Plans to reopen Withnell Quarry, near Abbey Village, for a two year period are being presented to the public in a consultation exercise by Biffa, the company behind the scheme.

Within the next couple of months Biffa intends to apply to Lancashire County Council for planning consent to undertake further mineral extraction, with restoration by landfill, together with the development of a materials recovery and recycling facility.

The company is holding a public exhibition this Friday and Saturday where it will display detailed plans and discuss specific points.

This will be at the offices of the existing Biffa landfill site, adjacent to the proposed new quarry.

Anyone is welcome to attend at any time.

A spokesman said: "There is a scarcity of the mudstones found at Withnell Quarry that have traditionally been regarded as one of the best brick making materials in the North West."

Biffa says it has been contacted by brick makers seeking more of this so plan to quarry the remaining reserves over a two year period from land to the north of Abbey Village.

The hole created by the quarrying will be filled with non-hazardous waste as an engineered landfill and progressively restored to a mix of agriculture, woodland and new habitat areas.

Also, to help increase recycling rates for commercial and industrial wastes, proposals include the construction of a materials recycling facility.

The new landfill operation and recycling facility will replace the current landfill operation.

If consent is granted work could start in mid 2008.

The first activity would be to use the soils initially taken from the quarry area to construct a screening mound near to Bolton Road to screen the quarrying and subsequent restoration work.

Quarrying should stop in 2010. Restoration of the new landfill would be on a phased basis starting by about 2011 and being totally completed by 2017 when the area would become a mix of agriculture, woodland and new habitat areas.

The plans are being opposed by the Mount Biffa Action Group who have been rallying residents this week by distributing protest leaflets.