DORMICE could be the undoing of plans to extend Wenvoe Quarry, according to campaigners fighting the extension proposals.

Building materials provider Cemex, which operates the Wenvoe Quarry, has this month submitted a planning application to the council to build a tunnel from their current site, underneath the woods to a new quarry site.

However the application may be scuppered after the Woodland Trust and local nature group, Conservation Glamorgan, commissioned an environmental survey which found dormice - a protected species – in the area.

Frances Winder, for the Woodland Trust, said: "We have some concerns regarding this application.

"We have no idea how the wood and wildlife has suffered as a result of the existing quarry.

"We (the Woodland Trust) queried the original survey carried out by Cemex as it said that there were no dormice living in the area.

"I think they must have walked along, put their hands into the hedge, rustled it a bit and made their decision – because they were not thorough enough."

A spokesperson for Conservation Glamorgan, added: "We have found dormice in the ancient hedgerows that run across the proposed quarry site and there are also dormice in the woodland around it.

"Dormice are extraordinarily rare in the UK. Their numbers are still declining, and they are heavily protected by European and UK law.

"So, if in a year's time you are walking in Dinas Powys Woods, and all you can hear is the wind in the trees, or birds singing, say a quiet thank you to the mighty dormouse that saw off the dumper trucks.

"Of course the dormice could do with some extra help, so if you want to do your bit to preserve the quiet woodlands please write to the council’s doorstep, with your objections."

Cemex’s original plans to extend the quarry featured a conveyor belt linking the new and old sites, which would have cut through the Cwm Slade woodland.

But the plans were met with such fierce opposition from activists and the Woodland Trust that the bid was eventually withdrawn.

But Cemex spokesperson David Goodman is keen that the most recent application, which was submitted to the council earlier this month, will be more successful.

He said: "We have made significant modifications to an earlier proposed scheme, and have listened to comments from local people and environmental groups, to arrive at a solution which secures jobs and aggregate supplies, while minimising any disturbance to the Cwm Slade ancient woodland and wildlife."

The application will be considered by the Vale around June 24.