Questions raised at Holyrood over quarry

Councillor Bill Kay and MSP Claire Baker witness a blast from Lomond Quarry, Leslie. March 2012
Councillor Bill Kay and MSP Claire Baker witness a blast from Lomond Quarry, Leslie. March 2012

The controversy surrounding planning permission at Lomond Quarry has reached Holyrood reports, NEIL HENDERSON.

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP, Claire Baker quizzed the Minister for Local Government and Planning, Derek Mackay over permitted operating hours at the quarry site.

And in a follow up question, the Fife MSP asked the Minister to confirm that in light of Fife Council’s refusal to take enforcement action that the UK’s obligations under the Aarhus convention, (an international treaty that enshrines the right of people to be involved in the decision-making that impacts on their environment) the local community would have the right to do so.

The Minister reiterated that the issues were a matter for Fife Council and it was for them to ‘pursue enforcement action’ and that it was not the role of a Minister to intervene in such circumstances.

The Gazette reported back in November, 2011 that Council planning officials had agreed there had been a ‘technical breach’, but that they were in no position to enforce the restrictions, a situation that has angered many Leslie residents living close to the quarry site.

Speaking after the chamber, Claire Baker MSP told the Gazette: “I understand that Fife Council has received over 900 complaints from residents and yet this issue is not being resolved.

“I fear that residents are losing faith in Fife Council to deal with the quarry and they are feeling increasingly helpless.

“I pushed the Minister on whether, if Fife Council do not take enforcement action, that the local community can do so themselves though the Aarhus Convention.

“I was disappointed that the Minister did not answer this question and only sought to defend Fife Council.

“I have since written to the Minister asking him to confirm that if Fife Council do not take steps to deal with these problems, the local community can have access to justice to take forward their own action.”