with North Yorkshire County Council and its statutory bodies.
He envisages the operating hours similar to what is currently run at the quarry with the environmental impact also “no more than what we have got at the moment.” And he has also said the movements of lorries would be spread through the different routes to exit the town.
The campaign group asks people to contact them via firstname.lastname@example.org if they wish to sign the petition.