Leslie residents may have to wait until 2031 for the restoration of Lomond Quarry if amendments to existing planning conditions are approved.
Quarry owners Skene Group are understood to have applied for a variation on operational phasing and subsequent restoration programme which, if approved, would allow the developer a greater level of deeper blasting at the site and the potential for increased rock extraction.
If amendments are given the go-ahead, plans to carry out a phased restoration would start once work on all quarry phases is completed.
Plans to transform the resulting hole left after 17 years of existing operation into a water filled area to the depth of 45 metres (140 feet), have drawn concerns from a number of residents living below the proposed waterline when it was discussed at this month’s Leslie Community Council.
Jan Wincott, committee chairman told the Gazette: “The big worry expressed locally is that this will result in a large amount of water that will be higher than a substantial part of the town - so, if anything were to go wrong, there could be disastrous consequences.
“A resident has already written to SEPA asking for information on their flood risk assessment because, at the moment, there seems to be very little information on how this risk has been assessed and what safeguards are in place.”
A spokesman for Skene Group said they had “discharged of its planning obligations in the normal way” but could offer no insight into the possiblility of increased extraction to the 300,000 tonnes per year currently permitted.
Mrs Wincott said that residents needed clarification as to whether a greater volume of extraction would result in increasing HGV traffic through the town.
“The size of the hole left at the end of the operation looks to be substantially larger than originally planned, and there is a worry that this may involve a greater amount of extraction, perhaps also resulting in more HGV traffic,” said Mrs Wincott.
“There were originally planning conditions that produced a phased restoration of the area so that sections were restored before work commenced on the next phase to minimise the impact on the area. This seems to be missing from this latest application.”
Ambitious quarry ‘after life’ plan to restore area
There is a five-year landscaping aftercare and long term management plan which will be activated once quarry activity has ended.
The aim would be to ensure successful establishment of native species woodland, scrub, grassland and wetland areas.
A deep water habitat with a shallow margin to be colonised by reedbed and wetland plants as well as other related landscaping is also planned as part of the restoration of the site.