More than 300,000 tonnes of clay will be extracted from a York field for use in flood defences after councillors gave the go-ahead.
The extraction will take place over a period of around six-and-a-half years before the 6.8 hectare patch of land near Upper Poppleton is turned into an oak woodland.
City of York Council received eight letters objecting to the Escrick Environmental Services’ plan, with concerns raised about the environmental impact on the site and the increase in HGVs using the rural roads.
Addressing councillors on the planning committee, Neville Ward said: “That is mining – it’s ripping up the countryside that we already have and it’s putting inappropriate materials back in.
“It’s not restoration of site, it’s a transformation of this site into something completely different.”
A body of water was created on the land to the west of Newlands Lane through unauthorised clay extraction in 2007.
The area has since been allocated in the council’s minerals and waste plan as a site for providing supplies of clays suitable for puddling for flood defence works, repair of artificial water bodies – such as canals, reservoirs and docks – and the lining of landfill sites.
Chris Jarvis, for the applicant, said the development would have no impact on the water quality in the Foss our Ouse rivers.
He said the “inert material” that will be used to fill in the land would be tested before it is used to ensure it is clean.
Rural West York councillor Anne Hook said the single track roads around Poppleton were used for recreational purposes by villagers.
She added: “All these people who love to use that lane are going to be put in danger and it removes the amenity for all the villagers because they won’t ever want to go that way. And how do people get to and from Hessay?”
The site will be accessed from a farm track from Newlands Lane. Highways officers did not object to the plan.
Mr Jarvis said added: “The applicant is committed to ensuring that no HGV enters or leaves the site by Poppleton and has designed the site entrance to ensure that this cannot happen.”
Council officers predict the development will lead to two extra vehicles passing through the area in an hour.
Councillors also asked the developer and the council to look into the possibility of adding more passing places in Newlands Lane after the applicant promised to “upgrade” the existing ones.